STAND. COM. REP. NO. 181

 

Honolulu, Hawaii

 

RE: S.B. No. 698

S.D. 1

 

 

 

Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirtieth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2019

State of Hawaii

 

Sir:

 

Your Committee on Government Operations, to which was referred S.B. No. 698 entitled:

 

"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS,"

 

begs leave to report as follows:

 

The purpose and intent of this measure is to codify the seventeen United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals and incorporate existing State sustainability goals, such as the Aloha+ Challenge, Sustainable Hawaii Initiative, and World Conservation Congress Hawaii Commitments.

 

Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Department of Transportation, Department of Agriculture, Department of Human Services, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Office of Planning, The Nature Conservancy, Kamehameha Schools, Hawaii Green Growth Local 2030 Hub, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii, Oahu County Committee on Legislative Priorities of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, Surfrider Foundation Hawaii Chapter, Sierra Club of Hawaii, and five individuals. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from one individual. Your Committee received comments on this measure from one individual.

 

Your Committee finds that environmental conservation and sustainability are of utmost importance to combat the impacts of climate change in Hawaii. However, existing state law lacks measurable goals and enforcement mechanisms and needs to be refined. Your Committee further finds that the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals are a set of seventeen guidelines that represent a commitment to conservation, sustainability, and economic development. Codifying these goals will supplement the State's existing sustainability goals, empower collective government and private conservation efforts in Hawaii to preserve and improve the State's communities and environment, and contribute to global efforts designed to build a more sustainable future for the world.

 

Your Committee supports the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, but notes that further discussion is needed regarding certain aspects of this measure. Specifically, your Committee encourages the reexamination of all benchmark deadlines in this measure, due to their immediacy, including but not limited to the 2020 deadline for managed and diversified seed and plant banks, as stated in Goal 2; the 2020 deadline to double local food production, as stated in Goal 2; and the 2020 deadline to regulate fisheries, as stated in Goal 14.

 

Your Committee also requests the reexamination of benchmark accomplishment percentages throughout this measure, including but not limited to protecting thirty percent of priority watersheds, as stated in Goal 6, and conserving thirty percent of coastal and marine areas, as stated in Goal 14. Your Committee notes that further clarification of these percentages is also needed, including the potential to add completion dates for these percentages and whether there is a need to increase the percentages beyond any accompanying completion date.

 

Your Committee understands the concerns about renewable energy and believes that further discussion is needed regarding whether to amend or define certain definitions. Specifically, your Committee has heard the testimony that Goal 7, relating to affordable and clean energy, may need to be clarified. Although Goal 7 currently references "cleaner fossil-fuel technology", your Committee is concerned that any mention of fossil fuels in Goal 7 would be misaligned with the underlying intent of the sustainable clean energy goal.

 

Your Committee also encourages clarification of specifics for any request for support, including increased capacity and funding, as indicated in the testimony from the Departments of Land and Natural Resources, Transportation, Agriculture, and Human Services and the Office of Planning.

 

Finally, your Committee would like to emphasize that, pursuant to the State Constitution and statutory mandates, it is important to identify Important Agricultural Lands (IAL) to ensure long term dedication of land for agricultural production and preservation from non-agricultural development. Your Committee recommends incorporating this metric as a measure of success for the goals relating to sustainable food production and health.

 

Your Committee has amended this measure by 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 Government Operations that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 698, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 698, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.

 

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Government Operations,

 

 

 

________________________________

LAURA H. THIELEN, Chair