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Kauai Council to consider overriding mayor's veto of pesticide, GMO bill

By Rosemarie Bernardo

LAST UPDATED: 2:13 p.m. HST, Nov 7, 2013

The Kauai County Council has scheduled a meeting to consider whether to accept or override Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.'s veto of Bill 2491, which would put in place various requirements tied to disclosures about large-scale pesticide use and farming of genetically modified crops. 

The meeting will be held on Nov. 14. The bill will become county ordinance if five of the council's six members vote in favor of an override. 

Citing legal concerns, Carvalho vetoed the measure on Oct. 31. In a letter to the council, he maintained that state and federal governance preempts the county from enacting laws to regulate pesticides and genetically modified crops. His decision outraged bill supporters who say the measure is needed to protect human health and the environment from pesticide exposure, and more closely monitor the agricultural production of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). 

In the aftermath of the veto, the council has 30 days to accept the move or override it. 

Bill 2491 requires large agribusinesses operating on Kauai to disclose the types of pesticides they spray on fields. Among its other requirements is implementation of buffer zones near schools, dwellings, medical facilities, public roadways and waterways.

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