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Proposed task force would plan environmental restoration of former military land

1-21 Mortarmen provide fire support during exercises at Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii
Tech. Sgt. Michael Holzworth/U.S. Department of Defense
FILE - U.S. Army soldiers prepare and resupply 120 mm mortar rounds prior to a fire mission from a Mounted Mortar Carrier 37 on Sept. 20, 2012, at the Pohakuloa Training Area, on Hawaiʻi Island. (Department of Defense photo)

A proposal to establish a Surplus Military Land Task Force is making its way through the state Legislature. Senate Bill 521 would help the state determine and plan for the future use of land currently under military lease.

The state's Office of Planning and Sustainable Development supports the measure.

In written testimony, director Scott Glenn said a task force would help the office plan for the restoration of acreage that is now under federal control. Part of that would be identifying environmental hazards and potentially contaminated water or soil.

The task force would also identify lands for continued military use.

The bill calls for 11 members, including a representative from each of the four counties.

The U.S. Air Force announced last month that it would end its lease of more than 300 acres of land on Molokaʻi in Maui County. The land will now be used by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

The measure passed a hearing Monday in front of the Committee on Public Safety and Intergovernmental and Military Affairs, and the Committee on Water and Land.

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