Saturday, May 9, 2015

Musings: Dusty and Dusted

A federal jury has ordered DuPont-Pioneer to pay $507,090 in damages due to dust blowing from its Kauai agricultural fields. The money will be shared by 15 Waimea residents and attorneys Kyle Smith and Gerard Jervis.

The lawsuit did not address whether the dust contained pesticides or caused any health impacts.

But Councilman Gary Hooser wasted no time in posting a blog describing it as “vast amounts of pesticide laden dust.” He went on to write:

However, if the dust is bad enough to cause property damage then it surely must be causing damage also to health and environment.

The lawsuit was a snapshot in time, with the jury finding Pioneer failed to follow generally accepted agricultural and management practices between Dec. 13, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2011. 

It relied upon nuisance and trespass claims, with the seven-member jury finding that the plaintiffs had not given permission for Pioneer's dust to enter their property, and suffered loss of use and enjoyment.

Those awarded damages are Allan and Susan Arquette $69,853; Edwin and Kristine Dela Cruz $88,214; Eric and Shelby-Ann Erdmann $63,919; Mitsuko Hookano $42,208.50; Michael and Vivian Kunselman $50,632; Giuseppe “Jo” Gerek-King $55,900; James and Dionis McGihon $46,180; Dennis Okihara $35,507.50 and Gary and Ann Marie Underwood $54,676. The jury also found that all the plaintiffs had mitigated their damages.

Though Gary and anti-GMO activists are already hyping its significance in fighting the biotech companies, the verdict was actually quite narrow. You can read it here.

Meanwhile, Gary's truth-challenged visit to the Syngenta shareholder's meeting in Switzerland prompted Council Chair Mel Rapozo to send the company a letter distancing the Council from its anti-GMO colleague. Mel wrote:

Mr. Hooser's statements were not made on behalf of the Council body, and were not in any way officially directed or sanctioned by the Council.

Mel also clarified that Gary's plea for Syngenta to follow Kauai County's laws had no basis in reality. Judge Barry Kurren declared Bill 2491/Ordinance 960 invalid, and ordered the county not to enforce it, Mel wrote. That decision is currently under appeal.

[T]herefore the law remains invalid and has not taken effect. Accordingly, Syngenta could not possibly be in violation of the law.

Allan Parachini makes a valid point in today's The Garden Island that the anti-GMO movement essentially conceded the Hawaii legal fight by seeking Legislative action giving counties the right to regulate pesticides and GMOs. Because if the counties already have that right, as anti-GMO attorneys argue, why would they need the Lege to specifically give it to them?

At any rate, their legislative efforts failed entirely. None of the bills pushed by the anti-GMO movement survived the session.

Which is why the Hawaii branch of the mainland-based Center for Food Safety is returning to its time-worn strategy: fear-mongering. The anti-GMO group is releasing “Pesticides in Paradise,” a report that purports to “establishe[s] the relationship between pesticide use, genetically engineered field test sites and public health risks in Hawaii.

The report supposedly:

delivers a comprehensive review of published scientific and medical research examining the threats pesticides used in Hawaii pose to public health, especially the risk to pregnant women and young children.

Sounds like CFS is trying to get a jump on the Joint Fact Finding Group, which is due to issue a report on its independent review of what's really known about pesticides and GMOs on Kauai.

And finally, I saw this comment on a TGI article about ag awareness day at the UH-CTAHR extension station in Wailua, where kids are exposed to a range of agricultural activities:
kona posted at 8:11 pm on Thu, May 7, 2015. 

Teach our children the importance of organic farming. Teach our children that Chemical Corporations should not be in control of the world's food. Teach them that if you are not growing food on Kaua'i you are NOT a Kaua'i farmer. You are a toxic poison sprayer and you are hurting the island and its people.

Gosh. Doncha just love tolerance in education?


  1. Some of those people live awfully far from the fields. Obviously not one proved chemical poisoning.,

  2. I don't think the suit was chemical poison related. The suit was dust related. People may have wound up with clogged sinuses and dirty carpets and drapes.

  3. What a F*cking joke.
    What? You mean Waimea get red dirt? No way. The entire westside Hanapepe, Waimea and Kekaha are known for a dust free environment.
    Gee whiz. Even Kaumakani and Pakala are dust free.
    There has never been dust on the westside until those evil GMO guys took over.
    Sugar was dust free, ash free, no noise, no rats no nothing. Everything was soft and beautiful before the Corn Guys.
    I am so happy that Gary Hooser and JoAnn Yukimura have taken up,the fight.
    Kick the Corn growers out. Then the dust will go away. The wind will stop and everything will be green and peaceful.
    These Waimea lawsuit folks are a bunch of greedy f*cks. Liars and greedy.
    God poke my f*ckin' eye out with a sabedong sprayer the world is upside down. Liars are winners and the likes of JoAnn (who develops Kalihiwai makes millions) and Gary (former Realtor, developer and tax cheat) run our miserable lives. All I need is a Tim Bynum Dope Shoppe so I can cool my nerves with a big toke and maybe eat some rice from Tim Bynum prototype rice Cooker.
    And for all you folks in the previous Blog that bad mouth Mitchell Alapa, shame on you. Judge not the man until you have walked in his tabis. Mitchell is a good guy......but I betcha none of y'all would ever stand up to Mitchell on land or sea. It is easy for the effete commenters to forget that the island get plenny local folks who are sick and f*cking tired of the BS being forced down the collective throats. And that goes for the close to limp wrists on the Council that have allowed our Island to be hi-jacked by a bunch of namby pamby do-gooders and especially Glory Hound Hooser and "I really Care" JoAnn, that never picked Pine or had to go catch fish to eat...Just call me - "just moved here."

  4. For 12 jurors to agree, it means one thing - the Seed Co. was not a good neighbor.

  5. Bad news for Monsanto and the drug war today too: From today's

    "Colombia to ban coca spraying herbicide glyphosate. Colombia has announced it will stop using a controversial herbicide to destroy illegal plantations of coca, the raw ingredient for cocaine.
    The decision follows a warning by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that glyphosate is "probably carcinogenic".

    The product has been used in US-sponsored crop-spraying anti-narcotics programmes in South America."

    1. Great news for cocaine cartels, though! Another win for the anti-GMO movement!

  6. Lawyers for the plaintiffs could NOT provide evidence of health impacts so the case was limited to property damage. Gary knows this and he still shamelessly lies! He has got to go.

  7. Joan, it isn't pono that you named those families with the amounts---as outsiders style, people here don't openly throw others under the bus by revealing that kind of info.

  8. The plaintiffs' awards are stated plainly in the verdict. Perhaps you should read it.

  9. There are over 100 more Waimea residents who were in the suit. They'll end up with what, a few grand each after the attorneys take their bite? Big whoopee.

  10. Its always been an interesting part of the suit that dust was the only thing sued on. It is hard to prove pesticide contamination causd the ill health, and quite easy to prove dust. Got dust? The money amount is so low, could not even purchase 1/4 of 1 home on the north shore. So , step 2 in lowering the values of westside land. Now creeps can come buy the land cheap and hold it until agriculture is a four letter word and development is ripe. Textbook manuever to lower the value of the land.

  11. What did the 5 years of litigation cost? What did the others get who were not the 15?

  12. Yes, it's in the verdict, but not in the media----one can find it if they research the verdict. The info causes people like 6:22 to engage in name calling and in turn make the plaintiffs feel awful. What most people don't get is that many of the plaintiffs didn't get into the suit for $, their purpose was to get Pioneer/Dupont to follow GAAMP----CLEAN AIR, clean waters, clean soil were the motives. People need to remember that. And, the judge ruled out pesticides and bodily harm from being on the table. The judge ruled against many items the plaintiffs had on the table. Plaintiffs held their breathes and rejoiced over the verdict, money was not in the picture. Can you imagine if Pioneer won? Back to dust/chemical dousing without regard for their neighbors!

  13. 6: 53 -- The verdict was linked in the Star-Advertiser, so yes, it was in the media.

    The judge ruled out pesticides and bodily harm because plaintiffs' attorneys hadn't presented sufficient evidence for those claims.

    As for motives, residents may have been seeking relief, but what were the motives of their attorneys and the anti-GMO groups that backed the suit? It was all about making a statement, and as 5:58 noted, the first step in devaluing westside land for eventual development.

  14. There's the hypocrisy again. The antis want the seed companies to disclose everything but don't print the names of the people who sued. Total bs

  15. I prefer my Cocaine without Roundup.

  16. They'll go back to using paraquat like they used to.

  17. Pesticides are spryed on the ground and wind turns dry exposed ground to airborne dust that goes hither and yon, including into peoples lungs. It is not hard to assume pestcides are also in the dust and people that inhaling it could become sick. Red dust colored formerly white drapes are much easier to prove in court. It extremely difficult and expensiveis to prove health damages in court. Just look through years of tobacco litigation for proof. Sure, your client has lung cancer but prove it was our tobacco that caused it. To corporation environmental pollutionn is an "externality."

    I sprayed some posion in the air
    Who it killed?
    I'm unaware
    I'd blame that guy over there
    Posion posion everywhere.

  18. I know a couple that had to move from Waimea because their three children developed respiratory problems. They had no problems after moving to Kalaheo. This was in the days before the seed companies came in. Perhaps they should have sued the sugar company over the smoke and dust!

  19. Funny how a mainland transplant like "Kona" can come here and proclaim generations of family farms non-farms. I guess flower growers must shut down by his weird definition. What a twit!

  20. Here's the interesting fact. G&R was growing and harvesting sugar for many decades before the Waimea folks built there houses there. So a suit against G&R would be groundless and a failure. But the loophole was that Pioneer who was farming just like G&R came in after the transplants built their houses so they had the edge against Pioneer since it came later. That is the single factor that enabled these whiners in ag land to makke their case.

  21. @10:37 PM - It's public record, Dufus! Otherwise how would Joan have it? DUH! Here's a link to the list of plaintiffs:

    Any bozo can find it so you must be a sub-bozo.

  22. Yes 1:13 PM and it's not hard to assume (Ass-U-Me) that those cloud lines are really chem-trails!!! LOL!!!

  23. @5:15 PM - Perhaps the dumb asses should have checked out their agricultural down wind locale and shouldn't have moved there. Dumb people always look for others to blame for their own stupidity and lack of discretion.

  24. "It relied upon nuisance and trespass claims, with the seven-member jury finding that the plaintiffs had not given permission for Pioneer's dust to enter their property, and suffered loss of use and enjoyment."

    Narrow? Your joking right? GMOs, whatevercides and smoke may also be sued for tresspass because it can easily be forseen by those responsible that their agent would commit tresspass. Not good neighbors!

  25. The winds in Waimea blow from all directions. Mostly west to east in the afternoons, North to south in the night to mornings, and only east to west in stronger trade wind periods.

  26. Dufus responding--what i want to say is that even if it's out there, and could be found, the names and $ didn't have to be put into print on this blog! Dufus signing off.

  27. Convenient how no amount of money is listed for Kyle Smith and Gerard Jervis, et al. I'd be curious how much is left over after the lawyers' bills are paid.

  28. Can I get Pioneer to pay for painting my house? The red dust is choke. I live Oahu but windy here too.

  29. What the verdict basically said was that 12/13/2009 to 12/31/2011, Pioneer was creating dust. The lawsuit was filed on 12/13/2011. After 12/31/2011, Pioneer was found by the jury to be following all generally accepted agricultural and management practices (GAAMP), so no dust liability. Gary Hooser and all the north shore anti GMO radicals using the Waimea residents for 2491 in 2013, you were wrong. The jury stated that in 2013 during all that hype, Pioneer operations were all in accordance with GAAMP.

  30. Joan, Something very important seems to be missing from your blog. Where are the stories of the plaintiffs? What hardships have they gone through the last 15 years or so? Do you think their stories would make for a good blog or two? Please provide their side of the story so we can learn more about how their "good neighbors" have treated them.

  31. What's wrong with publishing the names and amounts, even the Babes published that?

  32. 10:26 -- If you'd like to pay for the court transcripts from the trial I'd be happy to write about some of the testimony. Unlike the Babes, I wasn't funded to cover the trial.

  33. Joan, Instead of court transcripts, maybe you could actually go over to the westside and do some interviews? No need money for transcripts. Straight from the horses mouth? You could start with Klayton Kubo. I think he has some interesting stories for you.

  34. Perhaps, 10:26, you missed the endless drama of Council hearings, the torrent of poorly written caca from TGI on pesticides, spraying etc., etc, etc. If I want to read that stuff, I can go to Naomi Carmona’s cheesy BAB site, the HooserBlot, PANNA’s jeremiad or the world according to Center for Food Safety- no food, no safety just paid groupthinkers If your view gets no respect here, and it seems you are frequently unhappy at Kauai Eclectic, 10:26, decamp and go somewhere you find more congenial. There are plenty of places where you’d fit in. Try Maui.

  35. 10:26 Plaintiffs story.
    Move to or live in the dustiest and most agriculturally intense area on the island. Dust and wind are a part of life.
    Have some greedy lawyers make up a a "dust story" confabulated with the Fistee hysteria about Big Ag.
    Get a chance for free kala.
    Go for it. Why not? Integrity? Ethics? No way, Jose. I get one chance to get some free bucks.
    A jury of city dwellers awards big dollahs.
    I hope Big Ag appeals the award and forces this lawsuit to go on for decades.
    Every babooze on the island knows Waimea get plenty dust.
    Maybe I'll sue my neighbor for his smelly old tractor, beehives, screaming wife and Rooster Farm.

  36. 1:53 pm I think it would be more fair to use court transcripts, as then we would be looking only at material that was relevant to this case, and cross examination, rather than letting people make any kind unchallenged. As for Klayton, I understand he was not used as a witness. And in any case, he made it clear in a rather threatening phone call some time back that he had no desire for any further communication with me.

  37. Why don't people on Kauai SUE all the fricking drug dealers and their families for poisoning and killing the people.

    METH is the number 1 killer on Kauai.

    Heroin these Californians, Oregonians, and Washingtonians are bringing in is the new Killer.

    This is the same way the Shapiro brothers were poisoning and killing people on Kauai with schedule II prescription drugs.

    Put all these drug dealers and druggies on Kohoolawe and bomb the shit out of them!

  38. The irony of Joan preaching about tolerance! And the others trying to glorify the plantation era! Really? When did sugar plow/spray/water & fertilize a field three times after harvest? The major point here is that they are not typical farm operations sanctioned by GAAMP. There is far more dust the there ever was with sugar because the fields are bare. Just look with your own eyes and drive down to Mana on a windy day; the easiest place to watch. If there is a wind advisory they still plow. Sugar they planted the whole field until harvest.

  39. The people didn't move to Waimea. Pioneer came to waimea after they already lived there. Many lived there during the sugar era and never dealt with dust like they do from Pioneer. Don't people realize how silly they look when they make assumptions that are so easily debunked? Here they are calling others "dumb". 4 fingers pointing back at you dummy :)

  40. Has the State of Hawaii or the University of Hawaii developed Generally Accepted Agricultural Management Practices (GAAMP) for farmers and ranchers in this State? If so, where can they be found? Seems to me if GAAMPs were at the core of the lawsuit decision then many more farmers in this State may be at risk of being sued for not following GAAMPs.


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