STAND. COM. REP. NO 1026
RE: H.B. No. 440
Honorable Donna Mercado Kim
President of the Senate
Twenty-Eighth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2015
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Water and Land, to which was referred H.B. No. 440, H.D. 1, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to provide funding for projects undertaken in accordance with watershed management plans; equipment for fire, natural disaster, and emergency response; and forest and outdoor recreation improvement.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Land and Natural Resources; State Fire Council; Kauai Fire Department; Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species; Big Island Invasive Species Committee; Kauai Invasive Species Committee; O‘ahu Invasive Species Committee; Hawai‘i Green Growth; Conservation Council for Hawai‘i; The Nature Conservancy; Land Use Research Foundation of Hawaii; Kauai Watershed Alliance; Dole Food Co. Hawaii; and five individuals.
Your Committee finds that protecting and restoring Hawaii's forests are critical for climate-change resiliency on many levels. In addition to increasing supplies of fresh water, forests also reduce stress on coral reefs and fisheries by preventing erosion.
Your Committee further finds that Hawaii's responders need access to new technologies developed to increase efficiency and the effectiveness of detection and response to these types of natural disasters that affect natural environments as well as public safety.
Your Committee further finds that trails, public access, and other infrastructure allow the people of Hawaii to experience the islands' natural environment. Statewide improvements are needed to address the deteriorating conditions of these trails, particularly high-use trails frequented by visitors. Furthermore, development, particularly in rural areas, can restrict access points for the public to hike, gather, and hunt in public lands. Funding is needed to improve the infrastructure and access necessary to connect people to the natural environment, which provides so many benefits to the health of Hawaii's people and economy.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Water and Land that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 440, H.D. 1, and recommends that it pass Second Reading and be referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Water and Land,
LAURA H. THIELEN, Chair