STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1123
RE: H.B. No. 237
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2021
State of Hawaii
Your Committees on Agriculture and Environment and Water and Land, to which was referred H.B. No. 237, H.D. 2, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO INVASIVE SPECIES,"
beg leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to appropriate funds to the Department of Agriculture for the mitigation and control of the two-lined spittlebug and recovery of the rangelands damaged by the invasive pest.
Your Committees received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Agriculture; University of Hawai‘i College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources; New Island Feed, Inc.; Land Use Research Foundation of Hawaii; Larry Jefts Farms, LLC; Hawaii Meats, LLC; Ulupono Initiative LLC; Kualoa Ranch; Hawaii Cattlemen's Council, Inc.; Kealia Ranch; Ulupalakua Ranch; Ponoholo Ranch Limited; Hawai‘i Farm Bureau; Local Food Coalition; Rocker G Livestock; Maui Chamber of Commerce; and eight individuals.
Your Committees find that invasive species are a primary threat to Hawaii's agriculture and economy. Funding for control of invasive species is critical to ensure that appropriate responses can be implemented and maintained which mitigate negative impacts on agriculture, the environment, and the economy. The two-lined spittlebug was first detected in Kailua-Kona in September 2016, where it damaged nearly two thousand acres of pasture land. As of October 2019, damage from infestation has increased to 142,468 acres of range lands on the island of Hawaii, thereby decreasing the nutritional value, palatability, and productivity of key forages. In highly infested areas, there is one hundred percent die-off of key pasture grasses such as Kikuyu and Pangola, which are widely used high quality forage for pastures. Rapid spread and die-off due to this pest are affecting the local livestock industry and pose a massive threat to production on the island of Hawaii. Additionally, the loss of living ground cover leaves land vulnerable to soil loss, which contributes to sediment-laden runoff into our near shore coastal waters, thereby affecting coral reef health. Your Committees find that protecting these pasture lands are in the best interest of the State, as it is in line with the Department of Agriculture's mission of increasing local food production and protecting agricultural capacity for the State.
Your Committees have amended this measure by:
(1) Inserting an appropriation amount of $659,000 out of the pest inspection, quarantine, and eradication fund for fiscal year 2021-2022 and the same sum for fiscal year 2022-2023; and
(2) Inserting an effective date of July 1, 2021.
As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Agriculture and Environment and Water and Land that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 237, H.D. 2, as amended herein, and recommend that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 237, H.D. 2, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Agriculture and Environment and Water and Land,
LORRAINE R. INOUYE, Chair
MIKE GABBARD, Chair