Wednesday, March 5, 2014

House Passes Bills Addressing Molasses Spill

Representative Chris Lee, Energy & Environmental Protection Committee Chair
The House has sent to the Senate for its consideration three bills that address issues and concerns identified from the molasses spill in Honolulu Harbor last September. HB2621 HD2, passed yesterday, requires the adoption of rules including time limits on the reporting dangerous or damaged property, and requires cooperation between government agencies and their contractors in the investigations of issues raised.

“Even as we wait for the results of the federal and state investigations in progress right now, these measures will help us ensure stronger accountability by the government agencies involved as well as better communications with our outside contractors” said Representative Chris Lee (Kailua, Waimanalo), who chairs the House Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection.

Previously, the House passed on to the Senate for its consideration, HB2620 HD1, updates the State’s oil spill response planning and adds molasses and other contaminants in emergency response plans. HD2622 HD1, directs settlement funding from coral and reef damage lawsuits toward reef and marine habitat restoration.

Combined, all three measures seek to correct the shortcomings in harbor operations management, oversight and reporting procedures that also contributed to the emergency unpreparedness of the state agencies and private contractors involved, including the Harbors Division of the state Department of Transportation. 

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