STAND. COM. REP. NO. 71

 

Honolulu, Hawaii

 

RE: S.B. No. 668

 

 

 

Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirty-First State Legislature

Regular Session of 2021

State of Hawaii

 

Sir:

 

Your Committee on Agriculture and Environment, to which was referred S.B. No. 668 entitled:

 

"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO AGRICULTURE,"

 

begs leave to report as follows:

 

The purpose and intent of this measure is to:

 

(1) Rename the agricultural development and food security special fund as the land, aquaculture, freshwater, or sea-based food development and food security special fund; and

 

(2) Expand the scope of the special fund to include land, aquaculture, freshwater, or sea-based food production.

 

Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Hawaii Farm Bureau and one individual. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of Agriculture.

 

Your Committee finds that Hawaii's aquaculture industry farm gate is valued at $76,400,000, the third highest contribution to the economy in diversified agriculture. The current state environmental response, energy, and food security tax on each barrel or fractional barrel of petroleum product was intended to support critical investments in clean energy, local agricultural production, and environmental responses. Your Committee further finds that aquaculture is poised to make a significant contribution to the Governor's goal of doubling local food production. Therefore, the inclusion of aquaculture as allowable expenses of the barrel tax will allow for additional investment in foundational infrastructure and research, including helping farmers use research-based knowledge, achieving greater benefits for the Hawaii economy, providing healthy seafood for local markets and export, generating jobs, complementing tourism, and maintaining rural communities.

 

Your Committee notes the concerns expressed by the Department of Agriculture that the insertion of commercial fishermen broadens the fund's stakeholder group beyond the Department of Agriculture's jurisdiction since pelagic fisheries are under the federal jurisdiction of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association's National Marine Fisheries Service and freshwater and recreational fishing are regulated at the Department of Land and Natural Resources' Division of Aquatic Resources. Additionally, the allowable expenditures of special fund monies are tailored to serve agricultural or aquacultural users other than commercial fisheries, which vastly differ in their respective operational needs and challenges.

 

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. 668 and recommends that it pass Second Reading and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.

 

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Agriculture and Environment,

 

 

 

________________________________

MIKE GABBARD, Chair