And the state isn't enforcing, according to Gary Gill, state deputy health director, because the Legislature isn't providing sufficient funding.
The Lege isn't allocating funding because so many of its members receive campaign contributions from the biotech industry, support chemical ag, have other priorities, don't think it's a problem, etc.
Bill 2491 would have Kauai County pick up the slack instead.
In response, Council Chair Jay Furfaro says it will cost about $4.4 million the first two years, and an additional $911,000 to monitor annually after that. County Engineer Larry Dill says it will require a staff of eight, and new training for those workers.
Gary Hooser and his co-sponsor, Councilman Tim Bynum say no, we want it done with minimal funding. Two workers should be sufficient.
Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura wonders if public works can handle it period, “because they have no expertise and the county is unable to even properly regulate things within their proper expertise, like vacation rentals.”
And that giant screw up happened even when the Council was willing to give planning as much money and staff as was needed to properly implement the law.
So if we give public works just a quarter of what it says is needed, aren't we setting the law up for failure from the start? Won't that pave the way for the Administration to return to Council one day in the near future, when people are pissed because nothing has been done, and say, hey, we couldn't implement/enforce because we didn't have the funding?
Meanwhile, the chemical companies keep digging their hole deeper, playing the clam-up, no compromises game. They're apparently putting all their faith in their lawyers to kill anything that gets passed.
But the Dow Agrosciences manager did make an interesting revelation in response to questioning from JoAnn. It seems Dow only farms downwind of its “legacy village” — it took me a few minutes to realize that's the new euphemism for plantation camp — and it maintains windbreaks to protect camp residents from drift and dust. “We don't farm where there are houses,” Dow's Keith Horton said, noting that fields around the camp are intentionally not cultivated or sprayed.
OK, so if Dow is actively working to keep its camp residents from being dusted and dosed, don't the folks living around the Syngenta and DuPont-Pioneer fields deserve the same consideration?
Kirby Kester of BASF also admitted the chem companies were talking about possibly using drift monitors or sensor strips to determine when, where and how drift is occurring, though Syngenta's Mark Phillipson didn't seem too keen on that idea.
That sounds like a pretty cheap and easy place to start if you truly do “want to determine if it [drift] is in fact occurring,” as Pioneer's Cindy Goldstein claimed.
Cindy also acknowledged that vegetative buffers “could work,” while saying the company had taken down at least one row of trees in response to complaints from residents about lost views. Kirby said dust screens were another possible option.
All four chemical companies flat out denied growing biopharmaceutical crops now or in the past 10 years.
Though it's hard to believe them, especially when trust is in such scarce supply these days.
On another note, Dr. Don Huber, the internationally recognized plant pathologist who apparently was flown in by GMO Free Kauai, spoke about the dangerous effect of glyphosate (Roudup) on both people and the soil. Part of the problem lies in the fact that it is “indiscriminately used,” he said.
We've noticed. That's why some of us wanted 2491 to address Roundup use, especially by the county, which sprays it in areas that are heavily used by the public and children, including parks, sports fields, roadsides and the coastal Path, and especially by the chemical companies, which are primarily growing crops resistant to the stuff.
But that fight has been postponed for another day.
Meanwhile, as Huber noted: “It's not what we do [know] as much as what we don't know, and that's why the precautionary principle becomes critical.”