THE SENATE

S.C.R. NO.

234

THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021

S.D. 1

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE CONCURRENT

RESOLUTION

 

 

URGING THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE TO EXPAND ITS QUARANTINE FACILITIES OF THE PLANT QUARANTINE BRANCH.

 

 


WHEREAS, responding quickly to newly detected invasive species can often prevent the species from becoming firmly established, saving taxpayers money in the long-term; and

 

WHEREAS, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has stated that foreign pests and disease already cost the United States' economy tens of billions of dollars annually in lower crop values, eradication programs, emergency payments to farmers, and increased costs for food and other natural resources; and

 

WHEREAS, the recent detection of coffee leaf rust fungus has shown that the existing facilities are unable to deal with the demand for disease resistant stock; and

 

WHEREAS, with the current spread of coffee leaf rust fungus, State agencies lack the resources, such as quarantine facilities and response mechanisms, to deal with these newly identified threats and may be missing opportunities to eliminate them; and

 

WHEREAS, because the introduction of coffee leaf rust fungus as an alien invasive species poses serious problems to the State's ecosystem, any introduction of alien invasive species via the airports or any other entry points throughout the State may lead to significant cumulative impacts; and

 

WHEREAS, the Plant Quarantine Branch of the Department of Agriculture is tasked with preventing the introduction and spread of harmful pests and diseases into the State by regulating domestic import, performing border inspections, and facilitating post-border detection and control of agricultural pests; and

 

WHEREAS, the Plant Quarantine Branch of the Department of Agriculture is a critical component in meeting the threat of invasive species entering Hawaii and spreading throughout Hawaii through the State's ports of entry; and

 

WHEREAS, even with the expansion of existing Department of Agriculture facilities with a $1,000,000 increase over two years, the increase in quarantine capacity needed to meet current demands will likely require an additional two to three years, which may not be timely enough to adequately address the immediate threat to the industry, allowing invasive species to become established in the State and making mitigation efforts more protracted and expensive; and

 

WHEREAS, the USDA is currently allocating $70,000,000 to support three hundred eighty-three projects under the Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program and the National Clean Plant Network Programs under the authority of the Plant Protection Act Section 7721 which strengthens the nation's infrastructure for pest detection and surveillance, identification, threat mitigation, safeguard the nursery production system, and respond to plant pest emergencies in ensuring the availability of pathogen-free, disease-free, and pest-free certified material; and

 

WHEREAS, since 2009, the USDA has supported more than four thousand four hundred projects and provided nearly $670,000,000 in funding through the Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program, allowing the USDA and its partners to quickly detect and rapidly respond to invasive plant pests and diseases; and

 

WHEREAS, the Department of Agriculture has not taken advantage of federal funding opportunities to increase the capacity to appropriately quarantine regulated plant materials that will benefit growers, which would enhance its ability to prevent the entry of invasive species through increased screening and enforcement abilities; now, therefore,

 

BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Thirty-first Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2021, the House of Representatives concurring, that the Department of Agriculture is urged to expand its quarantine facilities under the jurisdiction of the Plant Quarantine Branch and determine the cost of recommended quarantine facilities in affected areas; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of Agriculture is urged to apply for federal funding under the USDA through its Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program and the National Clean Plant Network Program under the authority of the Plant Protection Act Section 7721 for the purposes of expanding its quarantine facilities to increase screening and enforcement abilities throughout the State; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a certified copy of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Chairperson of the Board of Agriculture.

Report Title:

United States Department of Agriculture; Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program; Hawaii Department of Agriculture; Plant Quarantine Branch; Coffee Leaf Rust