Thursday, September 29, 2016

Musings: March On

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.


Anonymous said...

Are we on a "which" hunt. We spend so much money to scare us and then save us. All that money could be used for the homeless we get from other states and here on Kauai.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this interesting update, Comrade, but I'm having a hard time picturing us working the unbearably hot and humid fields in Hawaii for.....what crop exactly? Organic hemp?
Heck, we can't even find reliable employees for the easy jobs in Hawaii. What in the world are these groups contemplating for us?

"Agroecology needs socialism."
Maybe we can emulate Uzbekistan and Turkey, 5th and 8th largest exporters of cotton in the world, via a system of forced labor.

Once again this year, the government of Uzbekistan forcibly mobilized its citizens — including health care workers, teachers and students — to the cotton fields to prepare for and carry out the 2015 harvest of the country’s “white gold.” As in the past, forced labor practices were well documented by human rights groups, including the Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights (UGF).

And in Turkey, following the Turk president’s order to “pick all cotton to the last boll,” tens of thousands of Turkmen citizens are mobilized by local government officials to report to the cotton fields. Where refusal to contribute to the cotton harvest is treated as insubordination, incitement to sabotage, lack of patriotism and even contempt of the homeland.

Yeah, a perfect fit for us here.

Anonymous said...

Conclusion: Junk science and finger pointing has become a huge industry that churns out more and more thousands of environmental studies graduates with each passing year. Syngenta and Pioneer will be driven off of Kauai within 3 years. When the seed companies are gone, the entire junk science movement will go after Kauai Coffee, and then the military, and destroy all of those jobs too. The jobless will eventually work for the two or three resort hotels that will go up on the west side a few more years down the road.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

@ 9:05 AM,

You are 100% correct on your theory. The west side of Kauai will become all resorts and Gary Hooser will be laughing all the way to the bank if we dont stop this BULLSHIT. I have traveled the "High Road" long enough and it isnt working. It's time to fight fire with fire.

Anonymous said...

Joan "But one can only assume that Earthjustice has played a part, with its constant complaints and requests for the agency's intervention."

If by "one can only assume" you mean Joan Conrow you are correct, but one need not assume anything that is not facts based. Just because people complain and request agency intervention does not mean the agency will respond Most requests and complaints typically fall on deaf ears compared to the ones acted upon. Your argument lacks proof and gives a false impression that Earthjustice is way more influential than it is.

Anonymous said...

Joan says Karen Chunʻs comment is ridiculous. Exactly what is ridiculous about putting a limit on tourism and rental cars? Personally, I think a never-ending growth attitude towards tourism and rental cars is destroying the quality of life in Hawaiʻi. And traffic everywhere is a nightmare. I guess I sound pretty ridiculous, donʻt I?

Anonymous said...

Chem Companies will be gone soon and hopefully Joan will follow.

Anonymous said...

To 9:40 AM

You're so modest, Paul!

But we all know about your insider ties and lies to EPA enforcement.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, 9:59 AM, and you'd probably like the rest of us locals to be gone too so you can have your little paradise all to yourselves. No need work, no need do anything productive with your lives. Just anti everything.

Anonymous said...

@9:51, I am wondering, too. Does Joan think increasing the number of tourists and rental cars is a good thing? Ms. Chun seems to be making a valid point.

Anonymous said...

9:51 AM Anonymous said...
Joan says Karen Chunʻs comment is ridiculous. Exactly what is ridiculous about putting a limit on tourism and rental cars? Personally, I think a never-ending growth attitude towards tourism and rental cars is destroying the quality of life in Hawaiʻi. And traffic everywhere is a nightmare. I guess I sound pretty ridiculous, donʻt I?

No, it's not ridiculous to recognize carrying capacity and quality of life-- AS JOAN DID on September 19: "But there is no road to environmental sustainability from the tourism-economic development intersection. Tourism in Hawaii is inherently unsustainable."

But how do you accomplish that legally, and while still providing for local jobs?
It's just not simple. So instead of Joan-bashing, let's hear some decent proposed solutions.

Anonymous said...

Yes 9:51 or is "whined" a better description.

Anonymous said...

Syngenta will be gone from the west side. Why? It is in the state of being bought by a Chinese mega corporation - can't have them in very close proximity to a naval airbase. Pioneer's parent company is entertaining a merger proposition. In both cases, they weren't driven out. Operations will continue under new management.

Joan Conrow said...

@9:40 Well, Earthjustice spent quite a bit of time with Ms Strauss talking about the Syngenta incident, even though EJ doesn't actually know anything about it, so the groups is able to get an audience. And since EJ has the power to sue, and likes to use it against federal agencies, it's not unreasonable to think EPA does tend to listen to EJ more than the other cranks.

To the others -- No, it's not ridiculous to put limits on cars and tourism. What is ridiculous is the way Karen Chun is against everything, but offers no alternatives. Meanwhile, she herself is a transplant and drives a car, but never dreams she is part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

Joan, You also are a transplant who drives a car. So you can see that about yourself, but Karen cannot. How do you know she "never dreams" she is part of the problem? Have you ever asked her? I notice that you very rarely offer alternatives yourself to these pressing problems. Maybe if you spent more time on alternatives to poisons, tourism, growth, development, etc., instead of belittling others like Karen for not doing so, the positive educational value of your blog would increase?

Joan Conrow said...

I think my blog does have a positive educational value, part of which involves identifying those who are impeding progress and/or preaching a false message.

But mostly I'm not interested in suggestions from anonymouses on what I could do differently to make my blog "better" by their definition. So you and the others who love to tell me how I should blog can just keep those comments to yourselves. Or start your own damn blog. I'm not in service to you.

Anonymous said...

Joan, you said, "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."

Here's why the Syngenta mess-up of letting their workers enter a field 20 hours after spray instead of the required safety margin of 24 hours, is a focus. NOT because of exposure or harm but because of EJ and other activists' pressure, Syngenta's a big corporation, everyone loves to hate corporations, and it's GMOs, which they also love to hate. EPA can fine millions of dollars and it will get tons of media attention and make EPA (and EJ and HCFS) look good. That's what this is about.

Unknown said...

@ 10:27 Dupont is merging with Dow, and that company will be spun off into 3 separate companies. Old News kid.

Anonymous said...

I guess diversifying our economy would help reduce our reliance on tourism.

Anonymous said...

Think that EJ is playing both sides of the fence. One side, gleefully acknowledging that the EPA has jurisdictional and enforcement rights in this case. And, yet the other side, the county has those rights over the state and federal governments in bill 2491 now in the federal ninth court of appeals. What a pilau Hooser supporter. That kind of supporter belongs in my crotch, protecting my front and back sides.

Anonymous said...

The Robinsons applied for agricultural dedication of their lands in perpetuity and were granted their appeal. That, coupled with Dow's 50-year lease with them plus the forthcoming merger with DuPont ensure the lands between Hanapepe and Waimea will be in agriculture.

BTW, Bradley, thanks for the clarification here and Joan's other blog on factual information, regarding dosage*exposure. No action there by the antis because topic was beyond their intellect.

Anonymous said...

The Stew is starting to boil over. I heard that if put too much heat to the pot the flavor of the veggies and rest of the ingredients won't taste good. Everyone is starting to get a little aggressive. I love this "BLOG". Write on Joan. You far from that Chun lady. Move in the middle of a desert and complain it is too hot. You know where you were headed too and still complain when you get there. We advertise for the tourist to come to Kauai. Do you remember when we had nobody coming here after Iniki passed through us? We welcomed the tourist that were stranded here and the few that came after. Pick up the pieces is what we did. Try stop tourism.....You don't want tourism, just git. We no need you. BTW, stew cooked well taste ono.........

Anonymous said...

"I think my blog does have a positive educational value, part of which involves identifying those who are impeding progress and/or preaching a false message."
True words.

Economic Diversity? Into what? Tourism has the least environmental impact of any industry. Period.
We are slowly turning into a lawn-mowing/handyman industry. Them Ag Estates need lots of work. A real social dilemma as Gary/JoAnn/Mason's rich-newcomer brigade has turned lawn-mowing into a major Kauai economic driver.
Tourism may need some tuning, but what else? It is clean and the worker's are half-way happy. Even tho' Bernard has tried to make everyone a County Worker, we can't all be blessed with that easy occupation. Besides, someone has to pay the taxes.
Diversity will never be a reality as long as the State of Hawaii allows its educational system to be at the lowest expectation. If the parents don't stay on the kids...they can graduate with a 3rd grade reading level and 1st grade arithmetic.
Lots of smart kids and lots of them come out of school as bright bulbs.......but the State has failed us. Lack of edjacashun on an island where you need to make over a hunnerd thousand per year to buy one are doomed.
Unless, you can get a job at the County. That is one place where lack of education is almost a guaranz-ball bearanz success route.
And the Robinson's do have a small piece at Pakala that is upzoned...but they could yoke many parcels and breeze thru LUC and Planning.....but they are tied to the land.
Great Gawd Almighty, wouldn't it be good to see JoAnn, Gary and Moron spend one day riding around Mauka and see what really goes on with the roads and hana wai ditches Big Ag maintains.
These three have got to go.

They will al be at Kapaa Neighborhood Center tonight at 5:30 obsequiously panting for votes. All the newby/nimby residents in Kapaa will also be there, big pockets, big retirement and not a care about the local kids in that narrow faced group.
Even Kapaa is becoming a palefaced wealthy enclave. Locals need not apply.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading for a couple of years now, yet have restrained to comment myself... Though I thoroughly enjoy the comments which add so much to your pieces. I would like to say that I see Joan as the best journalist that we have on Kauai. You are well researched and honest in the most fearless way, and I will continue to deeply appreciate your work. Thank you for calling a spade a spade it's very refreshing in our world so full of sociopathic delusions and false convictions. Bravo!

Anonymous said...

Billy, Joan and Luke! No scared, jus tell 'em.

Anonymous said...


"Tourism has the least environmental impact of any industry. Period."

LOL? I'm not against tourism by any means, but as I sit here with several tour helicopters buzzing overhead, dozens of rental cars driving by outside, all transporting people who flew thousands of miles on petroleum-burning machines to get here, near a beach where sections of the sand basically smell like suntan lotion, I can only assume that you have to be joking.

Tourism is a key part of the economy, and its environmental impact can be managed through thoughtful stewardship and appropriate regulation, sure. But "least environmental impact of any industry"? Repeating it like a slogan just doesn't make it so.

Anonymous said...

Well the county of Kauai did it again!!!! Hiring Ahuna who has no experience or educational background in planning. I guess the county of Kauai likes to spend consultants fees in the millions with these under qualified hirings. Maybe Wilcox hospital should hire janitors to be Doctors so we can have more doctors on Kauai. The Mayor and his admin is an example of a complete FAILURE.

Unknown said...

@ 2:22 Thanks. *sign* I doubt they'll read my links when they have Dr. Pang to teach pseudoscience in his school of woo. To the antis that do read the links: Thank you. People who are pro-agriculture would serve the industry well by being proficient on the topic of pesticide safety. We might not be able to help those lost in the sea of woo, but let's vaccinate the rest of the open minded people against their deceptions.

Many thank yous to Joan. Her efforts serve the aforementioned cause well.

Anonymous said...

Kanoe Ahuna was appointed as a Planning Commissioner which is a unpaid position.

Anonymous said...

What does she know about planning and does she have a degree in that area? Are there no civil engineers out there? That's why we are 30-40 years behind the curve and people are stuck in traffic in Kapaa and the west side traffic. When you hire or appoint people that aren't qualified then you regress the county and the people will suffer because of this.

Anonymous said...


Shhhusssssh, women make less money than men (selected for a very importaint Vollinter appointment ) by the good ole boys!!!!

Course if your a pretty face you might get ahead quicker? Make no mistake, this is a power position, and the blabber she offered about what she brings to the table only deepens my dislike for the Mayor.

Like Hooser on Civil Beat the other day neglecting to proclaim his conflicts of interest,, while causing others of being Shills for Da Man!!

Anonymous said...

6:41 we're messed up because of decisions made 20 plus years ago. Approve developments without counting the number of cars that would be added to our roads. Joann got her anti development reputation back when all of the development got approved and she was right.

Anonymous said...

They have people and equipment that counted cars for years.


A traffic count is a count of vehicular or pedestrian traffic, which is conducted along a particular road, path, or intersection. A traffic count is commonly undertaken either automatically (with the installation of a temporary or permanent electronic traffic recording device), or manually by observers who visually count and record traffic on a hand-held electronic device or tally sheet.[1] Traffic counts can be used by local councils to identify which routes are used most, and to either improve that road or provide an alternative if there is an excessive amount of traffic. Also, some geography fieldwork involves a traffic count. Traffic counts provide the source data used to calculate the Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT), which is the common indicator used to represent traffic volume. Traffic counts are useful for comparing two or more roads, and can also be used alongside other methods to find out where the CBD of a settlement is located. Traffic counts that include speeds are used in speed limit enforcement efforts, highlighting peak speeding periods to optimise speed camera use and educational efforts.

Ahuna's experience with planning is her state rep campaign bid against DAN Kouchi. Are you serious? Come on Woman.

Ever wonder why Ron used Dan Kouchi in the polls and TGI?

Anonymous said...

Traffic counts are used for existing traffic, not future projects. If infrastructure matched the pace of hotel, condo and time share projects, we'd be in good shape.