STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1322
RE: S.C.R. No. 47
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2021
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs, to which was referred S.C.R. No. 47 entitled:
"SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION URGING THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS TO RECOGNIZE A PRESUMPTIVE SERVICE CONNECTION FOR CHRONICALLY ILL VETERANS WHO WERE STATIONED AT KUNIA FIELD ON THE ISLAND OF OAHU,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to urge the Department of Veterans Affairs to recognize a presumptive service connection for chronically ill veterans who were stationed at Kunia Field and to provide medical care and long-term services regardless of the veterans' ability to conclusively link their conditions to toxic exposure.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from six individuals.
Your Committee finds that Kunia Field Station was constructed on the island of Oahu during World War II to serve as an underground bomb-proof aircraft assembly plant. Kunia Field Station is located under former pineapple fields near Wheeler Army Airfield and Schofield Barracks and was exposed to pesticides, herbicides, fumigants, smoke, and other toxins and carcinogens while pineapple agriculture was active, from approximately 1940 to 2008. A chemical spill in 1977 and a flood in 1991 further exposed the area and its drinking water to toxic substances, including the soil fumigant ethylene dibromide, identified as a probable human carcinogen. Many veterans who were stationed at Kunia Field Station have developed cancer, neurological conditions, dementia, and other chronic illnesses. However, the official position of the Department of Veterans Affairs is that veterans stationed at Kunia Field Station were not exposed to toxic substances, making it difficult for these veterans to receive medical care and long-term service. This measure urges the Department of Veteran Affairs to recognize that chronically ill veterans who were stationed at Kunia Field were exposed to toxins, which caused their illness, so that those veterans may receive medical care and long-term services.
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 Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs that is attached to this report, your Committee concurs with the intent and purpose of S.C.R. No. 47, as amended herein, and recommends its adoption in the form attached hereto as S.C.R. No. 47, S.D. 1.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs,
CLARENCE K. NISHIHARA, Chair