When activists and others want to make a point, they're often very selective in the information they present, and omit.
A case in point is Bill 2501, which allows A&B and other users to temporarily keep their revocable water permits while the system is revamped. Activists roundly criticized both the Lege and gov for “selling out to corporate interests” and “abandoning East Maui farmers.”
But what they didn't mention was how the Lege appropriated $1.5 million for a grant program, administered by the Hawaii Agribusiness Development Corp., aimed at helping East Maui farmers improve their land to both accept the water that will be returned to eight streams and increase the profitability of their farms.
And when activists claimed that A&B is still “hogging” water, despite a court order requiring the company to restore the flow in those eight streams, they never mentioned that flows have been restored on three streams. But it was determined that restoring water to the other five streams could cause floods downstream, damaging farm land and structures. So the Lege allocated $3 million to improve state-owned land along the five stream beds to safely accommodate the restored flows.
What's more, the Lege allocated funds for two new positions so the state Department of Land and Natural Resources can establish the in-stream flow standards required for the Water Commission to allocate surface water. Though every stream in the state is supposed to be assessed, priority will be given to streams affected by revocable permits so the agency can process the longterm permit applications in a timely fashion.
Though activists have denounced biofuels, and the genetically engineered corn and soy that typically produce them, SciDev.Net reports that a laboratory study in Brazil has found that diesel made from soybeans is less toxic to human lungs than other fuels.
“Investing in research on biofuels is, without a doubt, a mid- or long-term solution to reduce emissions of toxic contaminants in the atmosphere and prevent disease,” says Solange Cristina García, a toxicologist at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, also in Brazil.
Though organic advocates decry the use of pesticides in conventional crops, and claim their products are healthier, they've failed to disclose that “organic pesticides pose the same health risks as nonorganic ones,” according to evolutionary biologist Christie Wilcox.
Take neem oil, which so many “natural” gardeners/farmers treat like holy water. But “the stuff is known to cause seizures and comas in humans if consumed in large doses, and it kills bumblebees at very low concentrations,” reports Henry I. Miller, a Stanford University physician and molecular biologist. He continues:
A 2012 report by researchers at Stanford University’s Center for Health Policy analyzed data from 237 studies to determine whether organic foods are safer or healthier than nonorganic foods. They concluded that fruits and vegetables that met the criteria for “organic” were on average no more nutritious than their far cheaper conventional counterparts, nor were those foods less likely to be contaminated by bacteria such as E. coli or salmonella.
What's more, “organic foods amounted to 7% of all food units recalled in 2015, even though organic farms account for only about 1% of agricultural acreage."
And finally, it seems like folks are always clamoring to pull up the drawbridge once they've settled in to a place. An example is yesterday's letter to the editor from Michael Wells of Moloaa:
Kauai has become a zoo with too many people and cars and too little infrastructure to handle the massive immigration of folks seeking a “better life.” Can’t we just take a break and put a moratorium on further development until the infrastructure can catch up?
But as the New York Times reported:
[A] growing body of economic literature suggests that anti-growth sentiment, when multiplied across countless unheralded local development battles, is a major factor in creating a stagnant and less equal American economy.
Unlike past decades, when people of different socioeconomic backgrounds tended to move to similar areas, today, less-skilled workers often go where jobs are scarcer but housing is cheap, instead of heading to places with the most promising job opportunities, according to research by Daniel Shoag, a professor of public policy at Harvard, and Peter Ganong, also of Harvard.
One reason they’re not migrating to places with better job prospects is that rich cities like San Francisco and Seattle have gotten so expensive that working-class people cannot afford to move there. Even if they could, there would not be much point, since whatever they gained in pay would be swallowed up by rent.
[W]hen zoning laws get out of hand, economists say, the damage to the American economy and society can be profound. Studies have shown that laws aimed at things like “maintaining neighborhood character” or limiting how many unrelated people can live together in the same house contribute to racial segregation and deeper class disparities. They also exacerbate inequality by restricting the housing supply in places where demand is greatest.
The lost opportunities for development may theoretically reduce the output of the United States economy by as much as $1.5 trillion a year, according to estimates in a recent paper by the economists Chang-Tai Hsieh and Enrico Moretti. Regardless of the actual gains in dollars that could be achieved if zoning laws were significantly cut back, the research on land-use restrictions highlights some of the consequences of giving local communities too much control over who is allowed to live there.
“You don’t want rules made entirely for people that have something, at the expense of people who don’t,” said Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.
Ironically, Councilman Gary Hooser, whose nonprofit HAPA was founded in part to address social inequity, has supported a moratorium on new development.