STAND. COM. REP. NO. 2636
RE: S.B. No. 2501
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirtieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2020
State of Hawaii
Your Committees on Agriculture and Environment and Water and Land, to which was referred S.B. No. 2501 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO WATER POLLUTION,"
beg leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to:
(1) Prohibit any permits to be issued for the discharge of pollution in certain instances;
(2) Allow the Director of Health to grant a variance pursuant to chapter 342D, relating to water pollution; and
(3) Provide that in all variance proceedings the burden of proof is on the applicant.
Your Committees received testimony in support of this measure from the Kaneohe Bay Foundation. Your Committees received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Department of Health.
Your Committees find that Hawaii's ocean water are precious resources and that all practicable efforts should be taken to preserve their natural pristine state. Your Committees further find that the Department of Health and the United States Environmental Protection Agency enforce regulations regarding water pollution and water quality standards. This measure, although well intended, as proposed unfortunately places burdens on the Hawaii Department of Health that may be in conflict with federal law or otherwise negatively affect the agency. Your Committees have been notified that after much discussion, the Kaneohe Bay Foundation and Department of Health have compromised and agree to support an amended version of this measure.
Accordingly, your Committees have amended this measure by:
(1) Amending the definition of "variance" for purposes of the water pollution statutes to no longer allow the issuance of a special written authorization from the Director of Health to cause or discharge waste or water pollution in an amount in excess of applicable standards;
(2) Specifying that no permit shall be issued for continuing discharge of point source pollution into highest quality waters, except for temporary construction;
(3) Clarifying that in all variance proceedings, the burden of proving entitlement to a variance shall be on the applicant; and
(4) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.
As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Agriculture and Environment and Water and Land that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 2501, as amended herein, and recommend that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 2501, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committees on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health and Judiciary.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Agriculture and Environment and Water and Land,
KAIALI'I KAHELE, Chair
MIKE GABBARD, Chair