Bill 2491 is scheduled for tomorrow Monday August 5 at 8:30am in the Historic County Building on Rice Street in Lihue – The Kauai County Council Committee on Economic Development (Sustainability/Agriculture/Food/Energy and Intergovernmental Relations).
The public is invited and welcome to attend.
It is anticipated that the meeting will begin with a private executive session attended only by council members, county attorneys and council staff. At the conclusion of this executive session the council members will resume the meeting in open session and spend significant time discussing various aspects of Bill 2491 engaging in Q&A with various resource persons who will be present (legal, science, etc).
At the end of the initial discussion and Q&A segment, public testimony will be accepted.
Because of the nature of the Q&A discussion, there is no way to accurately predict at what point the public testimony segment will begin or end.
This Committee is comprised of 5 members. The Chair of the Committee is CM Gary Hooser, the Vice Chair is CM Yukimura and members include CM Nakamura, CM Rapozo and CM Kogawa. CM Bynum and Council Chair Furfaro are not members of the committee and cannot vote at the committee level but are likely to attend and participate in the discussion.
Council members are still gathering information and digesting the volumes of testimony that have been submitted. It is likely that some members will in the future be suggesting amendments to the Bill and but have not had time to adequately prepare those amendments up to this point in the process.
I believe all issues which have been raised during this process can and should be worked through now, within the context of Bill 2491 and via the community process now in place and fully engaged.
The purpose and goal of Bill 2491 is to further protect the health and environment of our community. The Bill was drafted with a further specific intention to have minimal impacts on the existing operations of impacted industries.
It is my belief that a majority of the committee members share this goal and are committed to seeing the process through toward a positive resolution.
I believe that the time to deal with this issue is now. The dialogue and the learning will be ongoing, but further community protections protecting health and the environment must be put in place now.
Amendments are an essential and normal part of the process.
It is expected that at some point in the future each member who is supportive of the Bill will offer amendments intended to strengthen, weaken or to clarify existing provisions – depending on the particular members’ perspective and concerns. It is already obvious from the public dialogue that the buffer zone component may need to be amended to assure the provision does not excessively impact industry activities yet still provides the necessary community and environmental protections. An example might be an amendment to expand buffer zones around schools, hospitals and homes while clarifying that the buffer zone requirement does not apply to interior private roads and irrigation facilities that are not streams and do not empty into the ocean.
Welcome to the world of public policy making and grass roots democracy. Thank you to all who are willing to invest the time needed to learn about the process, take ownership of their local government and to work and fight hard for what they believe in. Imua!