Monday, July 28, 2014         

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GMO bill risks millions in taxes and 600 jobs, companies warn

By Associated Press


WAILUKU » More than 600 jobs and millions of tax dollars could be lost if a moratorium on the cultivation of genetically engineered organisms passes, two Maui County seed companies say.

Monsanto has 540 employees on Maui and Molo­kai, The Maui News reported. Its county tax bill was $3.5 million last year. Dow AgroSciences affiliate Mycogen Seeds employs more than 90 people on Molo­kai.

A proposed ballot initiative calls for the suspension of all "genetically engineered operations and practices" in Maui County until companies prove the activity is safe.

The County Council has until Aug. 5 to adopt the proposal. The initiative will appear on the Nov. 4 general election ballot if the Council doesn't adopt it.

Monsanto government affairs manager Carol Rei­mann said a ban could devastate the company's operations and potentially lead to job losses.

The initiative was spearheaded by the nonprofit SHAKA Movement. SHAKA is an acronym for Sustainable Hawaiian Agriculture for the Keiki and the Aina.

"Are we always willing to trade off our health? Our lives? For low wages now?" said SHAKA official Mark Sheehan in an email.

Sheehan said the seed companies should find temporary work for their workers if the initiative is passed and studies are mandated. If studies show that their crops and chemicals used are harmless, "then no problem."

Opponents of the measure say pesticides used already are heavily regulated and that genetically modified crops have been a part of farming for years.

"The moratorium is making mountains out of molehills," Ken Fin­dei­sen of Hawaii Grower Products said Monday at a hearing held by the County Council's Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee.

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holumuahawaii wrote:
The scientific argument on GMO is definitive: GMO plants are not different and pose no more danger (none) than non-GMO plants. The only arguments against GMO are political and hysteria based. So, no problem. However, GMO plants are Hawaii's largest agricultural base amounting to a third of all agriculture. Hundreds of millions of dollars, thousands of acres of wonderfully producing land, thousands of happily employed farmers will be swept away and for what? Mindless hysteria stirred up by Know Nothing, and proud of it, advocates.
on July 2,2014 | 02:42AM
Slow wrote:
"Wonderfully producing land,thousands of happily employed farmers..." I can almost hear them singing "Whistle While We Work." Hawaii is not Disneyland. Corporate Ag is not Uncle Walt. This is clumsily written propaganda from a lobbyist.
on July 2,2014 | 08:00AM
wiliki wrote:
But it's the truth. Environmentalists are being unscientific.
on July 2,2014 | 10:28AM
Wazdat wrote:
Good. Close them down and send them packing. Hawaii is NOT a test lab.

Now lets do the same for Oahu and Haleiwa.

on July 2,2014 | 03:25AM
Puuloa wrote:
would love for you to go packing....all the way back to California where you came from.
on July 2,2014 | 07:06AM
Slow wrote:
Good idea. And send all the Asians back, Euros back, Pacific islanders back...cool. The islands are now peaceful...and completely empty. But I know what you mean about every person who even visited California. They are all exactly alike and us guys no like em, right?
on July 2,2014 | 07:52AM
Wazdat wrote:
Not from California brah. Born and raised in da islands. Wake UP
on July 2,2014 | 08:00AM
Gerard909 wrote:
If GMOs are so safe, why are the companies fighting against labelling? Doesn't the public have a right to know what is in our food and how it is grown? Cities are labeling calories so people can make informed choices. Also, if GMOs are safe, why do farmers have to buy new seeds every year. Presumably seeds produced by a GMO should be good, but for some reason farmers are forced to by new seeds. Finally, what about accidental cross-pollination. If farmer A is doing his/her best to grow non-GMO and a GMO farm several miles away is directly upwind. The GMO is going to cross into the non-GMO. It is not the non-GMO farmer's fault, but Monsanto and company will sue him for stealing trade secrets.
on July 2,2014 | 03:54AM
wiliki wrote:
Labeling harms business by alarming the customer. If environmentalists want to feel safe, then the solution is to label foods that do not have GMO food products. The average customer is not concerned with this issue.
on July 2,2014 | 10:32AM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
wiliki wrote: "Labeling harms business by alarming the customer."

Then maybe Monsanto companies should spend their money educating people that GMO is safe instead of lobbying our congressmen and state legislators to keep it secret.

If GMO really is that much better you'd think they'd be writing "Contains 100% GMO products" on their granola bars and children's cereal instead of spending millions trying to hide it.

on July 2,2014 | 02:48PM
DABLACK wrote:
We need to know what happened to the bees ! Can Monsanto explain their disappearance ?? The vegetable plants are not being pollinated . If GMOs are safe, Monsant need to explain the reason their food are not allowed in the White House and their OWN cafeteria !! We always had bees flying around. Is it the "change" that's going on at the present with GMOs (pesticide induced crops) !!
on July 2,2014 | 06:39AM
JohnnyO wrote:
Everyone support SHAKA!
on July 2,2014 | 06:44AM
McCully wrote:
Good, layoff people, lose millions and let's see how these unemployed workers react to the anti GMO people.
on July 2,2014 | 06:57AM
sailfish1 wrote:
How are they going to "react"? Are you saying that the workers are violent people?
on July 2,2014 | 11:51AM
Slow wrote:
Why won't the corporate ag companies tell us what poisons they, how much they spray, when and how often? We do not need our lands contaminated for bottom of the barrel jobs.
on July 2,2014 | 07:55AM
788686 wrote:
"Opponents of the measure say pesticides used already are heavily regulated and that genetically modified crops have been a part of farming for years." Yeah...pesticides are good for you, eat it everyday. Is that we want? And these companies using lost of job and money so they can cotinue to poison and kill us. I don't know why Hawaii even let these checmial companies on our aina in the first place. Oh, forgot, to line the pockets of those that let them be here. Campaign contributions....LOL
on July 2,2014 | 08:50AM
lee1957 wrote:
Yeah, people are dying left and right.
on July 2,2014 | 11:46AM
Adam1105 wrote:
It's ALWAYS -- "we're going to give you jobs." They are making frankenfood NOT for our benefit but for THEIR profit.
on July 2,2014 | 09:16AM
Ronin006 wrote:
A proposed ballot initiative calls for the suspension of all "genetically engineered operations and practices" in Maui County until companies prove the activity is safe. Proponents of the ballot initiative should be required to provide a smidgen (Obama’s word) of evidence they are not safe instead of relying on scare tactics and unsubstantiated info from anti-GMO activists.
on July 2,2014 | 09:51AM
sailfish1 wrote:
Just let the people vote on it.
on July 2,2014 | 11:54AM
islandsun wrote:
Always using the "jobs" scare. How many of the workers are shipped in or have escaped from somewhere else?
on July 2,2014 | 02:09PM
konag43 wrote:
mansanto, pioneer and other companies are trying to control the food production of the world by modifing our food source. you are a fool if you let them modify the food souce in time to come nothing will grow properly . why don't they run an organic farm whether then gmo products. the same number of employees would remain employed and the same taxes would be paid.. now whats your argument
on July 2,2014 | 03:00PM
false wrote:
Explain to me how you don't have to pay property taxes if you don't get your way?
on July 2,2014 | 05:44PM
leino wrote:
GMO has lots of down side risks even IF the plants they grow are metabolically harmless to people. Chemical based agriculture with N,P,K was bad enough but the trend is huge mono-cropping that is pesticide based with many questions that need to be asked and answered. In many places these types agricultural practices are not sustainable due to collateral damage . Let's keep the "precautionary principle" in place ... there is much to lose when you are the lab rat and Hawaii is the cage. Let's get it right the first time so we are not playing extraction games in court for some bodies ooops. The evidence regarding the risks of pesticide exposure is increasing. Fight for home rule verses State control. I do not want to see some puffed up bureaucrat dancing on a pedestal calling out what happens in places they will probably never visit with no loyalties to the affected community.
on July 2,2014 | 06:51PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Quit pandering to giant corporations.
on July 2,2014 | 08:54PM
mikaele1 wrote:
Part of the benefit of some of the GMO created seed crops are that you do not have to use as many pesticides in the farming practice. you also do not have to plow up the ground which reduces run off and loss of top soil to wind. the round up ready corn can be planted without plowing the fields. Hawaii is at the forefront of creating better seed that can help feed the growing populations of the world. Do your homework and you will see that science backs GMO. The unfortunate outcome is that a few fanatics with a loud whistle will turn this industry unnecessarily upside down. How are you going to replace that economic engine?
on July 2,2014 | 10:23PM
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