• Hawai'i House Democrats

Hawai'i Legislature's Act 90 Working Group Issues Report

More than 19,000 acres have been transferred from DLNR to DOA

Honolulu, Hawaii - The Hawai‘i State Legislature's Act 90 Working Group's report has been finalized (https://capitol.hawaii.gov/specialcommittee.aspx?comm=act90wg&year=2021). The 2021 Hawai‘i State Legislature adopted Act 139 (Session Laws of Hawaii 2021) to convene a working group to:

  1. Ascertain the process and status of the transfer of non-agricultural park lands from the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) to the Department of Agriculture (DOA) pursuant to Act 90, Session Laws of Hawaii 2003 and chapter 166E, Hawaii Revised Statues, regarding non-agricultural park lands; and

  2. Determine the challenges and potential remedies necessary to facilitate the process of fulfilling the purposes of Act 90, Session Laws of Hawaii 2003.

The Working Group was led by Co-Chairs of the Senate and House Water and Land Committees, Senator Lorraine R. Inouye (Senate District 4 – Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona) and Rep. David A. Tarnas (House District 7 – North Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala). Members included:

  • Senator Gil S.C. Keith-Agaran, Vice Chair, Senate Water and Land Committee (Senate District 5 – Wailuku, Waihee, Kahului)

  • Rep. Patrick Pihana Branco, Vice Chair, House Water and Land Committee (House District 50 – Kailua, Kaneohe Bay)

  • Ms. Suzanne Case, Chair, Board of Land and Natural Resources

  • Mr. David G. Smith, Administrator, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, DLNR

  • Mr. Russell Y. Tsuji, Administrator, Land Division, DLNR

  • Mr. Morris M. Atta, Deputy to the Chair, DOA

  • Ms. Linda H. Murai, Designee for the Administrator, Agricultural Resource Management Division, DOA

The Working Group met five times, reviewed documents provided by the DOA and DLNR, and discussed a variety of challenges and opportunities. Video recordings of the meetings are available on the Hawaii House of Representatives' YouTube channel.

"While progress has been made on the transfer of land from DLNR to DOA since Act 90 was adopted in 2003, there is more work to be done, especially regarding lands under the 57 encumbrances still under DLNR management that have multiple priorities," said Rep. Tarnas, Co-Chair of the Working Group. The working group recommended ways to enhance collaboration between DLNR, DOA, and lessees.

"We will be introducing legislation to the 2022 Legislature to alleviate implementation challenges and enable more public lands to be used for farming," said Sen. Inouye, Co-Chair of the Working Group.

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