STAND. COM. REP. NO. 195
RE: S.B. No. 1527
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirtieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2019
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Agriculture and Environment, to which was referred S.B. No. 1527 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO THE ENVIRONMENT,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to ban the sale of beverage containers connected to each other by plastic six-pack rings, in order to decrease the number of plastic pollutants in water and in natural habitats of wild species.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Mid-Pacific Institute, O‘ahu County Committee on Legislative Priorities of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i, and thirteen individuals. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Hawaii Food Industry Association, Retail Merchants of Hawaii, Maui Brewing Co., and American Chemistry Council. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of Health and Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Your Committee finds that plastic ring bindings have been harming marine environment and wildlife for decades. In 2014, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration removed fifty-seven tons of marine debris from the Hawaiian islands. Almost forty percent of the Hawaiian humpback whales migrating to Hawaii each winter have been entangled at least once.
Your Committee also finds that while there have been advances made in the past to reduce the plastic ring problem, the lack of visible improvement demonstrates the need for a new solution.
Your Committee finds that banning the sale of products that are likely to introduce six-pack rings into the waste stream will make the ocean a safer place for wildlife to live, given that these rings cause entanglement and deformation in marine life.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Creating the plastic reduction special fund and directing fines to this fund;
(2) Changing up the effective date from January 1, 2023, to January 1, 2021; and
(3) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Agriculture and Environment that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 1527, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 1527, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committees on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health and Judiciary and Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Agriculture and Environment,
MIKE GABBARD, Chair