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Kauai Council overrides mayor's veto of anti-pesticide, GMO bill

By Rosemarie Bernardo

LAST UPDATED: 01:28 a.m. HST, Nov 17, 2013

The Kauai County Council voted 5-2 Saturday to override Mayor Bernard Carvalho's veto of a controversial bill that would require large farms to disclose pesticide use and growth of genetically modified crops.

The bill now becomes law and will take effect in nine months.

Lawsuits are expected to be filed by biotech companies to challenge the new law.

Attorney Paul Alston, who represents agribusiness Syngeta, said, "There will definitely be a lawsuit." 

He called the process the Council followed to override the mayor's veto "deeply troubling and suspect."

Councilmen Mel Rapozo and Ross Kagawa voted no. The newest member of the council, Mason Chock, voted yes, along with Council Chairman Jay Furfaro, and Councilmembers Gary Hooser, Tim Bynum and JoAnn Yuki-mura.

Chock was just appointed Friday to replace former Vice Chairwoman Nadine Nakamura, who resigned Oct. 31 to serve as the county's managing director.

In a statement after the vote, Carvalho said, "Of course we will honor the Council's decision and I will continue to work with my departments to determine how we will implement this new law, which is scheduled to take effect in nine months."

Bill 2491 would require mandatory disclosure of pesticides they use to spray on their fields and genetically modified crops by large agribusinesses. Affected companies are Syngeta, DuPont Pioneer, Dow AgroSciences, BASF as well as Kauai Coffee, the largest coffee grower in the state.

Advocates said the measure is needed to protect public health and the island's environment. Opponents of Bill 2491 contend it's legally flawed and puts the county at risk with legal challenges.

The Council voted 6-1 in October to approve the bill. Carvalho vetoed it citing legal concerns. The mayor said the state and federal government preempts the county from enacting laws on pesticide use and GMOs.

Hooser and Bynum co-introduced the bill because of inaction from the state to address concerns of pesticide exposure.

On Wednesday, state officials announced they had completed guidelines for a voluntary compliance program for agribusinesses on Kauai. Guidelines in the Kauai Agricultural Good Neighbor Program include voluntary compliance of pesticide use and buffer zones but the guidelines are not as stringent as the provisions in Bill 2491.

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geeknews wrote:
Well there goes agribusiness in Kauai. People are so stupid.
on November 16,2013 | 11:55AM
Waimanalodayz1 wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on November 16,2013 | 11:59AM
wiliki wrote:
Baloney... you know what you're eating? Now what's so smart about that?
on November 16,2013 | 12:14PM
serious wrote:
Just look back for the past 12 months--all the food recalls--ORGANIC foods all!!! Let's banish them!! But having said that, the Council listened to the people right or wrong. How come it didn't work here for the same sex marriages???? Must have better acoustics in Kauai???
on November 16,2013 | 12:30PM
false wrote:
Naw, just more loud mouthed mainland agitators in Kauai.
on November 16,2013 | 01:26PM
copperwire9 wrote:
Of course you planned for that comment to be as offensive as it is. Congratulations, or something.
on November 16,2013 | 02:54PM
hi96822 wrote:
the bill focuses on pesticide use--
on November 16,2013 | 12:41PM
BourneHawaii wrote:
I agree. There are positives and negatives on the use of pesticides in agriculture. Other issues that are brought up are smoke screens that miss the point with twisted views. Pesticides aside, if you haven't eaten for days or weeks, does it really matter? But we live in a land of plenty, so we can afford to be choosy.
on November 16,2013 | 01:28PM
Bdpapa wrote:
I like that. But it should be for all ag businesses, big or small.
on November 16,2013 | 05:14PM
BluesBreaker wrote:
This bill won't tell you that.
on November 16,2013 | 03:37PM
Venus1 wrote:
The truth... Kauai just showed the world how Democracy works!
on November 16,2013 | 04:58PM
einouye wrote:
Kauai just showed that there needed to be a last minute wild card thrown into the hand to win the game.
on November 16,2013 | 07:45PM
Waimanalodayz1 wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on November 16,2013 | 11:58AM
BluesBreaker wrote:
Carvalho's annual salary is $114,490. The lowest paid mayor in the state.
on November 16,2013 | 03:42PM
Honulove wrote:
Hope you are right geeknews......now it's time for AgriCULTURE on Kauai...let's grow some food on the GARDEN Isle.
on November 16,2013 | 12:05PM
kiragirl wrote:
Is Honolulu next?
on November 16,2013 | 12:08PM
thruther wrote:
No; all our Council Members are in bed with Big Money.
on November 16,2013 | 04:45PM
wiliki wrote:
I guess the Council still has time to rescind the law before it takes effect. But large companies will probably sue the Country in the mean time.
on November 16,2013 | 12:11PM
bigislandkurt wrote:
Kauai is not called the garden isle for nothing. It is abundant and capable to being a leader in the new model of agribusiness. Hopefully this new model can make money And save da 'aina. The old model only made money. Poison the 'aina. Good for Kauai. Meanwhile in Hilo....
on November 16,2013 | 12:19PM
izdatso wrote:
LOL. A new model. Organic utopia. ok. obviously you one other romantic mythologist. Farmers flocking to work for free, sharing da lans bounty in one large happy pesticide free commune. Works until da next new insect pest comes in (likely in a container of Whole Foods produce from Peru) an wipes out da heirloom tomatoes in Hanalei. So sad. bigislandkurt is another braddah who nevah farm. People- ask yourselves why was there no organic utopia on Kauai already? Economics! Non farmers no understand dat it takes money to buy flannel shirts too. Farmers need to make money. Good luck Kauai.
on November 17,2013 | 06:41AM
islandsun wrote:
What's so bad about disclosure. Seems only fair. At least Kauai voters control the agenda. Oahu will be all concrete soon.
on November 16,2013 | 12:26PM
Skyler wrote:
Sad but true.
on November 16,2013 | 03:49PM
aomohoa wrote:
I agree completely.
on November 16,2013 | 08:20PM
Tipops wrote:
God bless the council on this one!
on November 16,2013 | 01:32PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
They're just wasting time, effort and money. The state and federal government or AG companies will likely sue them in court and win.
on November 16,2013 | 02:28PM
BluesBreaker wrote:
The council members who passed this bill after the county attorney told them it would be overturned in court should be recalled.
on November 16,2013 | 03:45PM
thruther wrote:
They should be commended for representing the people they serve; for being free thinkers and not simply rubber stamping a worthless lawyer's interpretation.
on November 16,2013 | 04:44PM
Tipops wrote:
serious - same sex bill was personally driven through by our ONE TERM useless governor.
on November 16,2013 | 01:34PM
bodysurf_ah wrote:
hahaha, dont mess with kauai
on November 16,2013 | 01:49PM
Wazdat wrote:
Nice to see elected leaders taking a STAND for the aina and not SELING OUT. Wish our elected leaders on oahu had some b@lls.
on November 16,2013 | 02:16PM
aomohoa wrote:
Sad, but it will never happen. It's all about the money here.
on November 16,2013 | 08:21PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
Hooser likes to challenge the State doesn't he. First he killed the Super Ferry with selfish protests about Oahu people bringing their cars to drive to Kauai beaches, now he wants to drive all the AG companies out of business because they're trying to develop better crops. Kauai apparently wants only the good and none of the bad of being part of this state. The Selfish folks over there should pay for their own roads, schools and other state funded services. It's not the county's place to say what AG companies can and cannot do, I guess they need a judge to put them in their place. They know what their doing is illegal but just like they did with the super ferry ... that won't stop them. They'll protest and threaten until the offending companies leave the island.
on November 16,2013 | 02:25PM
copperwire9 wrote:
Ahem! You do know, I hope, that the bill only asked for labeling? And for a safe, pesticide-free zone around schools and hospitals? So people could decide for themselves whether they want to eat GMO food or not? And reducing the number of times keiki and teachers have to go to the hospital when they're overcome by toxic fumes? (By the way, Gary didn't kill the Superferry, but you know that too. Lingle trying to do an end-run around the state's own laws did that.)
on November 16,2013 | 02:59PM
BluesBreaker wrote:
Bill 2491 had nothing to do with labeling. Nothing. No keiki and teachers from WCMS went to the hospital because of pesticides. The UH study that anti-GMO extremists forced the county to conduct at the school concluded the noxious fumes were from stinkweed. Granted, it shouldn't have plowed up near a school when students were present, but it didn't have anything to do with pesticide spraying as some would have us believe.
on November 16,2013 | 03:51PM
sistasesh wrote:
the study was done way later, not while the Pesticide Chemical Company was actively spraying upwind as the kids were overcome by the drift and started throwing up! They did go to the Hospital. Do you go to the hospital when you cut a stinkweed?
on November 16,2013 | 06:52PM
izdatso wrote:
FAIL! Read a bit Copperwire9. Den get back to us. AUWE
on November 17,2013 | 06:42AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
It's a good start.
on November 16,2013 | 03:07PM
Skyler wrote:
Awesome news for Kauai! Congrats.
on November 16,2013 | 03:47PM
Jmhata wrote:
If people only new instead of jumping to conclusions, Why do we have a Dept.f Agriculture they are their to moniter pesticide use, why does the Kauai City council want to get involved with this they should know better instead they listen to the Dummies!
on November 16,2013 | 03:52PM
thruther wrote:
You're kidding aren't you? Yeah, you got to be kidding.
on November 16,2013 | 04:42PM
the joke is on the 5 that voted override, they will never get the companies to give in, whos going to stop them, whos going into the fields to watch them, only the watch dogs. Nothings going to change, good luck
on November 16,2013 | 03:55PM
Meleana22 wrote:
Quote from Mark Twain "Always do right. This will surprise some people and astonish the rest,"
on November 16,2013 | 03:56PM
slacker47 wrote:
Congrats on your veto override,Kauia! It is nice to know what is in the foods we eat,and we can make choices about our health. Sounds like your mayor is a gutless buffoon,and perhaps he hangs out with Toront's major.
on November 16,2013 | 04:46PM
izdatso wrote:
Nuttin to do about labelling brah. At least when he's sober da mayor of T.O. knows what he's talking about. Was your excuse?
on November 17,2013 | 06:44AM
slacker47 wrote:
oops---Toronto's mayor
on November 16,2013 | 04:50PM
whs1966 wrote:
So the governor is implementing voluntary guidelines. What a joke!
on November 16,2013 | 04:58PM
marc_collins wrote:
What if the Mayor now double-dog-vetos this override? Pardon my ignorance of this process...
on November 16,2013 | 07:19PM
izdatso wrote:
den Hooser would pull a leaf outta Robert Mugabe's book, tweak da rules of DEMOCRACY, an ram a bad law up da constituents okele 'cause he knows best!
on November 17,2013 | 06:50AM
leino wrote:
Power to the people with legitimate concerns. Big bucks could not buy this vote. They spent approximately 30 million in Washington and won a no labeling bill by one percent. International/multi-national-industrial-ago giants have a huge PR problem on their hands. They are getting a lot of push back for being too powerful and the politicians who want to get elected may have to listen to the public that elects them. I'll take my natural gene sequences stirred gently over the course of time for some valuable variables ... not in a laboratory.
on November 17,2013 | 06:47AM
izdatso wrote:
Ahhh. Natural selectionist. So. You ok when da next ringspot virus-like threat comes in and starts taking down a serious crop like rice? Or a new rust threatens da world's wheat supply and der's no "natural" variability to protect us? You would be prepared to let us all go down even though we can use our God given brains to develop technology to save us? Are you vaccinated? Or are you hoping your "natural" packet of gene's will protect you against polio, or diptherea, whooping cough, tetanus or scarlet fever? Check your arm now! Then look up the definition of "hypocrite" in da Websters......den go watch HGTV.
on November 17,2013 | 07:27AM
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