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Venue change for hearing on pesticides, genetically modified crops

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 03:02 a.m. HST, Jul 26, 2013

In anticipation of a big turnout at a public hearing pertaining to pesticide use and farming of genetically modified crops, Kauai’s County Council has changed the venue for the meeting for a second time.

The hearing, set to get under way at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, will be held at the Kauai Veterans Center, 3215 Kapule Highway in Lihue, which can seat up to 600 people. Earlier this month, the council moved the venue from its regular meeting place at the historic Kauai County Building to a larger venue at Kauai Community College’s Performing Arts Center, which has a maximum capacity of about 540 people.

Councilman Gary Hooser, who introduced the Bill 2491, said he anticipates a large crowd at the hearing. The bill targets large users of restricted-use pesticides, farms using experimental pesticides, and growers of genetically modified crops for new regulations, such as mandatory disclosures about pesticide use and the presence of GMOs (genetically modified organisms). 

Among other regulations, the ordinance would ban large users of restricted-use pesticides  — agricultural operations purchasing or using more than five pounds or 15 gallons of restricted-use pesticides — as well as users of any amount of experimental pesticides, from using pesticides of any sort inside a 500-foot buffer zone around schools, hospitals and other sensitive areas, such as public roads, streams and shorelines.

For more information, call the office of the county clerk, (808) 241-4821. 

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copperwire9 wrote:
Mahalo Gary.
on July 25,2013 | 04:02PM
niimi wrote:
Bring 2,000 people there. Show of force, folks.
on July 25,2013 | 08:15PM
Honulove wrote:
From Councilman Hooser's blog:.........The Truth About Bill 2491 Relating to Pesticides and Genetically Modified Organisms Posted on July 20, 2013 by garyhooser As the author of Bill 2491 relating to Pesticides and Genetically Modified Organisms, I feel compelled to address the tremendous amount of misinformation being generated in the community as to its impacts and effects on our island community. To be clear – Bill 2491 does not ban GMO’s and will absolutely not force or cause the closure of any GMO operation on Kauai. Further – Bill 2491’s pesticide provisions apply only to commercial agricultural operations that use large amounts of Restricted Use Pesticides (RUP’s). 99% of these very toxic substances are used by just 5 companies on Kauai. The GMO companies apply approximately 18 tons of over 22 different types of highly restricted chemicals every year to their fields all over our island. These chemicals have warning labels that sometimes exceed 100 pages and many are banned in Europe and elsewhere in the world. No one else on Kauai uses these RUP chemicals at any level even close to what is being used by these agrochemical operations. The GMO companies use 18 tons per year. All golf courses combined on Kauai use annually about 200 pounds of RUP’s total. While the State and County does utilize “general use pesticides” such as Round Up they do not use RUP’s at all in their roadside spraying. No small farms will be impacted by Bill 2491 whatsoever because they simply do not use RUP’s at any significant level at all. These same GMO companies are conducting experiments with pesticides and genetically modified organisms not approved for human consumption, nor approved for release into the open general environment. While these companies often deny this fact, I have clear and unequivocal documentation to prove this assertion. Year after year, these large agro chemical corporations dump over 18 tons of 22 different types of Restricted Use Pesticides and an additional estimated 80 tons of General Use Pesticides (glyphosate, Round Up and other) into the Kauai environment. These toxic chemicals are often applied in fields near schools, hospitals, houses, streams and sensitive coastal environments. There have been no studies, no research and no evaluation of what impacts this activity has on our community’s health and natural environment. There is no law in place at the present time that requires these companies to disclose the large amounts of toxic chemicals they use daily in our community. Nor is there any law in place today that prevents these same chemicals from being used in areas adjacent to schools, hospitals and other sensitive areas. The heart of Bill 2491 is the “right to know”. Kauai’s people have the right to know what pesticides are being used in very large quantities and what experimental pesticides and experimental genetically modified organisms are being used in our County. If passed into law Bill 2491 will: 1) Require mandatory disclosure of Pesticide and GMO use by large commercial agricultural entities and require a buffer zoned around schools, hospitals and other sensitive areas. This applies only to large users of Restricted Use Pesticides and will not affect small farmers at all. 2) Prohibit open air testing of experimental pesticides and experimental GMO’s. Note: This does not ban the testing but merely requires that it be conducted in an enclosed environment. 3) Establish a temporary moratorium on new GMO operations pending the results of an environmental impact statement and development of a permitting system. Note: This does not impact existing operations but only impacts expansion during the limited moratorium period. 4) Require the County of Kauai to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the impact of the GMO industry and its related pesticide practices within Kauai County. This will include independent testing of soil, water, air and volunteer residents. 5) Require a permitting system for GMO operations and establishes penalties. 6) Provides that all costs may be paid for via permitting fees assessed on those companies being regulated and via property tax directly connected to their operations. Bill 2491 has been reviewed by numerous legal experts and has undergone many revisions during the drafting process. The County of Kauai has the legal authority to pass and implement the provisions contained within this measure. Nothing in federal or state law prevents us from taking this action and in fact both existing law and past court decisions support our right to protect the health and natural environment of our county. Without question our community is growing increasingly concerned about the impact of the GMO operations and their related pesticide use on our island. This is a Kauai issue concerning activities and impacts that are occurring on Kauai. Growing and experimenting with genetically modified organisms, using experimental pesticides and spraying a wide array of restricted and non restricted pesticides on a mass scale have impacts on our island, our health and our environment. There are direct impacts, secondary impacts and cumulative impacts but we don’t know what those impacts are because they have never been properly evaluated – and the companies in question will not give us the information needed to make a proper evaluation. As an elected member of the Kauai County Council I am committed to working with my colleagues on the Council whom I know share my concerns, to pass into law an ordinance that will in fact further protect the health and safety of Kauai residents. Please participate in the process and send your testimony to counciltestimony@kauai.gov
on July 26,2013 | 03:38AM
That is a whole lot of information. Hasn't our food been geneticly modified for years....and now there is so much interest, it reminds me very much the way we as a people are now so concerned with Polictal Correctness, Accountablilty, Sueing over anything and everything. If people were just as concerned with there individual health as they were with GMO's and the concept thereof, it would be a much easier world to live in. You speak of the tons of pesticides, and experiments......too much political and beaurocratic issues for me to digest...I think Im gonna continue to wash my food, eat it and worry about more important issues like world peace, our childrens future, and things that really matter.
on July 26,2013 | 12:43PM
localhaole wrote:
Amen! This issue has been blown way out of proportion.
on July 26,2013 | 02:15PM
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