Regulation of GMOs & Pesticides

SUBHEAD: The County Council unanimously passed the first reading of Bill 2491 regulating GMOs and restricted pesticides.

By Juan Wilson on 27 June 2013 for Island Breath -  
(http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2013/06/regulation-of-gmos-pesticides.html)


Image above: Four of the more than half-dozen Pioneer bus/vans parked at Hisoric County Building parking lot before Council Meeting on GMO Bill. Photo by Juan Wilson.

July 26, 2013: On arriving at the Historic County Building on Rice Street in Lihue to be present for the presentation of Gary Hooser's GMO-Pesticide Regulation Bill 2491 my wife, Linda Pascatore, and I waded through a parking lot with more than a half dozen Dupont/Pioneer bus-vans. They had come in force.

Between 500 and a 1,000 people had come out for the event. They are about evenly split between GMO employees supporting their companies and members of the general public.

The way you could tell was that many of the GMO employees wore company tee-shirts or jackets. Pioneer predominated with bright green, DowAgro wore lime-green and Syngenta wore gray.

Some of those who supported the bill and were organized by GMO-Free Kauai wore red or yellow.


Image above: Crowd in front of Historic County Building. Many in foreground are BASF Syngenta employees, with a paid day-off.  Photo by Juan Wilson.

Besides local employees there were corporate executives. They remained quiet and made no testimony. All testimony against the bill was from local westside employees of the GMO corporations.


Image above: Dow AgroScience (now DowAgroGenetics) exec watches monitor in lobby of Historic County Building in overflow crowd. Photo by Juan Wilson.


Image above: Panoramic view of Council Chamber before GMO Bill 2491 reading. Click to enlarge. Note Kauai's State Aquatic Biologist Don Heacock left. Photo by Juan Wilson.

The GMO employees were disciplined, choosing to sit in blocks. The Pioneer employees took up the last four or five rows of the Council Chamber.


Image above: DuPont Pioneer exec surrounded by employees in Council Chamber. Photo by Juan Wilson.

County Council Chairman Jay Furfaro explained that two hours would be devoted to presenting the substance of the bill and receiving public testimony; then there would be a recess to take up other business.


Image above: Gary Hooser before his presentation of GMO Bill 2491to the Kauai County Council. Photo by Juan Wilson.


Image above: Gary Hooser (left) makes a presentation of GMO Bill to Kauai County Council. Left to right Gary Hooser,  JoAnn Yukimura Tim Bynum, Jay Furfaro, Nadine Nakamura, Mel Rapozo and Ross Kagawa. Photo by Juan Wilson.

For a PDF of Gary Hooser's proposed bill 2491 click here:

The substance of the bill is as follows:

 2491 Sec. 22-­22.4   
Mandatory Disclosure of Pesticides & GMOs
It shall be mandatory for all commercial agricultural entities that annually purchase or use in excess of five (5) pounds or fifteen (15) gallons of restricted use pesticides, any amount of any experimental pesticides, or both, during any calendar year to disclose the use of all pesticides (restricted use, general use, and experimental) during that same calendar year.

(b) It shall be mandatory for all commercial agricultural entities that intentionally or knowingly possess any genetically modified organism to disclose the presence of said genetically modified organism, or organisms.

Sec. 22-­22.5
Pesticide Buffer Zones
Effective January 1, 2014 it shall be mandatory for all commercial agricultural entities that annually purchase or use in excess of five (5) pounds or fifteen (15) gallons of restricted use pesticides, any amount of any experimental pesticides, or both, during any calendar year to restrict the application of all pesticides (restricted use, general use, and experimental) in the following areas:

No pesticide of any kind (restricted use, general use, or experimental) may be used within 500 feet of any school, hospital, residential area, or public roadway.

No pesticide of any kind (restricted use, general use, or experimental) may be used within 500 feet of any stream, river, or shoreline.

Sec. 22-­22.6   
Prohibition of Open Air Testing of Experimental Pesticides
Effective January 1, 2014, it shall be unlawful to test or use any experimental pesticide, except for those fully contained within a laboratory, contained greenhouse, fermenter, or other contained structure.

Sec. 22-­22.7
Moratorium on GMO production until EIS comppeted

There shall be a temporary moratorium on the experimental use and commercial production of genetically modified organisms until such time as the County of Kauai has conducted a complete Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the health, environmental, and other effects of the production, propagation, or development of genetically modified organisms within the County. The moratorium will further continue until the County has developed and put into place a permitting process sufficient to protect the residents and environment of the County of Kauai from any significant effects that may be identified in the Environmental Impact Statement.

(b) The moratorium shall not apply to landowners, lessees, or licensees engaging in experimental use and commercial production of genetically modified organisms prior to the date that this proposed ordinance was first publicly noticed as a new agenda item for consideration by the Kauai County Council, provided that this exception shall not allow an increase of such use or production. To meet this exception, landowners, lessees, or licensees may be required to provide to the Department convincing proof of having been engaged in such use or production prior to the date that this proposed ordinance was first publicly noticed as a new agenda item for consideration by the Kauai County Council. Proof shall include explanation of the scope and scale of such use and production.

(c) No new permits, amendments to permits, or exemptions to permit requirements shall be issued by the Department during the moratorium period for any activity that will allow for new or expanded use or cultivation of any genetically modified organism after the date that this proposed ordinance was first publicly noticed as a new agenda item for consideration by the Kauai County Council, including but not limited to provisions contained within Kauai County Ordinance No. 808 pertaining to Grading, Grubbing, and Stockpiling.

Sec. 22-­22.8
Environmental Impact Statement

The County of Kauai shall complete an Environmental Impact Statement in order to determine and evaluate significant effects of the production, propagation, or development of genetically modified organisms within the County of Kauai, and the use of all pesticides (restricted use, general use, and experimental) associated with the production, propagation, or development of genetically modified organisms within the County of Kauai.

Sec. 22-­22.11   
Penalties of violating provisions

Any person, firm, or corporation, whether as principal, agent, employee, or otherwise, violating or causing or permitting the violation of any of the provisions of this Article, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not more than one-­thousand dollars ($1,000.00), or imprisoned not more than one (1) year, or both, for each offense. The continuance of any violation after conviction shall be deemed a new criminal offense for each day that the violation or violations continue.

After his presentation Gary had two experts testify in support of the bill. They were William Steiner, the former dean of the College of Agriculture at UH, Hilo and William Freese, science policy analyst for the Center for Food Safety.


Image above: Panoramic view of expert testimony to Council Council on GMO Bill 2491 reading. Click to enlarge. Note Walter Ritte at left, Hector Venezuela (left of monitor) who testified for the Bill. In the reserved seats were experts William Steiner (left) and Bill Freese (right). Photo by Juan Wilson.

 
Only about a dozen members of the public testified before Chairman Jay Furfaro interrupted to recess the public meeting until 5:30pm. Testimony was about evenly split on the issue of the bill.

Most testifying against the bill claimed the benefit of the GMO companies on Kauai was that they provided jobs.

Most testifying for the bill were interested in the health impacts to people and the environment.

The County Council later in the day unanimously passed the first reading of the bill. That means it will be taken up by the Council's Environmental Subcommittee on 31 July 2013. This meeting is open to the public and more testimony will be taken then.

Conclusion
Council member Gary Hooser has done us a great service with his work on this bill. He has taken the bull by the horns. We need to get behind him with whatever we can do to help this process along.

If this bill passes the County Council intact it will transform the GMO industry on the island. The big chemical companies (and Kauai Coffee) would have to choose changing their business model or moving somewhere else.

I understand the fear of joblessness on the westside if the chemical companies were not here. But when they are gone there will be many more jobs needed to provide healthy food on Kauai. Let's move on.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Big Island Anti GMO Bill 6/27/13

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3 comments :

  1. more panarama shots, juan! :)

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  2. Yeah, like the panorama shots. Surprised the renovation doesn't look better. Looks the same as before...

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  3. Thanks regards panoramas. They're done with an iPod 5th generation. they are 10,900 x 2,332 pixels and east to shoot.

    The "renovation" was more a "restoration". New lighting and AC works well. Built in cameras, mics etc. It looked cleaned up.

    ReplyDelete