The Hawaii Legislature recently introduced several bills relating to the ocean environment and maritime industry here.
First up, an increase in barrel tax from five cents per barrel to fifteen. Follow it here.
Next, a requirement that barge-based fuel transfers use containment boom during transfer operations. Follow it here.
And, the biggie, an amendment to Hawaii Revised Statutes Chapter 342D Water Pollution which provides for "unlimited liability" for any owner or operator of a vessel engaged in the commercial transport, storage on vessel or transfer of any "oil, hazardous substances, or unnatural or artificial substance" resulting from the spill or incurred by the State in responding to the release. And, for those of you who learned a lot about the molasses trade in the past year, the bill defines "unnatural or artificial substance" as "the release of any substance in a quantity, duration, or form that disrupts or causes damage to the natural ecosystem of the ocean."
Finally, if you were wondering whether the State was going to proceed against Matson for the molasses spill, you should note that the Attorney General is seeking an emergency appropriation for hiring experts and outside counsel, for: "its impending lawsuit by the State against Matson for damages caused by the molasses spill in Honolulu Harbor."