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Kauai mayor vetoes measure to limit pesticides, GMOs

By Rosemarie Bernardo

LAST UPDATED: 03:34 a.m. HST, Nov 01, 2013

Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. vetoed a bill Thursday that would require large agribusinesses to disclose the type of pesticides they spray on fields and implement buffer zones around schools, dwellings and medical facilities. 

Bill 2491 would have required agribusinesses that purchase or use more than five pounds or 15 gallons of restricted use pesticides annually to disclose all types of pesticides they spray on their fields and to implement buffer zones near schools, dwellings, medical facilities, public roadways, shorelines and waterways.

"I have always said I agree with the intent of this bill to provide for pesticide use disclosure, create meaningful buffer zones and conduct a study on the health and environmental issues relating to pesticide use on Kaua'i," Carvalho said in a news release. "However, I believe strongly that this bill is legally flawed. That being the case, I had no choice but to veto."

Under the bill, agricultural companies would have been required to provide annual reports of genetically modified crops grown on fields to the Office of Economic Development and state Department of Agriculture. The information would have been posted on the county website.

Agribusinesses also would have been required to disclose where the genetically modified crops were being grown and dates of when each crop was initially planted. 

Companies affected by the bill would have included Syngeta Hawaii, DuPont Pioneer, Dow AgroSciences and BASF as well as Kauai Coffee, the largest coffee grower in the state.

The Kauai County Council has 30 days from today to override the veto, but it was not immediately clear what action the council will take. "The decision of the council to override the veto has yet to be determined," Council Chairman Jay Furfaro said this afternoon.

The council voted 6-1 to approve Bill 2491 in the early-morning hours of Oct. 16 after a marathon public hearing. 

Before the council's vote, Carvalho requested a one-month deferral to hold discussions with the state on the enforcement of the bill's disclosure and buffer zones. Council Chairman Jay Furfaro said he would not support a deferral, saying there was no logical reason to do so.

The final draft of the bill sent to the mayor's office for approval focused on regulating pesticide use by agribusinesses. 

Councilmen Gary Hooser and Tim Bynum co-introduced the bill in June in response to ongoing community concerns of pesticide exposure. 

Biotech companies favor Hawaii's year-round warm climate, enabling them to grow three crops per year compared to one in Illinois. Company officials say they are already regulated by the state and federal level and the county lacks the resources to enforce the ordinance. Biotech representatives who testified at meetings also said the ordinance would signicantly hamper the farming industry.

Bill supporters say the ordinance is necessary to protect public health and the island's environment. 

Kauai Mayor transmittal letter Bill 2491.pdf

County Attorney Opinion.pdf

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SY808 wrote:
They couldn't afford it anyways!
on October 31,2013 | 11:54AM
frontman wrote:
Finally, an elected person with the courage to do what is right.................................
on October 31,2013 | 03:13PM
cartwright wrote:
What a whimp.
on October 31,2013 | 05:38PM
false wrote:
No brainer response to no brainer legislation. Hooser and Bynam need to think, rather than just playing to the crowd that shows up on a day when most people are working
on October 31,2013 | 11:56AM
Eradication wrote:
The "no-brainer" issue here is that when the strings get pulled the puppet does its little dance. It's ironic that smokers can not be within 20 feet of public businesses and schools yet the county can spray roundup anywhere on school grounds and on public property randomly with very little regard to public safety. It is also ironic that laws that are typically unenforceable are passed quite often (i.e. cell phone usage and texting while driving, public drinking on state beaches, speeding, etc.) yet this law is "unenforceable". What is at issue here, in particular, is the health of the general public versus money from some very large corporations going into very deep political pockets. It's obvious that greed wins all the time. I salute the people of Kauai for fighting this battle and hope that the rest of those of us who really care about each other continue fighting. Hope the same does not happen on our island, Moku O Keawe where we are fighting the same battle.
on October 31,2013 | 12:34PM
false wrote:
Don't think, change the subject. Paranoia is fun, but doesn't draw a paycheck.
on October 31,2013 | 01:03PM
BluesBreaker wrote:
Your claims are absolutely false. Each pesticide that is applied has a lengthy set of instructions know as a label, which is actually a booklet that covers everything from how to mix and apply the pesticide to restrictions on wind speeds above which the pesticide cannot be sprayed. The label also includes buffer zones, which are determined by extensive research and testing by EPA, rather than the arbitrary limits contained in Bill 2491, which are based on nothing.

There is no problem that has been identified. No health and safety complaints have ever been brought, other than dust created by plowing (and there is no evidence that there is anything more than dirt blowing off the fields). We know from studies conducted by the Kauai County Water Department, the State Department of Health and the University of Hawaii, in conjunction with the Kauai County Health Department that there were no pesticides present at Waimea Canyon Middle School, no higher incidence of cancer or other health problems in West Kauai where the farms are primarily located, and no dangerous amounts of chemicals in ground water. In fact, atrazine, a mild pesticide that receives a lot press, hasn't been found in any water studies on Kauai in any amount since 2005. A lot of sound and fury has been spewed out on this bill. That energy could have been used a lot more productively for legitimate environmental issues.

on October 31,2013 | 05:31PM
Skyler wrote:
When BluesBreaker types, all I see is "blah, blah, blabitty-blah."
on October 31,2013 | 07:24PM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
He's certainly a friend of corporations and big business... you know, the sorts that buy their friends.
on October 31,2013 | 07:57PM
allie wrote:
AGREE..it was silly legilsation
on October 31,2013 | 01:00PM
wahine wrote:
Sounds like he decision was "kick back" based.
on October 31,2013 | 12:05PM
false wrote:
cheap thought
on October 31,2013 | 01:06PM
Skyler wrote:
but has merit.
on October 31,2013 | 07:25PM
love808 wrote:
I believe the mayor will not survive the next election.
on October 31,2013 | 12:06PM
noforget wrote:
I bet you Mayor Cravalho wins by a landslide if Hooser decides to run against him. The Kauai local community are fed up with outsiders (CERES, Hawaii Seeds, Earth Justince Center of Food safety, Babes for Biotech, Walter Ritte and the list goes on and on) influencing the Kauai transplants to push their extreme anti GMO pesticide agenda and mob mentality attitude. The locals are going to come out in masses in the next election to vote for Bernard .Lets support the Mayor and encourage the Kauai County Council to support the veto. IMUA Bernard! you got my vote.
on October 31,2013 | 12:45PM
allie wrote:
good points...and GMO's are the future. They are safe and will feed the world.
on October 31,2013 | 01:01PM
Eradication wrote:
Hey alice, do your research. The countries that have bought into GMO still have millions of people starving. Why? Because the farmers can't afford to buy seeds. They end up selling the farm which in turn gets turned over to the government. Look at the suicide rate among farmers in asia who believed the lies.
on October 31,2013 | 01:23PM
BluesBreaker wrote:
Again, you are just spewing propaganda. The U.S., Australia and other countries that use biotech crops are realizing greater yields, without plowing up more land and they are using less water, showing less soil erosion and using less pesticides. Third World countries that have begun using biotech crops are experiencing the same benefits.

Yes, there are still people starving in some countries, but many more people are being fed, thanks to biotech agriculture. Now, that vitamin enhanced Golden Rice, a biotech crop, has been approved in the Philippines there is real hope that childhood blindness caused by vitamin deficiency will be dramatically reduced. Well-fed environmental extremists try to prevent these benefits from being realized in their misguided crusade. Read more about it here:


on October 31,2013 | 05:40PM
Anonymous wrote:
You must be sitting at your desk writing this at Monsato.
on October 31,2013 | 01:57PM
96744rez wrote:
on October 31,2013 | 04:48PM
Venus1 wrote:
The people of Kauai may be better informed and care more for their children than you! Hope so!
on October 31,2013 | 01:02PM
Eradication wrote:
You mean outsiders with lots of money to own the government or do you mean the "local" businesses like Syngeta Hawaii, DuPont Pioneer, Dow AgroSciences and BASF? And let's not forget Monsanto.... This isn't about food...it's about controlling the population. Farmers will soon realize that they will be forced to buy GMO seeds from corporate seed companies because their seeds can no longer produce crops. We won't even be able to grow our own food due to cross pollination with GMO crops. Why is it that the rest of the world see's this and we don't?
on October 31,2013 | 01:19PM
kaupani wrote:
Exactly, the "outsiders" like Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta who care nothing for the land. Those are the outsiders we should be watchful of, not transplants who only ask for transparency (which is all this neutered bill would have required).
on October 31,2013 | 01:21PM
Anonymous wrote:
How can you be fed up with people trying to protect people's health and save the land? You should be thanking them. They're only trying to look after your health and the health of your family and your future unborn family. Do you realize how GMO's destroy the soil? Wise up. Educate yourself on the subject and then see if you still support the veto.
on October 31,2013 | 01:52PM
BluesBreaker wrote:
Wow, you just make it up as you go. What's it like to live in a fact-free world?
on October 31,2013 | 05:50PM
Skyler wrote:
Monsanto's an 'insider, local company' yeah?? Who knew. Sooo bogus.
on October 31,2013 | 07:26PM
mynah wrote:
money trumps most things
on October 31,2013 | 12:21PM
false wrote:
more cheap thoughts
on October 31,2013 | 01:07PM
96744rez wrote:
but true!
on October 31,2013 | 04:49PM
serious wrote:
Look, this state is so over regulated, it's hard for a private company to breathe. We're a tourist state--service workers and that's the way it is unless we give industry some room. Our Democratic politics are tax and spend---someone has to work to get the taxes!!! We need a lottery and the cancellation of the Jones Act or we will not survive. Like Detroit and Chicago liberal Democratic cities that gave and gave to the unions, we have pensions sitting for our futures that we can't possible meet.
on October 31,2013 | 12:23PM
copperwire9 wrote:
It's also hard for our keiki "to breathe," if you'll recall: Whole batches of them on the west side are occasionally taken to the hospital when they get sick from noxious fumes from the pesticides that are used willy-nilly and heavily.
on October 31,2013 | 02:11PM
BluesBreaker wrote:
The studies that were done by the state and county at Waimea Canyon Middle School determined that the noxious odors that made children and teachers feel sick were from plowing/discing stinkweed, not pesticides. Facts count for something in the real world.
on October 31,2013 | 05:52PM
fiveo wrote:
Seems that the mayor knows which side his bread is buttered on. Clearly he is mot on the side of the people of Kauai and has decided to go with the "big boys". I am sure "they" will be contributing heavily to his re-election bid. Now that the people know who he truly represents, time to vote him out. I always got the impression in watching him that he was kind of full of himself, much like a former Honolulu mayor. Such individuals never represent the people and are only interested in benefiting themselves.
on October 31,2013 | 12:26PM
Venus1 wrote:
Greed is attractive!
on October 31,2013 | 01:07PM
Anonymous wrote:
Well said fiveo.
on October 31,2013 | 03:11PM
mcc wrote:
$$$$$ talks.
on October 31,2013 | 08:32PM
W_Williams wrote:
This mayor clearly has his political aspirations as his first priority.
on October 31,2013 | 12:33PM
false wrote:
Not Hooser though?
on October 31,2013 | 01:07PM
copperwire9 wrote:
on October 31,2013 | 02:11PM
BluesBreaker wrote:
Did you read the legal basis for his decision? I would say it's Hooser who's trying to ride this issue to higher office. As the councilmember who received the least number of votes of any who now sit on the council, he needs a cause to rally support for his candidacy and he's latched on to this issue.
on October 31,2013 | 05:54PM
localhaole wrote:
The bill was flawed from the get-go. Kudos to the Mayor for doing the right thing and vetoing the bill!
on October 31,2013 | 12:35PM
allie wrote:
on October 31,2013 | 01:01PM
Slow wrote:
Smoochy woochy, honey girl.
on October 31,2013 | 03:44PM
kawikakoike96819 wrote:
Follow the money that leads from the Mayor.
on October 31,2013 | 12:50PM
false wrote:
dear dear dear...lots of cheap thoughts. not much to it
on October 31,2013 | 01:07PM
Too_Much_Pilikia wrote:
Kudos to Mayor Carvalho for standing up to these left wing extremists. Finally, common sense rules amidst a sea of emotional and ignorant rhetoric. Go back to your caves and tree houses from where you came from.
on October 31,2013 | 12:53PM
Venus1 wrote:
There is no 'back'! The truth is out and now we see if people want a world that bends toward the light or darkness! Toward life or death, toward greed or cooperation! We shall see!
on October 31,2013 | 01:06PM
bumba wrote:
Gee whiz, tone down the drama............
on October 31,2013 | 03:34PM
Eradication wrote:
Enough with the labels already. This isn't partisan politics. It's about the health of our children, kupuna and earth. When these islands were "re-discovered" by westerners there were nearly as many people living in these islands as there are now. They were the healthiest population on earth until poisons and diseases were introduced. Communities were self sustaining. Food was plentiful and there were no GMO. Why is it so hard to take the lessons from the past and apply it to our present and future. They, our ancestors, showed us by their successes and failures what works. We are totally ignoring their lessons for the love of money and power. Yes, we should go back, figuratively, and relearn those things that are time tested and true and apply them now.
on October 31,2013 | 01:36PM
allie wrote:
No hon..that figure is greatly exaggerated. Most anthropologists believe the figure was 300,000, maybe 400,000 at most and Hawaiians were increasingly miserable with endless wars and bloodshed.
on October 31,2013 | 02:09PM
Kuihao wrote:
"Most anthropologists?" Please provide citations to the anthropological literature to support these claims. How about the citation to a single piece of peer-reviewed anthropological literature to support these claims. As usual, allie speaks when she knows nothing.
on October 31,2013 | 02:25PM
808Warriors wrote:
That's all allie does is talk with no supported facts. She's a pariah.
on October 31,2013 | 02:56PM
konag43 wrote:
on October 31,2013 | 01:01PM
allie wrote:
He did the right thing. Bad bill. People on Kauai want their GMO. The world does.
on October 31,2013 | 02:10PM
Tony91 wrote:
My gosh, I think this could be the first sign intelligent life DOES exist on Kauai...
on October 31,2013 | 01:15PM
KMT wrote:
You are so right! There's hope for the unconquered island after all!
on October 31,2013 | 03:04PM
kaupani wrote:
The question now is does the council conjure up the will to override his veto? We can hope so.
on October 31,2013 | 01:24PM
jess wrote:
Bought by Mon$anto.
on October 31,2013 | 01:25PM
editors wrote:
What the hell Star Ad? How about providing some actual INFORMATION your "news"? You quote Carvalho as saying the bill is "legally flawed," but offer no explanation of why he thinks so? Who's writing your copy, Monsanto?
on October 31,2013 | 01:32PM
al_kiqaeda wrote:
Thank you. I was thinking the same thing.
on October 31,2013 | 01:40PM
eastsidegrrrl wrote:
on October 31,2013 | 02:10PM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
The reporters at the Star Advertiser should hang their heads in shame. We got better reporting by the kauaieclectic lady.
on October 31,2013 | 02:55PM
innocentBystander wrote:
on October 31,2013 | 03:39PM
BluesBreaker wrote:
It was nice that she included the pdf of the legal opinion that shows the mayor acted wisely. Her bias was obvious, however. Only anti-GMO parties were included. She sought comments from GMO Free Kauai but not from Kauai Coffee or any of the farms affected or their workers or the workers' ohana. It's always better reporting when it confirms your own bias, isn't it?
on October 31,2013 | 05:48PM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
She got actual details as well as the legal opinion and she's "just" a blogger. The Star-Advertiser got a press release and ran it as news.
on October 31,2013 | 08:06PM
copperwire9 wrote:
There's also nothing there about the fact that the council has the votes to override a veto rather easily.
on October 31,2013 | 02:12PM
KMT wrote:
Cool your jets. There's more to this story - like abuse of power by CMs and waste of taxpayer dollars. It'll all come out soon enough and then we'll really see truth.
on October 31,2013 | 03:09PM
Anonymous wrote:
I didn't hear the mayor stating that the bill was being amended or a new draft was being drawn up to correct the flaws.
on October 31,2013 | 03:15PM
MightyMakiki wrote:
on October 31,2013 | 02:47PM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
Please compare this bloggeres nuanced and detailed reporting with the "press release as news" the Star-Advertiser is satisfied with. THIS is why newspapers are dying.


on October 31,2013 | 02:59PM
frontman wrote:
Finally, an elected person with the courage to do what is right.................................
on October 31,2013 | 03:12PM
innocentBystander wrote:
on October 31,2013 | 03:38PM
HNL96813 wrote:
what a disappointment.
on October 31,2013 | 03:43PM
96744rez wrote:
Agree with wahine that this sounds like his decision was "kick back" based.
on October 31,2013 | 04:47PM
tutulois wrote:
They better get it together and pass a law that will pass legal muster. More protection is needed !
on October 31,2013 | 05:10PM
kaiakea wrote:
Sooner or later we are going to wake up to the fact that with all our science, we still do not understand complex systems like the weather, the human body, and the environment. But in the meantime we are poisoning our planet and our people in the race for the Almighty Dollar.
on October 31,2013 | 05:22PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
I'm just glad this is not one of those divisive issues likes same sex marriage.
on October 31,2013 | 06:09PM
false wrote:
Kudos to Mayor Carvalho to standing your ground and doing what you feel is right! Bill was flawed from the get go.
on October 31,2013 | 06:19PM
Skyler wrote:
Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., how much kala your campaign get from these GMO clowns, eh? And wipe that smirk off yer face - you just whimped out, big-time.
on October 31,2013 | 07:23PM
niimi wrote:
Isn't Gojo supposed to really clean the grease of any hands?
on October 31,2013 | 07:52PM
holumuahawaii wrote:
Thank you, Mayor!
on October 31,2013 | 09:14PM
Mediocrates wrote:
Truly refreshing to see a local politician who is reliable. Once he is bought by the large agro-industries, he stays bought, even with a veto proof majority. Takes real heart. Good on you Carvalho, make you family proud.
on October 31,2013 | 10:47PM
HanabataDays wrote:
As Molly Ivins used to say, "You gotta dance with the one who brung ya"...
on November 1,2013 | 04:11AM
Wazdat wrote:
on November 1,2013 | 01:50AM
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