Thursday, November 14, 2013

Musings: Little and Late

In an apparent attempt to pre-empt a pending pesticide/GMO disclosure bill, the state Department of Agriculture has crafted a “Kauai agricultural good neighbor program” that calls for voluntary buffer zones and restricted use pesticide (RUP) disclosure.

The announcement came on the eve of today's County Council vote on whether to override Mayor Bernard Carvalho's veto of Bill 2491. The hotly contested measure would require Dow Agrosciences, Syngenta, BASF, Dupont/Pioneer and Kauai Coffee to implement buffer zones and disclose pesticide use and cultivation of genetically modified crops.

The good neighbor program also would apply only to those five entities, though it is not as strict as Bill 2491. It establishes a 100-foot buffer zone where RUPs cannot be used between fields and homes, schools and medical facilities, whereas Bill 2491 sets a 500-foot buffer. The bill also creates buffer zones for streams, roads and parks, which are not covered in the program. Both exempt mature orchards.

The “good neighbor” program for disclosure is significantly weaker than Bill 2491, in that it excludes homeowners and general health care providers from notification prior to pesticide applications. It specifies:

Under this program, farm operators on Kaua‘i will notify schools, hospitals, and medical clinics that register with a participating farm operator on Kaua‘i (“registered entities”).

Pre-application notification will be made to those registered entities only in cases when the application of an RUP will be made along the entity’s property line abutting a 1000 foot notification zone as measured from the outside of the proposed treated area.

The “good neighbor” program for public disclosure of RUPs would take effect much more quickly than Bill 2491, whose disclosure provisions wouldn't be triggered for another year. However, the program doesn't include any disclosure of general use pesticides, as the bill does, nor would it specify where the pesticides were used.

Instead, the program calls for disclosing only the total volume of each RUP used and total acreage affected. The data would be posted monthly on the state's open data portal, while Bill 2491 requires annual disclosure of pesticides used the prior year.

The program also proposes more outreach:

Farm operators on Kaua‘i would establish a farm by farm practice to continue and improve good neighbor relations and understanding of farming. Neighbors that are geographically located nearest the above mentioned operations would be the primary focus of the good neighbor program which may involve a farm operator working with individual neighbors to address their concerns about RUP applications.

Farm operators on Kaua‘i and their nearby neighbors would discuss their respective questions, such as the science behind pesticide formulation, registration, and use, and the actual conditions on and around farms.

The program does not address the disclosure of what genetically modified organisms are being grown on Kauai, as is required under Bill 2491.

The voluntary program will take effect Dec. 1, and will remain in effect for one year, when it will be evaluated for effectiveness.  If the Council overrides the veto today, Bill 2491 is due to take effect in nine months, though a threatened legal challenge could delay its implementation.

HDOA also plans to ask the state Legislature to fund 10 additional inspector and pesticide education positions statewide in this upcoming legislative session, according to a press release posted on the HDOA website.


Anonymous said...

May be Little and Late, but at this point it is more realistic than #2491, if passed.
The comment of 11/13, 11:27pm to the 11/13/13 blog is spot on.

Anonymous said...

Did I read that right? A 100 foot buffer zone? WTF
It should be no less than a 1/4 mile, there is more than enough ag land on this island to accommodate a safe poison free zone between schools, homes, hospitals and anywhere else the general population congregates!

Anonymous said...

Little and Late? It could be "Little and just enough time to turn one vote."

Anonymous said...

Don't believe the state of Hi. for one second, in these "voluntary disclosure" concepts. nor do i have any trust in there stall tactics, or pure trickery here. this is a LIFE AND DEATH, issue, it is a eugenics operation, above and beyond a mere pesticide and or gmo slaughter. it is flat out murder, "Anthropogenic Ecocide, and Genocide", against the people, marine life, and the aina'. this includes, all residents, of every color, race. it is criminal trespassing, while engaged in international crimes, against the earth, and it's natural owners. period. further more over, i am not afraid, to state my name! WVL mahalo

Anonymous said...

Well, if this isn't perfect timing! I bet the state announced it because they know the outcome of the council vote already.

Anonymous said...

Maybe a "Little and Late" should have been more like: "Don't Cha Get It?" The Department of Agriculture's "little and late" statement on voluntary compliance is tacit admission that this is a state jurisdiction/responsibility.

If the veto is overridden, then the bill, in its amended form will become law. What then? The County Office of Economic Development will be the new pesticide czar/agency overlooking pesticide monitoring on Kauai.

If the veto is not overridden, the bill dies, then the pro bono attorneys can go ahead and sue the State of Hawaii, regarding pesticide regulations. Then, and only then will the State Attorney General render an opinion whether pesticide jurisdiction is with the state or with the counties/municipalities.

Whether you believe Mayor Carvalho did the right thing or not with the veto, he did the smart thing to place the issue where it belongs--with the state.

Anonymous said...

How can the pro bono attorneys will "represent" the county. Are they representing the council or the mayor? The pro bono attorneys should be suing the state to enforce and strengthen the pesticide laws.

And zealotry in trying to tie GMOs with pesticides is non-productive, and unwittingly, a poison pill. Give it up. This is a pesticide issue, so let's move on. I'm quite sure even the pro bono attorneys would agree with that.

Anonymous said...


i thought the county is not allowed to accept "gifts"? wouldn't letting attorneys represent the county pro bono be in violation of that? come on now

Anonymous said...

Hot off the press: the vote to override was going to die at 4-2, but a recess was called till Sat (11/16). So now, the replacement councilperson will be the deciding vote.
The Kabuki continues . . .

Anonymous said...

I don't understand.....if it was going to die at would 1 new councilmember change it? 4-3?

Anonymous said...

if the new councilperson voted to override, vote of 5-2 would be super majority needed to override the mayor's veto. then, the bill would pass, then the county would be the new pesticide czar. good luck!

Anonymous said...

how can a new appointed council member with any kind of ethical or moral values vote on this bill?

they must abstain on the vote or they will never have any creditability.

This person has not sat in any executive sessions or been a part of this process.

I smell quid pro quo here, they will go into executive session talk about it, ask the person how they will vote, if they hear the yes word "poof" you are then new council member.


Anonymous said...

such is part of the kabuki theater!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the new appointee has to promise not to run against the existing members in the next election. I would guess a "yes" vote but not strong competition in an election.

Anonymous said...

Er no, Mason will run for council and win. No ones seats are safe.

Anonymous said...

I hope he runs. We need new blood.