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Kauai Council passes anti-GMO, pesticides bill after long hearing

By Rosemarie Bernardo

LAST UPDATED: 03:19 p.m. HST, Oct 16, 2013

The Kauai County Council voted 6-1 to approve an amended bill that calls for mandatory disclosure of pesticides use and genetically modified crops by large agribusinesses on the island. 

Shortly after 3:30 a.m. today, the council approved Bill 2491 after a 14-hour discussion.

The bill requires disclosure of pesticides and GMOs by large agri-businesses. It also calls to implement buffer zones near schools, dwellings, medical facilities, public roadways and waterways. It takes effect in nine months.

The emotionally charged meeting reconvened Tuesday with the council chambers dominated by bill supporters who urged councilmembers to pass the bill, stating ample time has been given to vet the issue. Opponents backed Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.'s request for a two-month deferral to hold discussions with the state on enforcement of the bill's disclosure and buffer zone provisions.

"We have a major issue that is of a concern to this whole community," said Carvalho adding that he is working with state officials on the possibility to direct some of the responsbilities of the bill to the appropriate departments. "I'm not going to set ourselves up to fail," he said. 

Because of recent discussions with the Department of Agriculture concerning voluntary compliance by biotech companies, Carvalho sought a one-month deferral instead of a two-month deferral he initially requested in last week's council meeting.

Council Chairman Jay Furfaro said he's had conference calls with the Environmental Protection Agency and met with Agriculture Department Chairman Russell Kokubun. 

He praised the council's work on the bill since its introduction in June.

"For me, there's no logical reason to defer this bill anymore," said Furfaro. Bill supporters in the council chambers cheered and applauded after his statement.

He told the mayor he's confident he would do his best to work with the state to implement the bill's provisions but cast doubt on the state. 

Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura and Council Vice Chairwoman Nadine Nakamura, who will leave her seat at the end of the month to serve as the county's new managing director, co-introduced significant amendments to the bill.

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Honulove wrote:
Mahalo to the Kauai County Council and concerned citizens for their incredible dedication and tireless involvement in making the protection of residents, visitors and the environment a top priority,.....This afternoon Hawaii County will continue their meeting on Bill 113, which will ban any new gmo.
on October 16,2013 | 04:27AM
pcman wrote:
Good for them. The price of food will go sky-high thanks to their ignorance.
on October 16,2013 | 09:47AM
luna wrote:
You cannot put a price on good health. The $$ for organic food is comparable to GMO laden products in Hawaii, both expensive. There is a price to be paid for everything and there is a reason some "food" is cheap. We can concentrate on growing local, healthful food which has real value for Hawaii. A lot more sustainable and powerful than putting the control of our food in the hands of corporations.
on October 16,2013 | 10:33AM
Kauai is loaded with transplants, look at what went on at taylor camp, same kind people different era
on October 16,2013 | 04:21PM
Numilalocal wrote:
You got that right. And they evidently all have the time to protest and march while us locals gotta work...
on October 16,2013 | 06:22PM
yup already is and will get higher
on October 16,2013 | 04:19PM
poipoo wrote:
Hallelujah! Kauai leads the way, doing what's pono for Hawaii. I have a newfound respect for Hoosier because his actions speak loudly for the good of the 'aina and her inhabitants. Mahalo to the city council members who care for Hawaii.
on October 16,2013 | 05:03AM
Too_Much_Pilikia wrote:
Auwe! Here we go again. I've been part of the Hawaiian Agricultural scene for more than 35 years. Watched the sugar and pineapple industries go down under an avalanche of urban sprawl, ever increasing government regulations, crazy activists, and NIMBY newcomers. Good job to you wacky liberals and your emotional divide of our community, economy, and the sell off of our ag lands to newcomers who care nothing about our livelihoods . Aren't you proud now?.....No attention paid to the facts and 30 years of established science. Giving all of your all attention to stirring up the emotional frenzy of the uninformed. The existing laws put out by the EPA, Department of Ag, and Department of Health are already in the books. Just what we need to advance the sustainability of our agricultural base. To our politicians.....great news to outsiders wanting to do business in Hawaii. What a bunch of ignorant haters.
on October 16,2013 | 08:29AM
Kuihao wrote:
The demise of the sugar and pineapple industries had little to do with "urban sprawl, ever increasing government regulations, crazy activists, and NIMBY newcomers." You should be more worried about Monsanto et al. who care nothing about your livelihood or your health.
on October 16,2013 | 09:38AM
Publicbraddah wrote:
Yes, sugar and pineapple went by the wayside because it was produced cheaper elsewhere.
on October 16,2013 | 11:09AM
ValleyOhana wrote:
The demise of sugar was because it was produced cheaper elsewhere because unionized labor costs and the craddle to grave expectation that third world countries did not have to live up to.
on October 16,2013 | 01:07PM
copperwire9 wrote:
It's just labeling, pilikia.
on October 16,2013 | 09:38AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Good news for my Monsanto)(MON) stocks. A larger harvest means a robust profit for the farmer, and lower prices for consumers.
on October 16,2013 | 05:07AM
BluesBreaker wrote:
Auwe to the Kauai Council. Superstition triumphs over science on the Garden Island. Bill 2491 is a costly measure will require the County to defer action on real needs instead of spending millions on unsubstantiated claims and urban myths. Hawaii is already suffering from its anti-business attitude; it can now add anti-agriculture to its dubious resume.
on October 16,2013 | 06:07AM
leino wrote:
BB ... And why is "disclosure" so scary. Disclosure might have something to do with the truth and informed decisions.
on October 16,2013 | 07:04AM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
How is requiring big agribusiness to disclose what experimental pesticides they are spraying on the ground and into the air "superstition?" If you ever saw them spraying, you'd think they were the superstitious ones, because they're dressed in hazmat gear.
on October 16,2013 | 07:14AM
Wazdat wrote:
BB sorry but people's HEALTH is more important that PROFITS.
on October 16,2013 | 07:23AM
false wrote:
Yeah now let go build a rail for them.
on October 16,2013 | 03:53PM
cartwright wrote:
Good news, no the BEST news for real Kauai farmers! Good news for Kauai residents, visitors and tourist depending businesses. Hoosier for governor! Finally a man that listens to the voters and not the lobbyists.
on October 16,2013 | 06:20AM
Venus1 wrote:
Hoosier would be a great Governir!
on October 16,2013 | 06:42AM
Wazdat wrote:
YUP Hoosier would get my vote
on October 16,2013 | 07:23AM
johndoe wrote:
What??? What are the solutions to help farmers? This is a setback for farmers. Governor??? A little more creativity and out of the box thinking is needed to run a state.
on October 16,2013 | 10:34AM
Bdpapa wrote:
All Ag businesses should disclose what they use. Good first step Kauai.
on October 16,2013 | 06:33AM
Venus1 wrote:
Finally someone is looking out for the people and not caving to Monsanto!
on October 16,2013 | 06:41AM
Kaimukirat wrote:
A foolish law fueled by Mainland money and driven by clueless "believers" that want to impose their eco-religious beliefs on all the rest of us. Go ahead, Kauai, let these folks stampede you into ruining one of the few economic brights spots you have. But don't worry, you can always go back on welfare.
on October 16,2013 | 07:02AM
copperwire9 wrote:
Mean-spirited, condescending and inaccurate. Otherwise, a message of aloha.
on October 16,2013 | 07:12AM
Keith_Rollman wrote:
Kauai doesn't shoot itself in the foot...it aims at it's own head.
on October 16,2013 | 07:51AM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
So, where would rather live? Kauai or Oahu?
on October 16,2013 | 09:31AM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
Kaimukirat wrote: "A foolish law fueled by Mainland money..."

DO you have any idea how much money Monsanto and the other giant agribusiness corporations spend "lobbying" our lawmakers?

on October 16,2013 | 07:15AM
Wazdat wrote:
What a clueless comment.
on October 16,2013 | 07:24AM
Leinanij wrote:
Just because you don't have a Monsanto corn field next to your house in Kaimuki rat doesn't give you the right to to impose your money worshiping believes on the rest of us. Go ahead and eat your GMOs until you get cancer because you can always go back to saying you didn't know pesticides in your food would kill you.
on October 16,2013 | 08:16AM
Mediocrates wrote:
on October 16,2013 | 07:06AM
Tony91 wrote:
A sad victory for pseudo science and 19th century backwardness combined with a 21st century PR campaign. Imagine if this combo was around when cross-pollenation was invented.
on October 16,2013 | 07:07AM
luna wrote:
cross pollination and genetic modification are entirely different. backwardness is putting the profit of big chemical seed companies over the health of people and the planet. we no longer have blind faith in the EPA and corporate welfare state.
on October 16,2013 | 10:20AM
Wazdat wrote:
AWESOME NEWS. Go Kauai set the tone for the rest of the country !!!!!
on October 16,2013 | 07:22AM
Keith_Rollman wrote:
a return to the dark ages?
on October 16,2013 | 07:50AM
Eradication wrote:
Dark ages? Hardly. I would say Kauai is in the age of enlightenment. I hope the rest of the island chain rides the wave of dissent towards GMO and overuse of pesticides. Let those that want to ingest poison into their bodies and feed it to their babies do so somewhere else. Next step is to promote self-sustainment through home farming and buying locally. Kauai NO KA OI!!!!!!!!!
on October 16,2013 | 08:29AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
It's a good start. The people's voice is starting to be heard. More to go.
on October 16,2013 | 07:43AM
kiragirl wrote:
Hopefully Honolulu is next!
on October 16,2013 | 07:51AM
oahuresident wrote:
GMO has been around for 10,000 years. All current crops and livestock have been genetically modified from the original wild plants and animals. We could not feed the current world population without GMO. Kauai is apparently bent on driving out another source of jobs, and go on welfare like the people of Molokai.
on October 16,2013 | 07:59AM
Eradication wrote:
Artificial GMO to control the population for the purpose of making money has not been around for 10,000 years. When you eliminate the ability to grow your own food whoever controls the seeds controls the population. When your seeds can not reproduce you have to buy them from the people who control the GMO seeds. Roundup resistant seeds means you can spray more roundup on the plant which means you ingest it. Why is it that we are seeing more cancer related illness's? You are what you eat......The rest of the world already bans much of what exists in the U.S.
on October 16,2013 | 08:35AM
Too_Much_Pilikia wrote:
Ignorance of scientific fact is universal. No matter what the science says you will always be anti whatever. Your mind is just as polluted as the trash that comes out of your mouth. Cannot argue with ignorance.
on October 16,2013 | 09:04AM
luna wrote:
too_much, once you start the personal attacks as defense, you have lost the debate.
on October 16,2013 | 10:24AM
farmlovers wrote:
While hybridization has been around for quite some time, Genetic Modification has not. There is a great deal of energy and money spent by BioTech to make sure you and the rest of the American (world) public do not understand the difference. With gmo you are firing the genes of one species into the genetic make-up of another... creating unique proteins that are markers for cancer. There are tomatoes with salmon genes, corn with human genes, wheat with bacterial genes, etc. The body can't identify them and has difficulty breaking them down... allergies ensue.
on October 16,2013 | 09:03AM
oahuresident wrote:
Humans can and have eaten, digested, and have made use of almost every living species they have managed to farm, gather, hunt, or raise. I dont see what the issue is here with eating gmo foods.
on October 16,2013 | 09:16AM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
Once again, you are trying to equate selective breeding with recombinant DNA technology. They are NOT the same thing and trying to pretend they are is dishonest.

The first commercial cultivation of genetically modified plants was in 1996, not "10,000 years ago."

on October 16,2013 | 09:36AM
oahuresident wrote:
You and all the anti GMO people are making a fine distinction between foods that have been cultivated and genetically modified over centuries versus foods that have been that have been genetically modified using more recent techniques. Our history has shown that humans can eat and digest safely anything that lives, including poisonous plants and animals that are prepared properly. There is no responsible evidence that GMO foods are unsafe to eat.
on October 16,2013 | 07:37PM
hi96822 wrote:
Angry corporate hacks can spew disinformation all they want in comments sections like this but change is happening and its happening because people have had enough of the lies and destruction in the name of greed$.
on October 16,2013 | 09:12AM
kauailawyer wrote:
Just like the Superferry, who will want to do business on Kauai?!? And they listen to Walter Ritte? Kauai will be the next Molokai with rampant high unemployment and rampant public assistance.
on October 16,2013 | 09:20AM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
Kauai is doing quite well. Plenty of people want to visit and live on Kauai. The politicians aren't owned by developers like Oahu. Their roads are smooth and well maintained, and you can leave your surfboards on your car and have it be there when you come back.
on October 16,2013 | 09:55AM
Leinanij wrote:
Kaua'i is still paradise.
on October 16,2013 | 01:35PM
KMT wrote:
Kauai lawmakers dropped the ball on this one. A council defined by arrogance and ignorance. Spineless bureaucrats motivated by their own self interests and the will of good for nothing transplants who have no connection to the island. Talk about a banana republic.
on October 16,2013 | 09:28AM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
These politicians listened to the people instead of the demands of big agribusiness.

How is not bending to the wises of a giant billion dollar mainland corporation like Monsanto somehow losing connection to the island? Spineless bureaucrats motivated by their own self interest would have acted like the professional stooges in Oahu city council and the governor's office.

on October 16,2013 | 10:00AM
islandsun wrote:
Wright or wrong, good or bad. Kauai politicians listen to their people. Oahu politicians don't and wont.
on October 16,2013 | 01:17PM
Leinanij wrote:
We have to make them islandsun. Our keiki are depending on us.
on October 16,2013 | 01:36PM
islandsun wrote:
Heard the keiki argument before. In fact developers use that one all the time. Not so sure the ice wont be completely melted within 20 years. How about getting the politicians to do for us, for NOW.
on October 16,2013 | 05:55PM
h20dragon wrote:
Good first move but how about the herbicides that are used as weed killers?
on October 16,2013 | 10:03AM
LizKauai wrote:
on October 16,2013 | 10:54AM
SY808 wrote:
They don't need jobs on Kauai as long as they have their Mahalo Rewards Card!
on October 16,2013 | 10:58AM
Jmhata wrote:
Guess everybody needs to stop eating sweet corn and seedless watermelons as well as da papayas and rest of the food that has been modified! Auwe for those who are misinformed!-(
on October 16,2013 | 11:41AM
mamacita808 wrote:
Already don't eat any of that. Misinformed? I think not.
on October 16,2013 | 02:26PM
kuroiwaj wrote:
Now, which County Department and individual will be assigned the responsibility and operations for developing the administrative rules and procedures to conform to the legislation just approved. Will the Kauai County require a qualified individual or individuals on pesticides and GMO crops? Also, have a clear understanding of property rights? Well we shall see how Kauai County will make things Pono.
on October 16,2013 | 12:16PM
Kuokoa wrote:
When all the organic crops on Kauai fail because of diseases and pests, don't come to the other island to get food. Starve!
on October 16,2013 | 12:40PM
Leinanij wrote:
Shows how much (or very little) you know Kukoa. Monsanto farmers are experiencing severe crop damage from corn rootworm because they don't rotate their crops like organic farmers. So when Monsanto's farms fail because of diseases and pests, don't expect Kaua'i people to help you.
on October 16,2013 | 01:47PM
mamacita808 wrote:
I don't live on Kauai, but I totally agree with you Leinanij. If pesticides and GMO are all fine and dandy, then what is the problem with disclosure? Only people with something to hide have issues with that.
on October 16,2013 | 02:29PM
AmbienDaze wrote:
every poster above mentions Monsanto, but isn't Syngenta the big boogeyman on Kauai?
on October 16,2013 | 03:17PM
hi96822 wrote:
Not every poster here but yes, Monsanto the corporation has come to stand for the entire industry because it the largest and most dominant. More accurately they are known as The Big Six: The world's six largest seed/agrochemical/ biotech firms--BASF, Bayer, Dow Agrosciences, DuPont-Pioneer, Monsanto, and Syngenta. Monsanto is on Oʻahu, Molokaʻi and Maui but not on Kauaʻi. On Kauaʻi its Syngenta, DuPont-Pioneer, Dow and BASF.
on October 16,2013 | 04:45PM
Workingrl wrote:
Like it or not, most of the food in this country already contains GMO.
on October 16,2013 | 03:47PM
imuakauai wrote:
Mahalo Ke Akua, NOW we MUST CONTINUE AND MAKE gmo INTERNATIONALLY monitored or destroyed, as they have already done so to too many lands and peoples. While they snuck onto these islands, irregardless of taylor camp or transplantation ppls, most peoples werenʻt cognizant of the ʻthe good old boyʻ network or the otherwise corrupt nature of ALL the policy and procedures of government manipulations associated with the ʻbig sixʻ. If we think GMO is important, i advise that there are developing ISSUES revolving around WATER thatʻll whap u jaws. Mark my words, water will be the next hot topic, maybe right alongside of martial law, that will soon be coming to your hood. When the ships stop bringing needed kauaʻi items, are you prepared?
on October 16,2013 | 05:24PM
take a good look at Kauai. think your sooo smart, live green, live oranic , live natural... attitudes, generations were reared up on this big so called greedy westerners, but we survived, generation after generations, if you think this red group going solve anything after this, handing out money for rent, food, education think again. unemployment sky high, begging , homeless, solve that first. I like to know who was that one no vote on the counsel so I can shake his hand and vote him back in. where were this march when gas prices soared, more cars on the island with all kind u s license plates filling the roads causing more pollution and toxics then this so called gmo farners. keep Kauai Kauai yeah right, look again. no way Kauai is Kauai anymore, take a vote like u s citizens who is the counsel?, the people should vote on this not the loudess mouths.
on October 16,2013 | 06:42PM
einouye wrote:
Kauai has significantly changed in a generation. Its become a place where jobs that are not tourism related are hard to find. And owning a home is nearly impossible as the jobs that are there may not be enough to enable a family to afford a mortgage. Diversifying the economy with agriculture was something that brought dollars into the island economy and helped sustain jobs ranging from entry level to research professionals. Auwe to those who may need to now anticipate impacts from this bill on Ag. Auwe to those who misrepresent inferences as fodder for panic.
on October 16,2013 | 08:37PM
Jmhata wrote:
B.S Haoles that's why!
on October 23,2013 | 08:45AM
Jmhata wrote:
Then go back to where U came from !
on October 23,2013 | 08:51AM
Jmhata wrote:
Too many haoles on the island, now they think there locals and misinform the real hawaiians who live there!
on October 23,2013 | 08:52AM
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