Monday, August 5, 2013

Bill 2491: Round One

Kauai County Council members today publicly weighed in on Bill 2491, the pesticide/GMO bill, with a majority making it clear the measure will not pass in its current form.

Attorneys for the chemical/seed companies also made it clear that a lawsuit is a given, especially if the proposed EIS and moratorium are adopted.

Councilman Gary Hooser, who introduced the bill, said the Council has never had a public hearing with as many people or as much testimony as this one. “It's unfortunate it has to come to a jobs vs health issue, and I don't see it like that.” The bill was “drafted specifically not to impact the industry or create an significant disruption whatsoever.” He said many doctors and nurses have spoken in favor of the bill, including the state health officers for Kauai and Maui, who testified in a personal capacity. 

“Both sides have exaggerated and misled people,” he said.

Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura said, “I support and agree with the intention of 2491, which is to inform and protect the public and natural environment,” and she thinks everyone on Kauai would agree with it. “However, we know that good intentions are only the start. Without effective provisions in the law that will stand up in court, we'll get nowhere.” She said the Council needs to work on a bill that “does not cause significant unintended consequences and that do not harm individuals or organizations unjustly. We need to look at what the impacts of what this bill will be.”

JoAnn went on to say she is still going through 2,000-plus emails, and while she expects a form of the bill to pass, “there's still a lot of work to do. It's a very complex bill with multiple facets.”

She also urged people to “please exercise real aloha here. There's tremendous intimidation going on here,” with small farmers being trashed by false information posted on Facebook, Yelp and elsewhere because they spoke out against the bill. Others won't speak up because they're afraid of being targeted.

This is not what a democracy is about and that is not what our community is about,” she said. “It's happening on both sides.” She urged “the caring majority” to speak out against the bullying.


First-term Councilman Ross Kagawa, who has been reviled by some for his stance against the bill, started by saying “I feel very loved by all.” He hails from the westside and has friends on both sides of the issue. Ross said it is a state and federal responsibility to deal with pesticides and the ag industry, and if state health officers and others are concerned, they should be talking to the state and federal officials who oversee these activities. 

“I don't believe they're all corrupt when it comes to protecting people's health and safety," Ross said. "I believe they'll do the right thing.” He said the county has enough trouble taking care of its own responsibilities without picking up state and federal functions, too.

Councilman Mel Rapozo said, “I don't remember a more divisive issue on this island, as far as the emotions that are running on this issue.” He has been receiving 200 to 400 emails per day, as well as phone calls, “many of them unpleasant. People who don't even know me are accusing me of selling out.” He said it isn't reasonable to expect the Council to get up to speed on the issue in a few months. 

“We have the responsibility of sorting out the testimony, the emotions from the facts," Mel said. Doctors are saying they're seeing “all this happening on the westside, but we don't know what the causes are. I'm interested in finding out what those causes are.” 

The Council also needs to keep the end goal in mind, which is adopting a law that can be enforced, he said. “The seed companies need to step it up, too, and make the community feel safe.”

Mel went on to say the Council is “getting inundated by emails …. from all over the world about banning GMOs. It's not a banning GMO bill.”

Councilwoman Nadine Nakamura said she hadn't been planning to make a statement, but “I would like to echo everything Mel said.”

Councilman Tim Bynum, who co-sponsored the bill, said he's spent the last 10 years getting educated about pesticides and GMOs. He said the chemical/seed companies are not engaging in production agriculture because they don't produce a commodity that's sold. “It's agricultural research practices, which are entirely different.” While he has “no doubt they put safety first” because the companies are run by scientists, and “they're very meticulous,” research fields are sprayed two or three times more frequently than production ag fields.

What would you say if I told you they were spraying on Kauai 240 days out of the year?” Tim also said that kamaaina ag producers are being kicked off the land in favor of seed companies. This is the most important bill that's ever come before Kauai," he said, urging people to get involved.

Council Chair Jay Furfaro said, “I see myself as an exceptional steward of this place,” and he does it for his grandchildren and future generations. “Let's have an open dialogue and know that there are restrictions within the political subdivisions of Kauai that limits what we can do.”

The Council, meeting in committee, then questioned attorneys for Pioneer and Syngenta, as well as Earthjustice attorney Paul Achitoff. The private attorneys said the bill would be tossed out because some provisions are ambiguous and vague and others constitute an illegal taking. Paul disagreed, and said the U.S. Supreme Court “decided 30 years ago that counties do have the right to enact ordinances that restrict pesticide uses.”

Pioneer attorney John Hoshibata said, “The moratorium is going to kill the seed companies, and that's clear as day.”

Added Syngenta attorney Paul Alston, “Bear in mind it won't destroy Pioneer and Syngenta. It will destroy Kauai as a viable location for these kinds of activities.”

The bill states, “There shall be a temporary moratorium on the experimental use and commercial production of genetically modified organisms until such time as the County of Kaua’i has conducted a complete Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the health, environmental, and other effects of the production, propagation, or development of genetically modified organisms within the County. The moratorium will further continue until the County has developed and put into place a permitting process sufficient to protect the residents and environment of the County of Kaua’i from any significant effects that may be identified in the Environmental Impact Statement.”

Nadine said she has requested an opinion from the state Attorney General.

I just wish we could do this without going to court,” Mel said, noting that Kauai shouldn't be the vehicle for deciding case law on this issue.

We don't have a pot of gold to really challenge the laws and go through a long court battle,” Ross said.


Anonymous said...

The bill was “drafted specifically not to impact the industry or create an significant disruption whatsoever.”

Then why did Gary put the moratorium in there?

Anonymous said...

“We don't have a pot of gold to really challenge the laws and go through a long court battle,” Ross said.

yet in a recent TGi article,

"To Kagawa, the council cannot worry whether it would be cost-effective to the public to settle the case."

hmmm, priorities I suppose.

Anonymous said...

Hello, ross. This is being done because the nation and the state are NOT protecting us. The county is our last and only hope. Joann, none of these companies worried about protecting any of the things that you claim to hold dear. We will take care of our people. They will not. Mel, you have had time to fully understand what is going on. You guys are about to make a little headway on the most important issue of our time. For god's sake, don't use this time to figure out how to take care of the evil monsters who have us in their grip.

Anonymous said...

the people who run the plantation must be right

Anonymous said...

If the rest of these dirty corrupt council members don't want to support this bill then have a open signature petition for the people who want this bill to pass.

Roughly only 20k or so on Kauai vote so let the people have a say in this by offering a way for people to voice their opinion.

Give the people the power of choice.

If not then let us petition for the EPA and other environmental agencies to test these GMO sites. I believe that Kauai will be able to sue these GMO companies for poisoning Kauai, the people, land, water, and air. They have one out and their only out is to blame the sugar plantations.

100 Billion dollar lawsuit!

Anonymous said...

"let us petition for the EPA and other environmental agencies to test these GMO sites"

What are you waiting for?

What makes you think a majority of Kauaians support this bill? I've got news for you. They don't. They know it is a stupid waste of time and money. Hooser panders to the anti-GMO crazies.

Anonymous said...

Right on

Anonymous said...

This bill will probably pass but not in its current form. The horse trading now starts. We'll get a watered down version. How much so is the key. However the die has been cast and the chemical companies have been put on notice. You can bet they are already considering where to move their operations to next. I'm ok with that because I believe there are a multitude of alternative industry and job options that could and should be developed on the westside including real Ag that directly feeds people on Kauai and neighbor islands.

Anonymous said...

Good to see Paul Alston back on Kauai. He was Peter Guber's henchman who helped get Papaa Bay access permanently closed, well him and some serious bungling by the county attorney's office. His firm also represented Jimmy Pflueger for the Pilaa floods. Not surprising at all he's representing Syngenta. He's a tree-hugger.

Anonymous said...

Big Ag will stay. Big ag and Kauai citizens realize this bill is baloney.
The island realizes Gary is only positioning to be Mayor and Tim loves the limelight.
Kauai is fortunate to have some council people who remain calm enough to research the facts on Herbicides, and not allow themselves to be swallowed up in hyper-ventilating hysteria.

Anonymous said...

I thought ʻmostʻ of the council members asked good questions of the experts.
I see there is one council person who struggles a lot with interpreting basic sentences but other than that the questions were spot-on.
One council person always seems to want to defer defer defer to some other agency or authority; if he has such a difficult time recognizing the duties he is responsible for, right in front of him, then why did he ever run for council? Oh wait, this is the same guy that was seen ʻstrategizingʻ with the pro-chemical people on breaks getting lots of back-slaps.

Anonymous said...

ʻBig agʻ is most likely a big dinosaur on its way out the door and these are some of its last moans and groans.

Noticed a lot of midwesterner transplants talking about what they think is good for Hawaii.

Anonymous said...

Conflicting testimony about the legality of the bill and the science. Difficult issues that should be given due deliberation.

Anonymous said...

Tim Bynum's lawyer, Marjorie Bronster, says don't pass this bill because it's illegal. Hey Tim, does she lack credibility regarding all issues (including your lawsuit) or just this one?

Anonymous said...

I didnʻt think the testimony was conflicting at all.

It seemed pretty cut and dry.
Achitoffʻs responses were clear and concise. He didnʻt waffle like those other two attorneys.

Anonymous said...

I was not impressed with Bronsterʻs lawyering skills.
It seemed liked she was winging it and could away it because, gee, weʻre all not as smart as her.
If she was my lawyer and I heard her demo the other day, I run for the hills.

Anonymous said...

@8:30 am. As opposed to the north shore transplants telling us what's good for Kauai?

Anonymous said...

Thereʻs a lot over there too.

Anonymous said...

I am not happy with GMO corn fields adjacent to our home. I am also uncomfortable with the herbicide , pesticide applications to these fields. But what breaks my heart is the potential loss of 600 jobs on the west side of kauai where opportunities are limited the lifestyle is simpler but the hearts of our west side natives warmer. Seed companies please try to improve on your policy and procedures of pesticide application. And education of personal protective equipment for the farm workers. As well as company policy and protocol to help shield the residents from dangerous toxins and chemicals.

Anonymous said...

Right on! If the seed companies are such good neighbors, what's the harm in protective zones where pesticides and dust from the GMO fields won't drift into homes and schools? Or telling your neighbor what you're spraying? Why is that a big secret?

Anonymous said...

Looks like the antiGMO crowd did nothing but create a divided island. Are you happy now?

Anonymous said...

3:54 am---yes, i am happy! It's not a divide that is being created---it's a debate and a good one at that! Hey, why can't we be truthful about what we think---it doesn't make me get angry at those who disagree with me! It just makes me want to work harder at my attempts to put out what i think are the facts, and maybe i can make people more aware of what i believe are facts! Let the debate continue, let the truths be in the open and let those who want to speak,----no need get mad with those who don't agree with you!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the total acreage being used by seed companies on the west side?

Anonymous said...

I wonder what the Vidinha soccer field looks like after all the field workers trucks parked over there.

Anonymous said...

An island vote would be a good idea. If the attendance represents about 2-3 % of Kauai population, go figure.

Anonymous said...

It is extremely difficult to understand the ramifications of GM food technology. Even those in the biotech field are just "experimenting" to see what happens. One would need degrees in biology, physiology, chemistry, biochemistry and medicine to understand all of it.

But we can all understand the chemicals are not healthy. Paraquat on Kauai coffee will not sell more coffee, nor is it healthy for the neighborhood when drift can occur for a mile.

This is not about jobs. This is the "smoke and mirrors" to get off the subject of Health.

It is reasonable to know what chemicals are sprayed, how they affect the environment, and children' health. If you heard the testimony of the State and the Department of Health......they "no can" because the "no have money" to do so. Waiting for the State to do something is waiting in vain.

The sad thing to me, are the workers who are doing the "work of the devil" but use the Bible to justify polluting the land and themselves and family with toxic chemical exposure. I hope they have good long term medical insurance. They will need it!

Dr Shibai

Anonymous said...

If you know that most of the people on Kauai don't support this bill then can you tell me what the winning lottery numbers will be for the 400 million dollar jackpot?

I will use the money to hire all of the chemical companies to work on a real farm. I will create jobs that will be non harmful to the health of the people, land, water and air.

All of this will be possible only if your "I've got news for you" is true.

Tim Bynum said...

Punch line for me is:
If you live near production ag in one year you may be exposed about 8 times a year with a total pesticide dose of no more than 2 pounds.

If you live near research ag on Kauai you have to deal with pesticed application (astonishingly) 240 times; more days than not. With total pesticed dose of 8 pounds. 4 times the highest production averages in the Country.

Anonymous said...

9:26 -- Most people don't care.

Anonymous said...

Yes it is true to a certain degree but what about the 25k people on Kauai who voted for a NEW prosecuting attorney. I think they cared and we the people of Kauai showed the world that we do not tolerate with a tyrant(s) whether they are singular, in a group or even in a corporation.

Anonymous said...

25k was the TOTAL .

Kollar 14,289 votes
Iseri-Carvalho 9,514 votes.
1,803 blank votes

Only 39% voter turnout.
Most people don't care.

Anonymous said...

Your numbers are misleading. Roughly 25k (39%) voted from the est of 68k(100%) population on Kauai.

Yet you forget to mention:
6.5% is younger than 5.
22.1% is younger than 18.
16.1% is older than 65.
Equaling to 44.6%

The rest of the people either work too many jobs to vote, don't have a job, are on drugs, collect welfare, cannot read or write, are incarcerated, or just plain lazy.

So in the numbers game it really does matter what percent you are in and don't think other people or corporations aren't paying attention to this.

That is why the people of Kauai needs to know the number of RUP's and other toxic chemical or biological compounds that is being experimented and used. I would like to know how many has gotten sick or died from these cancer causing carcinogens.

Do you recall how cigarettes, asbestos, agent orange, and some pharmaceutical drugs were deem safe products for public use but then later found to have serious side effects and cancer causing agents that leads to death.

The GMO companies has contaminated sites all around the world and you people still don't know that is has happened. The same thing is happening here on Kauai.

Anonymous said...

It is a good thing we have a few people on the Council, who are interested in FACTS, before they knee jerk vote on this over reaching bill. Not only does the bill undermine property rights and bring fear into residents on GMOs and herbicides, it will terminate jobs.
Politics is one thing, but Gary and Tim should know better than to feed their anti-growth, anti-hotel, anti-job, anti-corporation elitist followers with this unobtainable fresh meat.
Gary has been against virtually all development, unless it is his project (Waioli Gardens etc) Gary has been strongly against PMRF and now has the large landowners in his sights..........come on, use common sense focus the Fed EPA and State health agencies on these bogey men corporate corn growers....if there is malfeasance.
Use your influence and power to get enforcement by your apparatchiks.
Gary, please try to spell your fellow council people's names correctly it is "KAGAWA" not "Kogawa".

Anonymous said...

The registered voter turnout was 62.9%.

Anonymous said...

When Kokagwa pays attention to his duties, then it might be important for Gary and anyone to spell his name correctly.
But until then, why bother?

Anonymous said...

I feel confident about this going to a statewide vote even.
Kauai would vote chemical terrorism out for sure.

The majority of people living here, live here why?

As to the numbers (blue shirts), that was an artificial show of force.

Anonymous said...

Today I saw that Big Island uses 12 lbs.

Anonymous said...

Bill 79 BI just got withdrawn as opposed to it being killed.
So they can bring it back otherwise no action could be taken for 2 years if it was killed.

Anonymous said...

Since the chem companies are being so uncompromising (my way or the highway) maybe itʻs time for this to go to court and ask for complete shutdowns.
Kauai and Big Island could combine the suit.

And the coffee farms could not claim they are affected in a gmo shutdown.2110f

Anonymous said...

Are you paying for the attorneys?

Anonymous said...

Actually, yes.

I am paying for the chemcorps attorneys when it boils down to it. You think their frivolous sue jobs donʻt come back to take chunks out of us through more subsidies, favors, land and exemptions to cover their ʻlossesʻ?

Anonymous said...

Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

Follow this link after reading this article to a link of other credible, scientific research papers on the subject.

Te evidence is mounting, more and more, each month and each year.

Kaua'i is the GMO industries petie dish.

Think about that carefully. Resistance to regulation shows a lack of respect for your fellow man, while at the same time touting the fact that your industry is going to save mankind.

Some more things to contemplate. Worldwide GMO crop failures will lead to worldwide famine and death.

Is this happening yet? Of course it is. one of the factors is the fact that some GMO crops require twice as much water as others. How is that drought saving, or drought resistant?

Here are some more links regarding this:

This article speaks about "genetic drift', ie the reason why the entire food producing industry for organic farmers and others will be wiped out by GMO processes. I wonder how the workers feel about putting OTHER workers out of work? Or about taking food out of the mouths of Kaua'i residents? Even themselves?

This is the entire work. hTese items I am citing are scholarly works, and not lay public opinion pieces;jsessionid=13E9D3A57C86C5B6BAAEEF9B4E04586C.journals?fromPage=online&aid=315844

Why i am citing the India works so much is that it is of course one of the largest population areas on the planet, and has seen the most blatent GMO crop failures, and socioeconomic tragedies directly related to GMO seed practices.

Current use of transgenic herbicide-resistant soybean and corn in the USA
MDK Owen - Crop Protection, 2000 - Elsevier
... 10–27. Tauer and Love (1989); L. Tauer, J. Love; The potential economic impact of
herbicide-resistant corn in the USA J. Prod. ... Turner (1999); M. Turner; How will GMO restrictions
affect corn and soybean exports? ... The niche for herbicide-resistant corn in US agriculture. ...
Cited by 54 Related articles All 4 versions Cite

Now what? Still all gung ho for da GMO?

Or did I just give you your next t shirt slogan?

Anonymous said...

In response: The total acreage planted each year is still unknown, after many inquiries. The last figure quoted to me, from Kirby Kestler, was 13,000 total for all 4 seed companies. My impression was that was the total leased acreage, however he was not very specific. He did confirm that 13,000 was NOT the planted acreage. He said he "did not know" what that figure was Steve Savage admitted his 12,000 acres was "a guess" based on two growing seasons. We all know that there could be 3 to 4 growing seasons and we also know that there are many more tons of unrestricted pesticides (at least double) in addition to the 18 tons of known restricted use pesticides. When Tim Bynum says that we could be experiencing application rates 4 times corn crops grown for production, this is the information that gets you to that figure. If we had the acreages we would have solid data, which is why they do not want to tell us.

Anonymous said...

this is not a Bill against farmers. So tried of reading that. This is a bill the Bio tech companies don't want passed because they don't want people to know what they are spraying. Period. We have a right to know. It's a basic human right to know what environment you are living in. But these companies are spending millions of dollars to spread prapaganda and misinformation. Those who showed up to support this Bill showed up on their own accord. Missing work and spending their own money to show up. Those who showed up against the Bill were paid employees that were told to be there. They even got a free lunch and free shirts. Enough said.

My God this island is corrupt. Ross and Mel are going to vote against the Bill. That is clear. They are already making excuses as to why.

Real farmers are for this Bill, but you don't read that in the paper. This Bill is about the right to know. Real Hawaiians support the Bill just like Kamehameha would.