Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Musings: So Often the Case

As is so often the case with Civil Beat, an article there irked — both its content and delivery.

And is so often the case, it was written by Anita Hofschneider, who, as is so often the case, inserts her own views into what is supposed to be a news story:

The issue of pesticides is highly debated at the Legislature, where most legislators have aligned themselves with the agricultural lobby rather than environmental advocates.

Uh, no, Anita. As is so often the case, you've got it wrong. First, the pesticide debate we've seen playing out at the Lege is not a pro- vs anti-environmental issue, nor is it farming vs environmentalism.

It is a thin facade for an anti-GMO movement that is using pesticides in a disingenuous, self-serving, manipulative attempt to, as Gary Hooser has clearly stated, drive the seed companies out of Hawaii vs mostly small, conventional farmers and average folks who are pissed off by the tactics of the antis.

And the legislators who have refused to play along did so because the last bill — HB 790 — was poorly written, not because they're aligning themselves with the "agricultural lobby."

Furthermore, please quit making like farmers are an “agricultural lobby” — read corporate, craven, big business — while the antis are “environmental advocates” — read humble, earnest, dedicated to the public good.

Come on. Ashley Lukens is a registered lobbyist for the Hawaii Center for Food Safety. She and others, as I've pointed in parts 1 and 2 of the follow-money posts, are pulling in serious money — and getting paid — to push their agenda. Which is fine. But let's not pretend they're doing this out of the goodness of their hearts and the best interest of the people.

Furthermore, these activists do not get grab the title of environmentalist, and neither they nor Anita get to define who qualifies for that role.

With that, let me focus on the content of the article: Big Island Rep. Richard Creagan's amendment to a pesticide bill that the seed industry, farm bureau and others previously supported. The original bill would have allowed the Department of Ag to use money from the pesticide fund to conduct some of the studies proposed by the Joint Fact Finding Group.

But Creagan amended it to mandate reporting of all pesticide use — general, restricted and experimental — within 60 days of the end of the calendar year. It would apply to any ag entity that bought or used 10 pounds or 10 gallons of RUPs. 

A hearing is set for Wednesday morning.  Needless to say, it's silly, since the companies have already agreed to voluntarily disclose this info on a monthly basis. So what good is this language?

Creagan also added a section that calls for an undisclosed amount of money to go to the UH medical school “to develop a study that will determine the exposure of chlorpyrifos to one hundred pregnant mothers on Hawaii island, Oahu, and Kauai by examining the meconium of newborn babies.”

Why does the state want to get into testing women for exposure to a pesticide that the EPA is currently considering banning, which could render the whole issue moot?

And if exposure is determined, then what?

Exactly what is the purpose of this, other than to further underscore Creagan's complete capitulation to the antis and cater to Lukens, who proclaimed:

If lawmakers are not toeing the corporate line then this kind of language should be something that they get behind,” she said.

Oh, yes, Ashley, it's so black and white. That may be a great "with us or against us" sound byte for the media, but the real world, and even the strange world of politics, are far more nuanced and based on compromise.

Ashley may be desperate to appease critics like Dustin Barca and his followers, who rightly question why she has been unable to secure one “victory,” despite blowing millions over the past three years. But as she should have learned from her last defeat at the Capitol, it's never akamai to back legislators into a corner.


Anonymous said...

You have officially turned into GMO Joan. I used to enjoy reading (most) your blogs. Hoping you choose other topics once in a blue moon.

Anonymous said...

Chlorpyrifos is widely used so the bill, if passed, will likely have profound side effects.

Joan Conrow said...

@5:48 I used to get similar comments when I focused on the TVR issue and the former prosecutor. Sorry, but since this is a labor of love, and a personal blog, I choose to write about what interest me. But in any case, I already do write about subjects other than ag and GMOs more frequently than once in a blue moon.

Anonymous said...

Nice to hear that Ashley is being called out for blowing a bunch of cash with absolutely no results.

Anonymous said...

All those who criticize Joan on her detailed reporting of pesticide and ag GMO issues don't understand agriculture, especially in Hawaii. And they don't understand how these issues are linked with our quality of life, including our health, our traditions, and our happiness. The bigger picture is that we are being overtaken by people who move here, have a black and white agenda about what's good for Hawaii, who may not need to work, and who don't necessarily care about the rest of us.

Most people say they support agriculture here, whether it's because they want the option of buying fresher local foods and flowers, or they're worried about surviving if food shipments to the islands are delayed, or that they want the green, beautiful spaces, or they don't want more development. But many of these people apparently don't realize that in order to farm for a living with the reality of Hawaii's ever-increasing and devastating (non-native) insects, weeds, and diseases, pesticides are needed.

These pesticides are already heavily regulated both at the federal and state level. There is no evidence that pesticide use in Hawaii is causing health or environmental problems. DOA, DOH, USGS, and UH have looked --- where there is no exposure, there will be no impacts. More studies and monitoring continue.

There is no reason why we need to strangle our farmers with new requirements that make no sense except to line the pockets of mainland litigation and lobbying firms like Hawaii Center for Food Safety. The proposed new recordkeeping and reporting requirements will not increase safety at all, but they will affect every single farmer in Hawaii who may need to use even one gallon of an approved restricted use pesticide over the course of a year, whether he has one acre or one hundred. Despite how these bills are being advertised, they target ALL farmers, not just the seed companies or large farmers.

Some of these farmers will not survive the additional costs of these unwarranted and unnecessary requirements, especially the smaller farmers. Is that what we want?

Anonymous said...

Are you sure that donation button doesn't have to do with your obsession with GMO Joan?

Joan Conrow said...

Yes, @1:39, I'm sure. You obviously don't know me, or you'd know I've never been motivated by money. For me, it's all about being passionate about an issue, especially righting a wrong.

But perhaps your comment says something about your own motivations, which you are then trying to project onto me?

Anonymous said...

You keep going Joan: GMO, Pesticide, TVR; where you see a wrong......please shed light on it.

Anonymous said...

@11:25 I appreciate the clarity and articulation in your writing! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I want to know about the heroin epidemic on Kauai. It's another pain mill (piligers) and ICE (kronic(s)) drug problem. These fucking Mexican drug cartels and their slaves on Kauai are ruining people and families more than any GMO or TVR issue. Real Talk

Anonymous said...

GMO Joan,

For the record, you did an excellent job covering the many TVR issues and Shay. I know it's your personal blog but I'm starving for something more the TGI and Midweek Kauai. Hoping you'll expand to other issues. Would like to see your thoughts on the Mayor's budget, the jockeying behind the scenes for the not-too-distant mayoral race, north shore expansion, drugs, etc. Maybe I'm asking for too much. For Kauai will cover it. Not! Just my two cents and I appreciate you providing me a forum to provide feedback.

Anonymous said...

" Anita Hofschneider, who, as is so often the case, inserts her own views into what is supposed to be a news story:"

I thought that was your M.O. Joan.

Joan Conrow said...

No, 6:15, I insert my views into my personal blog. There is a distinct difference, even if you aren't bright enough to discern the difference between the two.

Anonymous said...

I have learned so much from your blogs. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

To the dumbass who made a request to "GMO Joan" at 5:35PM: You might either learn how to ask for something nicely or drag your snide sorry ass elsewhere. Kindly depart and leave the subject matter of Kauai Eclectic to Joan. Who cares what you want to read?

Anonymous said...

Why us everybody else supposed to placate a handful of organic farmers who use their own pesticides and often dishonest environmentalists? The cost to us people is way too much.

Anonymous said...

Joan, are you stoked the healthcare bill was pulled?

Joan Conrow said...

Yes, I'm glad it was pulled.

Anonymous said...

It was actually The Health Care Reduction and Top One Percent Enrichment Act of 2017 or Trump-Ryancare for short. Misanthropes both.