EPA regional director Alexis Strauss yesterday indicated that her agency is soon to lower the boom on Syngenta over an incident in which workers entered a field too soon after it had been sprayed with chlorpyrifos.
“Hawaii is a particular focus for our pesticide interests, and we have been actively investigating an event that occurred in January on Kauai and are going to see that through to a very significant conclusion shortly,” Strauss told Beth-Ann Kozlovich during an interview on HPR's The Conversation.
Unfortunately, Beth-Ann didn't ask why Hawaii is a particular focus, considering Strauss' region includes California, with its much higher pesticide use. But one can only assume that Earthjustice has played a part, with its constant complaints and requests for the agency's intervention.
It's fine if EPA is getting involved in Hawaii for legitimate health and safety issues. But it's not so fine if it's being driven by Earthjustice's anti-GMO/anti-ag agenda, as evidence by the group's legal actions, which are directed solely against agriculture, specifically the seed companies, even though pest control companies use far more — and much more hazardous — pesticides.
No doubt Earthjustice will use the EPA's action against Syngenta to further spread its false narrative of seed companies as poisoners and itself as savior. We already saw that on March 11, when Earthjustice, HAPA, Hawaii Seed, the Pesticide Action Network and the MOM Hui called upon the EPA to investigate the incident, with EJ's Paul Achitoff using his usual flamingly deceptive rhetoric:
"Time and again, Hawaii authorities have turned their back on Hawaii’s residents and farmworkers in favor of agrochemical companies.We have no confidence that an investigation by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture will get to the bottom of this incident, or take measures to ensure these poisonings stop.”
In fact, the state Department of Agriculture had already referred the investigation to the EPA, which Achitoff knew. But these groups are all about making themselves look good — keep the donations coming — while pissing on the DOA and lying their asses off.
So what kind of agricultural future do these groups envision? An answer is provided by the Center for Food Safety — an Earthjustice/HAPA co-conspirator — which posted this:
The answer, as they see it, is agroecology — organic production – produced in some sort of communal fashion. With forced labor, since no one is actually stepping up to farm? As the article notes, “Agroecology needs socialism.”
What's rather ironic is that these anti-GMO and anti-“industrial” ag groups are financed almost entirely by foundations endowed with corporate profits achieved by capitalists.
Make no mistake — the anti groups in Hawaii are using an attack against agriculture to advance a specific political agenda. Which explains their next shindig:
AS CFS proclaimed: “Let's build a more just, fair and healthy future for Hawaiʻi – together!”
In another irony, they're closely aligned with the tourism industry through the AIKEA Movement and Local 5, the hotel workers' union. Like mass tourism is fair, just and healthy?
Luke Evslin offers a different perspective of tourism in a thoughtful column that was excellent save for its publication on the crappy Civil Beat site. Luke asks, as I did 10 days ago, why the sustainability folks and politicians (aside from Billy Kenoi) are mum about the impacts of uncontrolled tourism. It's definitely worth a read.
While on the site, I noticed Civil Beat had written about how candidates are being inundated with surveys trying to assess where they stand on specific issues. Nathan Eagle interviewed Maui Rep. Kaniela Ing, darling of the antis, before writing:
Ing fended off Deidre Tegarden in the August primary despite her support from interest groups who donated thousands of dollars to her campaign.
Like Ing didn't also receive thousands of dollars from special interest groups?
I sent Nathan the relevant campaign contribution reports — here, here and here — since he was obviously too lazy to go look for himself. But the really funny part came when Ing spouted this platitude:
“I don’t mind the pressure. That’s what this job should be about — being accountable.”
That's rich coming from someone who failed to insure his vehicle, blew off a court appearance on the citation and then lied and made excuses when he was charged with contempt of court, resulting in a warrant being issued for his arrest.
Yeah, Kaniela, show us some of that accountability. Bring it!
Equally ridiculous was a comment that anti-GMO/anti-sugar activist Karen Chun left on Luke's column:
So she doesnt want ag or tourism. Well, that's fine for someone who is living off her Mama's money. But it's not so great for people who actually need a functioning economy and the jobs it provides to survive.
And finally, commenters on this site often cite Europe's rejection of GMOs to bolster their anti stance. So I took note when that point was addressed by Sir Richard Roberts, an English biochemist and molecular biologist who was one the 100+ Nobel Laureates who signed the letter supporting precision agriculture and GMOs:
When GMOs were first introduced into Europe, Monsanto benefitted handsomely, the farmers benefitted a little and there was nothing in it for the consumers other than a slight price increase.
Since Europe didn’t need GMOs and in general were suspicious of big agri-business, it became easy for Green parties, notably Greenpeace, to conflate the two issues, which they did.
They could be against GMOs, arguing it would hurt Monsanto, and at the same time they could make the case for saving Europe by scaring everyone with stories of disasters that might ensue from the widespread use of GMOs.
It worked and was hugely profitable to Greenpeace both in terms of fundraising and gaining political power. And best of all, there was no real cost to the European consumer.
It was such a good model that groups like Earthjustice, CFS, Hawaii SEED, HAPA, PAN, etc. picked it up.
And so the fear-mongering and fundraising march on.