STAND. COM. REP. NO. 227
RE: S.B. No. 1141
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirtieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2019
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Water and Land, to which was referred S.B. No. 1141 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT MAKING AN APPROPRIATION TO THE DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to provide funds for refurbishing and retrofitting the Kūlani water tanks to serve as water reservoirs for firefighting in the Puu Makaala Natural Area Reserve and surrounding areas.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hawaii State Fire Council, Hawai‘i Fire Department of the County of Hawai‘i, Kaua‘i Fire Department, Office of the Mayor of the County of Hawai‘i, O‘ahu County Committee on Legislative Priorities of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i, and two individuals.
Your Committee finds that Puu Makaala Natural Area Reserve, located in the Puna and South Hilo districts of the island of Hawaii, was established to protect the wet koa and ohia forest and unique geologic features. This area on the northeast flank of Mauna Loa is an important habitat for some of Hawaii's rarest birds and several rare plants. Three 400,000-gallon water tanks are located in the area and have served as water reservoirs for firefighting in the past; however, the earthquake of May 2018 severely damaged one of the tanks, and the other two are in need of refurbishment. These tanks serve as the only available source of water in this high elevation region, which encompasses over 200,000 acres of state and federal lands, and are a first line of defense against wildland fires. Your Committee finds it proper that the Legislature appropriate funds to ensure water is accessible for firefighting in this environmentally and culturally significant region.
Your Committee has amended this measure by inserting an effective date of July 1, 2050, to encourage further discussion.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Water and Land that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 1141, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 1141, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Water and Land,
KAIALI'I KAHELE, Chair