Friday, May 21, 2010

Invasive species bill signed into law

Governor Lingle signed into law yesterday HB1684, a bill to prevent and reduce the intentional introduction and spreading of invasive species in Hawaii. The measure, now Act 128, does the following:

· Establishes a petty misdemeanor offense for any person who violates the provisions governing the importation of certain agricultural items

· Establishes a Class C felony offense for intentionally importing, possessing, harboring, transferring, or transporting any pest designated by statute or rule, unless the pest is otherwise allowed by law in the state

· Establishes penalties and fines appropriate to the harm to the natural environment, the economy, and the health and lifestyle of Hawaii’s people

“This law is critical to fighting the battle against invasive species,” said Rep. Clift Tsuji (District 3 – South Hilo, Panaewa, Puna, Keaau, Kurtistown), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee and introducer of the bill. “Every citizen in the state, including visitors, must take responsibility to ensure that we are not allowing invasive species to ruin our natural beauty and hurt our economy. I believe that giving the Department of Agriculture this new authority will provide the disincentive we need for greater control.”

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