HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

442

THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

relating to public lands.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that article XI, section 1, of the Hawaii State Constitution provides that "for the benefit of present and future generations, the State and its political subdivisions shall conserve and protect Hawaii's natural beauty and all natural resources, including land, water, air, minerals and energy sources, and shall promote the development and utilization of these resources in a manner consistent with their conservation and in furtherance of the self-sufficiency of the State. All public natural resources are held in trust by the State for the benefit of the people." Accordingly, the legislature believes that public lands should be managed in the spirt of mālama āina, which calls for us to care for the environment that sustains us and of which we are also a part.

The legislature further finds that the military's use of public lands has been inconsistent with the principle of mālama āina. The legacy of the military's use of Kahoolawe, Mākua, Pōhakuloa, and Waikāne are well-known and tragic. For example, the Navy failed to clear all unexploded ordnance from Kahoolawe. A federal court concluded that the Army "failed to use good faith efforts to develop a plan and secure funding for clearing unexploded ordnance from the high priority sites that the Army was supposed to identify" in Mākua pursuant to a settlement agreement. Portions of state land at Pōhakuloa are, according to a state circuit court, heavily contaminated with material that presents an explosive hazard and significant danger to public health and welfare, with the court holding in part that "The State of Hawaii is the trustee of these public lands in the public trust. The trustee of the public lands trust has the highest duty to preserve and maintain the trust lands. This duty is broadly coined in the concept of mālama āina to care for the land."

The legislature additionally finds that there are four sixty-five year leases to public lands given to the military at Mākua, Kahuku, Poamoho, and Pōhakuloa that are set to expire in 2029. As such, it is necessary to evaluate the impact of the military's presence in Hawaii and develop a plan for remediating and restoring public lands that have been damaged by military activities.

The purpose of this Act is to require the department of land and natural resources to develop a plan to reduce the disposition of public lands for military activities, including recommendations to remediate and restore public lands that have been damaged by military activities, and convene an advisory committee to make recommendations regarding the plan.

SECTION 2. The department of land and natural resources, in consultation with the board of land and natural resources, shall develop a plan to reduce the disposition of public lands for military training and exercises. The plan shall include recommendations for steps necessary to reduce the disposition of public lands for military training and exercises and remediate and restore public lands that have been damaged by military activities.

SECTION 3. The department of land and natural resources shall convene an advisory committee to make recommendations to the department regarding development of the plan required by section 2 of this Act. The members of the advisory committee shall be appointed by the chairperson of the board of land and natural resources and include experts or community stakeholders with extensive experience in environmental conservation, land remediation and restoration, native Hawaiian customary rights, the economic impact of the military's presence in the State, and other stakeholders deemed appropriate by the chairperson of the board of land and natural resources.

SECTION 4. The department of land and natural resources shall submit an interim report to the legislature on the progress of developing the plan and the membership of the advisory committee convened pursuant to section 3 of this Act, findings and recommendations of the advisory committee, and timeline for completion of the plan required by section 2 of this Act, no later than December 31, 2022.

SECTION 5. The department of land and natural resources shall submit the plan required by section 2 of this Act, including any proposed legislation, to the legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the regular session of 2023.

SECTION 6. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

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Report Title:

Department of Land and Natural Resources; Public Lands; Military Activities; Plan; Advisory Committee

 

Description:

Requires DLNR to develop a plan to reduce the disposition of public lands for military activities and make recommendations regarding the remediation and restoration of public lands that have been damaged by military use. Requires DLNR to convene an advisory committee to provide recommendations regarding the plan. Requires reports to the legislature.

 

 

 

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