The failure of Hawaii's anti-GMO movement to gain political traction was confirmed yesterday by the death of the GMO labeling bill in the state Legislature.
Heady with success after Kauai County adopted its GMO/pesticide regulatory law, Molokai activist Walter Ritte proclaimed that labeling would be the next achievement. But even with the support of Rep. Jessica Wooley, a sympathetic legislator, the bill quickly died in the House Agriculture Committee she chairs.
Wooley used the controversial “gut and replace” technique to strip the language from an existing bill and replace it with the labeling language.
Anti-GMO activists and Kauai Councilman Gary Hooser have bitterly criticized other politicians who used this method. But they voiced no objections to Wooley's move, offering yet another example of how the movement has embraced hypocrisy and an “ends justify the means” philosophy.
Though Wooley revived the bill, she seemed to give little thought to how the bill might actually be implemented. Or perhaps her response to enforcement concerns raised by other committee members reflected her decision to join Gov. Abercrombie's administration as director of Office of Environmental Quality Control:
"If we want to try to move this forward, we cannot burden the state agencies with the enforcement aspect," Wooley replied.
No, we wouldn't want to do that, especially since enforcement has never been the state's forte — especially when it doesn't want to.
Meanwhile, the Division of State Parks has issued a notice of violation to Kelley McMillan, who wrote a dreadful piece about spending 10 days in Kalalau for Details magazine. Though the campground was already filled to capacity, McMillan had been granted a special use permit to spend two days and one night in the wilderness valley for media access.
But McMillan abused the privilege and overstayed, a selfish, irresponsible move that no doubt will make it harder for legitimate journalists to gain special permission in the future. Way to go, Kelley. Though McMillan probably won't ever be prosecuted for the offense, given that extradition is unlikely for a petty misdemeanor, perhaps a warrant could be issued so that McMillan can't return to Kauai without risking arrest.
In other news, Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. has officially filed for re-election that he is certain to achieve, given that he remains popular and faces no credible competition — another indication that anti-GMO activists are unlikely to influence Kauai County elections, even though the "Babes" vowed to remove him from office.
The Council race will be the one to watch, with a number of viable political newcomers eying a run. They include Arryl Kaneshiro, a young up-and-comer who works for Grove Farm, and Police Chief Darryl Perry, who can run without relinquishing his top job at KPD.
Curiously, Counciman Mel Rapozo is the only incumbent who had even taken out papers, as of yesterday. It will be interesting to see whether Councilman Tim Bynum seeks re-election after settling his lawsuit against the county, and if Gary Hooser runs again or moves on to livelier pastures.
And finally, the chem companies filed another round of reports on their use of restricted use pesticides through February. Though Kauai Coffee reported no RUP use in January, it did apply some last month.