Hawaii Crop Improvement Association Statement on Anti-GMO Marches Across the State

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association statement on Anti-GMO Marches Across the State:

HCIA

“Organizers of these anti-GMO and evict Monsanto marches are creating a hostile environment in our communities by using scare tactics and spreading misinformation. It is not pono to rally support for an agenda by repeating myths and exaggerations to our Hawaii communities. It is also unfortunate that misleading and false claims made by these activist groups are often repeated by mainstream media without verification of their accuracy.

“We value the concerns of the public and work to address these concerns through informative and respectful dialogue based on facts and proven studies. We also respect freedom of speech; however, we believe the community would be better served if they were provided facts instead of myths and false accusations.

Some of those facts include:

  • To date, people have consumed more than 3 trillion servings of foods produced using biotechnology, without one documented case of illness resulting from these foods.
  • Seed farmers keep agricultural land in agricultural use, with plenty of land available for other farmers. Seed farmers own or lease approximately 5 percent of the available prime agricultural land in Hawaii.
  • GMOs are some of the most extensively tested and federally regulated of all crops, so we actually know more about their safety than many other types of crops, including conventional and organic.”

Alicia Maluafiti, Executive Director of Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

The Latest Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Update

The latest update from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory:

This photo looks northeast and shows Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater. Recent activity has been focused around a few spatter cones on the crater floor.

HVO1

At the far edge of the crater, a small lava pond has been active and has been the source of flows extending northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Those flows are visible at the top-center of the photo. Just below the horizon two small sources of smoke mark where the flow front is burning lichen and moss covering older ʻaʻā flows.

A closer look at the flow extending northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone is at the right edge of the photo, and view is towards the northeast.

hvo2

In the foreground, two sources of fume mark the path of the lava tube supplying lava to the flow front. In the top-left, a few sources of smoke mark where the flow margin is burning moss and lichen on older flows. Today, the flow front was just over 4 km (2.5 miles) from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

South winds permitted clear views into the south portion of the Overlook crater, which is often obscured by thick fume.

HVO3

The bright orange area is the location where lava at the surface of the lake sinks back into the system, with spattering and degassing common in this area. A broad ledge of recently deposited lava occupies much of the south portion of the crater.

Spattering is common in the area where lava sinks back into the system, and this photo shows these processes are occurring in a small grotto.

hvo4

In the right portion of the photo, the ledge occupying much of the south part of the Overlook crater is visible. Parallel lines along the front face of this ledge might appear at first glance to be layering within the ledge, but are actually thin deposits of lava that mark recent levels of the lava lake, much like bathtub rings.

 

Commentary – Open Letter to Senator Solomon on House Bill 111

Dear Senator Solomon,

I respectfully ask that you give a hearing to the Sustainable Living Research Bill (HB111). This Bill had almost unanimous support from State Representatives as it recently passed through three House committees. Among over 200 testimonials, only one was opposed. We believe it is time to give residents more tools to implement the Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan legally.

HB 111

Twenty-six years ago I co-founded ‘Bellyacres,’ an artistic ecovillage in the Puna district on the Big Island. Today, we are a demonstration model for sustainable community development. In the last year, we have been visited and praised by our County Mayor, the Chairman of our County Council and several university groups.

We have also received glowing commendations from all of our senior State leaders:

Gov. Neil Abercrombie wrote, “Bellyacres encourages renewable non-petroleum based energy, sustainable cultivation, and resource processing [and] serves as the gathering place for a community of 1200 homes and 3000 residents.”

Sen. Daniel Inouye said, “since 1987 Bellyacres has worked diligently towards building a sustainable eco-friendly community [providing] a positive enriching and safe place that helps motivate the entire community with a focus on self-sufficiency.”

Sen. Akaka commended us for “a long list of public service [with] many outstanding accomplishments.”

Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz stated “the service provided by Bellyacres for the Hawaii public is exemplary.”

Congressional Rep. Colleen Hanabusa noted that we are “an international example for artistic ecovillages due to [our] community-based, community-owned, and community-run ideals” and thanked us for being “an example of public service by encouraging a stronger community.”

Bellyacres, plus hundreds of organizations and individuals promoting sustainable development statewide, need legislative changes to allow our activities to be permitable and regulated by our County administrations.

The benefits that the Sustainable Living Research Bill (HB111) offers to the State are very clear, so please support us with this initiative.

Sustainably yours,

Graham Ellis

President, Hawaii Sustainable Community Alliance., RR2 Box 4524, Pahoa, Hi 96778, www.hawaiisustainablecommunity.org

 

Commentary – Former Mayor Harry Kim on House Bill 106

I have just been informed that HB106, calling for the repeal of Act 97, will not be scheduled for a hearing in the Senate. The bill will die if it is not scheduled for hearing by Monday, March 18. If that happens, then Act 97 will govern the development of the geothermal industry in this state.

HB 106

It is so very difficult to understand or accept that despite all of the support and testimony for HB106 for the repeal of Act 97 by people of Maui, Hawaii Island, Kauai and Oahu, which includes the County governments of Maui and Hawaii Island, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Sierra Club, Hawaii’s Thousand Friends, and many others, HB106 may not be given even an opportunity to be heard by the Senate.

It has not been an easy task to convince people that this was not about a position for or against the development of the geothermal industry. This was about doing it right, with the concerns of the people and the environment being addressed.

What does Act 97 do?

  • Allows geothermal exploration and development in all state land use categories: conservation, urban, rural, and agricultural (including ceded lands).
  • Eliminates entirely the County government’s approval and review process over geothermal development. With this goes the entire permit process and people’s opportunity for meaningful input.
  • Allows geothermal power plants to be built anywhere in urban, agricultural and rural districts without a County land use permit or public hearing because it is a right by law of Act 97.
  • Allows geothermal exploratory and development drilling in all state land use categories of conservation, urban, rural, and agricultural land with only a BLNR permit.
  • Reinforces the elimination of the people’s right to a contested case hearing.
  • States that geothermal exploration and development are permissible in all conservation, agricultural, urban and rural zones; i.e. anywhere in the state.

It is noted that the sponsors of Act 97 originally attempted to exempt exploratory geothermal wells from Ch. 343, the state EIS/EA laws. Due to opposition, they sought an exemption from EIS/EA requirements from the Office of Environmental Quality Control in May 2012, but fortunately, this effort failed. Imagine what it would be today if this had passed. Imagine the only notification that the public would have of geothermal drilling would be waking up in the morning and seeing the drilling rig! It is of concern that the supporters of Act 97 may try again.

I consider Act 97 a huge threat to Hawaii’s people and its environment. I believe that Act 97 shows a blatant disregard for the community, the environment, local units of government, and the County and State laws of zoning and land use.

It is difficult to understand or accept that sweeping land use changes were made without any care or mention of people, of land, or of lifestyle. I ask for understanding that the sadness expressed here is not just about the development of the geothermal industry. This is about the relationship between the people and their government. This is about a hope for a government that is an extension of the people, and not for special interests or financial gain. It is asked that you become aware that if Act 97 is not repealed, it will open the way to an open door policy for the development of the geothermal industry including “enhanced geothermal systems (EGS)” or “fracking,” which is now being explored by the State of Hawaii. As stated, this is not about being for or against geothermal, this is about doing it right, with the greatest care of impact on environment and people.

At this time, efforts are being made to see how we can ensure that a hearing will be scheduled on HB106 in spite of efforts to kill the bill. It is probable, due to the lateness of this writing, that the deadline of March 18 will have passed. If you are reading this before the deadline of March 18, I ask that you contact the following Senators and ask that HB106 be scheduled for hearing: Senator Malama Solomon, Chair of the Committee on Water and Land (808-586-7335); Senator Mike Gabbard, Chair of the Committee on Energy and Environment (808-586-6830), and Senator Will Espero, Chair of the Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs (808-586-6360).

HB106, that calls for the repeal of Act 97, needs your help. This Act is a blatant disrespect of people, local units of government, of lifestyle, and impact on environment. It is hoped that our government will be of fairness and do what is right by law and a sense of what is right.

Harry Kim