Speaker of the House Calvin Say today established a Special Committee on VOG Effects and appointed Rep. Robert Herkes to serve as Chairman.
Rep. Herkes represents District 5 on the Big Island covering Puna, Kau, North Kona and South Kona, which has been severely impacted by VOG related problems. The Speaker appointed the following House members to serve on the committee:
Rep. Robert Herkes, District 5 – Puna, Kau, North Kona, South Kona
Rep. Dwight Takamine, District 1 – North Kohala, South Kohala, Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo
Rep. Jerry Chang, District 2 – South Hilo, Waiakea Kai, Kaumana, Keaukaha
Rep. Clift Tsuji, District 3 – South Hilo, Panaewa, Puna, Keaau, Kurtistown
Rep. Faye Hanahano, District 4 – Puna, Pahoa, Hawaiian Acres, Kalapana
Rep. Josh Green, District 6 – North Kona, Keauhou, Kailua-Kona, Honokohau
Rep. Cindy Evans, District 7 – North Kona, South Kohala
Rep. Lynn Finnegan, District 32 – Lower Pearlridge, Aiea, Halawa, Hickam, Pearl Harbor, Moanalua Gardens
The purpose of the Special Committee is to examine the effects of VOG from the eruption of Halemaumau on the public's health and safety, agriculture, water quality, pets and animals, wildlife, and other areas. Chair Herkes may designate other committee members to serve as leads on specific issues.
"What is occurring is a natural disaster, but unlike a tsunami, hurricane, twister or major earthquake, it is not viewed as one," said Rep. Herkes. "The legislature needs to focus on the impacts on Hawaii residents such as health and safety, loss of agricultural crops or the impact on tourism and jobs, and explore all avenues of relief."
The Special Committee may invite Senators from the Big Island to participate on a non-voting basis. A report on the committee's findings and recommendations to the House of Representatives is due at least twenty days prior to the convening of the Legislature's 2009 Regular Session.