U.S. Court Overturns Law Limiting Biotech Crops on Kauai

A group of global biotech crop companies won a court victory on Monday that blocks enactment of a law passed last year limiting the planting of biotech crops and use of pesticides on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren of the U.S. District Court in Hawaii ruled that the law passed in November by local leaders on the island was invalid because it was pre-empted by Hawaii state law.

The Kauai law required large agricultural companies to disclose pesticide use and genetically modified (GMO) crop plantings while establishing buffer zones around schools, homes and hospitals to protect people from exposure to pesticides used on the crops…

More Here: U.S. court overturns law limiting biotech crops on Hawaiian island

 

VIDEO: NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator Successfully Launched From Kauai

NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) was successfully launched on a helium balloon today at the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii later the LDSD will be released at 120,000 feet and fire a Star 48B rocket motor to boost it to Mach 4.0 and 180,000 feet.

NASA IFO

This height and speed simulates a spacecraft flying through the Martian atmosphere and is where the air breaking systems will be tested on the LDSD vehicle.
[youtube=http://youtu.be/R0_rhvrdJVU]
LDSD is fitted with what is called SIAD-R, a giant dounaut air bag that will increase the diameter of the vehicle and help slow it down to Mach 2.5 where a supersonic parachute will deploy ahead of a safe landing in the Pacific Ocean for recovery.

Big Island Farmers File Federal Complaint About GMO Bill

We’re Standing United with Agriculture to Protect the Future of Farming in Hawaii

Papaya Trees Destroyed by Machete in Puna

Papaya Trees Destroyed by Machete in Puna

“Our organization is participating in this lawsuit because we have cause and want to stand with farmers, ranchers and growers when unfair and unnecessary laws and regulations threaten our livelihood.

“Bill 113 will make it illegal to grow some genetically modified (GM) plants, including valuable food and feed crops and flowers. By prohibiting the use of these crops that have been deemed by the government and scientific experts to be perfectly safe, Bill 113 is a direct assault on our ‘right to farm’ and essentially criminalizes those who rely on the tools of modern biotechnology to foster productivity.”

“United we stand, divided we fall”

Background:

Signed into law on December 5, 2013, Hawaii County enacted Bill 113, which imposes a county-wide ban on the development, propagation, cultivation, and open-air testing of most genetically engineered (GE) crops.

Plaintiffs represent a broad cross-section of Hawaii Island farmers and related businesses that rely on GE crops, including disease-resistant papaya, as well as technology companies that develop, test, and commercialize valuable, new GE agricultural products.

Farmers and Agriculture Associations are standing United; participating in this suit, which seeks to invalidate and enjoin the County of Hawaii from enforcing County Ordinance 13-121 (“Bill 113”).  The suit alleges that the bill:

  • is preempted under federal law
  • is preempted under state law
  • violates the Interstate Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution
  • presents a regulatory taking in violation of the HI Constitution

Plaintiffs include:

  • Hawaii Floriculture and Nursery Association
  • Hawaii Papaya Industry Association
  • Big Island Banana Growers Association
  • Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council
  • Biotechnology Industry Organization
  • Pacific Floral Exchange
  • Richard Ha
  • Jason Moniz
  • Gordon Inouye
  • Eric Tanouye

Key Points:

  • Bill 113 cripples farmers’ current and future ability to farm GE crops, imposes extreme burdens on local agriculture and violates Federal and Hawaii law.
  • Despite the central role of GE crops in modern commercial agriculture and their long history of safe use in Hawaii and around the world, Bill 113 imposes a near-blanket ban on new cultivation, propagation, development, and open-air testing of such crops in the County.

Bill 113 is backed by no findings or evidence that GE crops are in any way harmful, or in any way endanger the local environment.

Using the “precautionary principle,” Bill 113 is in direct conflict with determinations made by expert federal agencies, and seeks to outlaw agricultural activities that the federal government has specifically authorized following thorough scientific reviews.

  • Farming GE crops has also long been a generally accepted agricultural practice locally and GE crops have been vitally important to the County of Hawaii.

In the 1990s, Hawaii’s papaya industry was devastated by the ringspot virus. The development of a GE variety of papaya that is resistant to the virus is widely credited with saving the industry.

The resulting Rainbow GE variety of papaya now accounts for approximately 85 percent of papaya grown in the County and is widely sold throughout the United States and in other nations.

County farmers support federally-approved testing to develop new disease-resistant papaya and banana plants and floral varieties that resist harmful insect pests and bacteria.

  • GE crops not only help farmers, but contribute to food security for the island. By banning any use of new GE crops, Hawaii consumers can expect increases in food costs, business costs, and pesticide use.
  • If farmers in Hawaii are unable to farm efficiently and productively, more costly foods will need to be imported.
  • The State of Hawaii has deemed the promotion of “diversified agriculture” a vital public interest. This principle is enshrined in the Constitution of Hawaii, which expressly directs the State – not the counties – to conserve and protect agricultural and farming resources.

COEXISTENCE:

Individual farmers routinely incorporate multiple production practices within a single operation.  Coexistence is not about health or safety; it is about finding ways to improve working relationships when different production systems are used in close proximity.

SAFETY:

Every GE crop on the market today was thoroughly evaluated by government scientific experts, often at as many as three different federal regulatory agencies, through a complex multiyear scientific review process.

Not only have GE crops been deemed safe by expert federal agencies, but multiple other governmental and non-governmental agencies have reached the same conclusions, including the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, the European Commission, and the British Medical Association.

More than 600 peer-reviewed scientific reports document the safety of GE foods.

GENERA a project by BIOFORTIFIDE to create a searchable database to more than 2000 studies on biotechnology in Food and agriculture.

TRANSPARENCY:

We understand people have questions about how their food is grown. We need to have the discussion before we prematurely make laws that cripple the Future of Farmers and unfairly target growers using technology. While industry will stand with growers and challenge unfair and unlawful ordinances like Bill 113, we urge people to visit the GMO Answers website (http://gmoanswers.com) to get more information about the products of biotechnology.

The Rainbow Papaya that saved Hawaii’s papaya industry was genetically engineered to resist the ringspot virus. See how it was done by viewing this video on gmoanswers.com.

NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) to Test Next Week on Kauai

NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project will fly a rocket-powered, saucer-shaped test vehicle into near-space next week from the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii.

NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD)

NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD)

Briefing panelists scheduled to be on hand include:

  • U.S. Navy Capt. Bruce Hay, PMRF Commanding Officer
  • Mike Gazarik, Associate Administrator of the Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, Washington
  • Mark Adler, LDSD Project Manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California
  • Ian Clark, LDSD principal investigator at JPL

NASA has identified six potential dates for launch of the high-altitude balloon carrying the LDSD experiment: June 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13. Decisions to attempt launch of the LDSD test will be made the day before each launch opportunity date.

U.S. Navy Launches Missile From Kauai Test Site

The US. Navy conducted a missile test off Kauai yesterday:

The Aegis Ashore Weapon System launched an SM-3 Block IB guided missile from the land-based Vertical Launch System during a Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Navy test from Kauai, Hawaii on May 20, 2014.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/R9a12iPEis0]

Learn more about Aegis Ashore by visiting the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Site.

$2.2 Million in Safe Routes to School Grants Awarded

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) is pleased to announce the following Safe Routes To School (SRTS) grant awards. Applications were received and grants awarded in each county statewide.

Safe Routes

Applications for these projects were submitted during HDOT’s third round call for applications for SRTS federal funds provided by the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). SRTS grants are awarded in two categories: Non-Infrastructure and Infrastructure Projects.

Non-Infrastructure Projects:

  • Fern Elementary School, Oahu, was awarded $46,933 for the Fern Elementary School SRTS Project. The project will consist of pedestrian and bicycle safety education, a walking school bus program, and school meetings and flyers to educate parents and neighbors of Fern Elementary School. In addition, the project will include a media campaign of 30-second radio spots written and recorded by students.
  • PATH – Peoples Advocacy for Trails Hawaii, a non-profit organization, was awarded $20,094 for the Putting Our Plans to Work Project. The project will provide bicycle education at West Hawaii Explorations Academy and pedestrian education, bicycle education and sign waving at Keonepoko Elementary School. Also, the project will establish new walking school bus routes at Waimea Elementary School and Waikoloa Elementary School on Hawaii Island.
  • The University of Hawaii at Manoa Office of Public Health Studies was awarded $24,630 for the Get Fit Kauai SRTS Project. The project will consist of bicycle education at Kapaa Elementary School and King Kaumualii Elementary School, as well as a comprehensive media plan that will include print and radio.

Infrastructure Projects:

  • The County of Kauai Public Works Department was awarded $251,500 for the Island-Wide Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) Crosswalks and Sidewalk Improvements Project. The Project will install RRFB systems near Kalaheo Elementary School, Kekaha Elementary School and Kapaa Middle School. In addition, a new sidewalk will be constructed along the east side of Alae Road from Kaumualii Highway to Iwipolena Street near Kekaha Elementary School.
  • The County of Kauai Public Works Department was awarded $416,540 for the King Kaumualii SRTS Phase 1 Project. The project will install RRFB systems at two existing school crosswalks on Hanamaulu Road. The project will also construct new sidewalks along Hoohana Street from Laukona Street to Akuili Street, Akuili Street from Hoohana Street to Hanamaulu Road, and the north-side of Hanamaulu Road from King Kaumualii Elementary to Hanamaulu Place. In addition, a new median on Hanamaulu Road at the school entrance and a striped crosswalk at the school exit will be provided.
  • The County of Kauai Public Works Department was awarded $490,875 for the Koloa Safe Routes Phase 2 Project. The project will replace the existing sidewalk on Poipu Road fronting Koloa Elementary School, construct new sidewalk on the east-side of Poipu Road from Waikomo Road to Blakes Lane, and extend the existing sidewalk on Paanau Road west to Hikina Road. The project will also extend existing bike lanes on Poipu Road from Koloa Road to Waikomo Road and from Blakes Lane approximately 1,000 feet south.
  • The County of Maui Public Works Department was awarded $502,443 for the Paia School Frontage Improvements Project. The project will construct new sidewalk along the south-side of Baldwin Avenue from Anohou Street to Paia Gym, and the frontage of Paia School. The project will also provide a new sidewalk from the alleyway off the Haawina Street and Palekana Street intersection within Skill Village to the existing Paia Gym parking lot.
  • The County of Maui Public Works Department was awarded $455,495 for the Paia School Sidewalk Improvements Project. The project will replace and widen the existing sidewalk from Paia Gym to Paia School.

SRTS is an international effort to increase safety and promote walking and bicycling to and from school. The federally-funded SRTS program was established by Section 1404 of SAFETEA-LU and signed into law in 2005. For more information on the SRTS federal program in Hawaii, please visit http://hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/safe-routes-to-school-program/.

Search for Possible Missing Kayaker Near Kauai

The Coast Guard is searching for a possible missing kayaker approximately half a mile northeast of Kilauea Point on the north shore of Kauai, Saturday.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Station Kauai received a call at 11:11 a.m. from a good Samaritan on shore stating that she noticed an unmanned, adrift yellow kayak in the area.

The Kauai Fire Department located the kayak with dive gear that included fins, a wet suit, paddle and weights aboard. The Fire Department searched in the vicinity of the kayak and found no one in distress.

KayakThe kayak is approximately 15 feet long with the words “KAYAKKAUAI.COM” and “OCEAN KAYAK,” and a single line hanging off the side. There are no other markings on the kayak.

A 47-foot Motor Lifeboat crew from Station Kauai is actively searching the area.

No one has been reported missing or in distress in the area.

The Coast Guard advises the public to register and label all watercraft and equipment with contact information in order to quickly account for owners and prevent any unnecessary searches.

Through the Operation Paddle Smart program, the Coast Guard offers a free “If Found” decal to be placed in a visible location on small, human-powered watercraft. The information on the sticker can allow response entities to quickly identify the vessel’s owner and aid search and rescue planners in determining the best course of action.

The stickers can be obtained for free at local harbormasters, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, from Honolulu Sail and Power Squadron offices and at select marine retail and supply stores.

The Coast Guard is asking mariners to keep a sharp eye out for anyone possibly in distress.

Anyone with information can help identify the owner of the kayak is asked to contact the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center at (808) 842-2600.

Collaboration Between the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy and Wilcox Hospital Formed to Help Combat Infectious Diseases on Kaua`i

A collaboration between the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy and Wilcox Hospital has formed Hawai’i’s first interdisciplinary Antimicrobial Stewardship Program (ASP) to help combat infectious diseases on Kaua`i.

UH Hilo MonikerASPs are programs designed to improve the utilization of appropriate antibiotics with the goals of improving patient outcomes and lowering healthcare associated costs, as well as slowing the development of antimicrobial resistance.

“The management of infectious diseases is a constant arms race, and, as medication experts, pharmacists are uniquely qualified to help drive ASPs,” said Roy Goo, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice, who is based on Kaua`i. “As new antimicrobial agents are developed, bacterial, viral and fungal organisms evolve with new resistance mechanisms that confer immunity to even our best medications. Even with proper medication, it is estimated that 50 percent of antibiotics are used inappropriately.

“The practice of infectious diseases is the art of using only what is necessary to cure the infection and nothing more,” added Goo. “One of the basic principles of infectious diseases is the more antimicrobial agents we use, the faster resistance develops.” He points out that in recent years multiple strains of bacteria have arisen that are resistant to all currently available antibiotics.

In Hawaiʻi, Goo shows how the College of Pharmacy has played an integral role in the development of these programs across the State. With support from Wilcox Hospital’s inpatient pharmacy department and the hospital’s infectious disease physician Dr. Jimmy Yoon, students screen for patients who are on high-cost or high-risk antimicrobials. They then assess the appropriateness of the antimicrobial regimen for each patient and present their recommendations to the entire infectious disease team, who makes changes to optimize therapy.

“The Center for Disease Control strongly recommends that hospitals perform some form of antimicrobial stewardship, and it is likely that it will become mandated by the Center for Medicare/ Medicaid Services (CMS) in a couple of years,” Yoon said. “At Wilcox Memorial Hospital, we like to be ahead of the curve. Right now we are lucky that we have very few resistant bacteria, and we want to keep it that way. There is a clear correlation between bacterial resistance and increased morbidity and mortality as well as healthcare costs.”

Recognizing the importance of training pharmacists to fill this growing need, Yoon often spends time with students and tests them on their drug knowledge. Students consult with members of Wilcox Memorial Hospital’s Radiology staff, who also volunteer their time to go over chest X-rays and other imaging studies to point out abnormalities that serve as possible indications of infection.

“The drug pipeline for antimicrobial agents is dry so we need to save the agents that we have,” Yoon said. “My anticipation is that for pharmacists this is going to be a huge area for growth.”

This positive experience has led to other collaborative programs at Straub Hospital and Pali Momi Medical Center (PMMC) on O`ahu. Pharmacist Melissa Yoneda, a DKICP alumni from the Class of 2013, is currently helping to establish a pharmacy-driven ASP at PMMC in collaboration with the PMMC pharmacy, nursing and physician staff.

The release of an ASP module and guidance statement from the CDC indicates that ASPs will likely become a requirement across the United States. Certain states such as California have already made it mandatory that hospitals that enjoy Medicare reimbursement have an established ASP in place.

Rescue Crews Find Missing Fisherman Safe Off Kauai

A fisherman who spent the night off the coast of Kauai is safe after Coast Guard rescue crews located him five miles off of Kapa’a, Kauai, Thursday.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center received a call at 8:30 p.m., Wednesday, from a man reporting that his friend was overdue on his 14-foot Boston Whaler. The 61-year-old fisherman departed from the Waikaea Canal in Kapa’a, Kauai earlier in the day to fish a few miles off of Kapa’a with group of other fishing boats.

Waikaea Canal

Waikaea Canal

Coast Guard Sector Honolulu launched a 47-Motor Life Boat crew from Station Kauai, the 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Kittiwake, a C-130 Hercules airplane crew and two MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point to search for the man.

An urgent marine information broadcast was also issued to all mariners in the area, asking for their assistance in locating the missing mariner.

The Kauai Fire Department and Kauai Police Department also joined the search.

At 8:09 a.m., one of the Dolphin helicopter crews located the fisherman and directed the MLB crew to the fisherman’s position. He was safely escorted back to Kapa’a Harbor.

The search covered nearly 2,000 square miles.

“If the mariner had a VHF radio on board, he likely would have overheard the Coast Guard’s Urgent Marine Information Broadcast being transmitted on Ch. 16 looking for him.” said Petty Officer 1st Class Tyler Peterson, an operational watchstander at the Sector Honolulu command center. “He then could have contacted the Coast Guard or other mariners for assistance.”

The mariner reported hearing a helicopter but the light he was flashing was not seen by rescue crews due to the weather conditions. He was not equipped with a VHF marine radio, GPS, compass or signal flares.

The Coast Guard advises all mariners to ensure they are property equipped before heading out. This includes having life jackets, a VHF marine radio, flares and a compass or GPS.

For more information on boating safety, mariners can visit www.uscgboating.org

Wanted – Dogs Killing Albatrosses

The Department of Land and Natural Resources is asking for the public‘s help in identifying the owner(s) of two dogs recently seen attacking ground-nesting Laysan albatrosses in Moloa’a, Kauai.

Have seen these dogs in the Moloa`a area …

Have seen these dogs in the Moloa`a area …

They were photographed and the image is posted on fliers that are being distributed in the community, starting Friday.

Since December, a string of albatross killings has been reported at two coastal properties on the northeast shores of Kauai.  A total of 17 birds were found mauled to death at Moloaa by dogs this season.

Moloaa Bay Albatross Kill Flier

The total number of albatross killed on Kauai this season is 26 birds. The other deaths (9 birds) are from another property nearby.

Any person with who recognizes the dogs or knows who the dogs’ owners are, is asked to  please call the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife at 274-3521 or 274-3433.  After hours, weekends and holidays, please call the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) Hotline at 1-808-453-6780.

Please help protect Kauai’s seabirds by keeping your pet dogs on leash or kenneled. Stay on walking paths and observe seabird nesting signs.

Falko Property Moli Massacre

Falko Property Moli Massacre

Lawsuits Begin… GMO Companies Sue County of Kauai

The Honolulu Advertiser has announced that 3 companies have now filed lawsuits against Kauai Counties legislation against GMO and the restricted use of pesticides.

Syngenta, Pioneer Hi-Bred and Agrigenetics — an affiliate of Dow — have sued to block Kauai County from implementing its new genetically modified organism and pesticide regulation law.

The law, which takes effect in August, imposes greater disclosure requirements on restricted use pesticides and creates buffer zones for crops near schools, homes, and hospitals.

The lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court, contends that the law irrationally prohibits the biotechnology companies from growing any crops — GMO or not — in arbitrarily drawn buffer zones, and restricts the companies’ pesticide use within the buffer zones.

More Here:  http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/breaking/20140111_3_companies_sue_to_block_Kauais_new_law_on_GMOs_pesticides.html?id=239768391

Hawaii Agriculture Theft a Problem – Hawai’i Law Seeks To Reduce Increasing Problem

The Hawai’i Forest Industry Association (HFIA) encourages farmers, ranchers and the public to know the law regarding ownership and movement of agricultural commodities.

Hawai’i law requires ownership and movement certification on any amount of an agricultural commodity that is to be marketed for commercial purposes or when transporting agricultural commodities weighing more than 200 pounds or with a value of $100 or more.

In testifying for passage of the law, the Hawai’i Farm Bureau Federation wrote, “Everyone knows farming is inherently risky. There are no guarantees of a successful crop. Besides being vulnerable to invasive pests and diseases, erratic weather patterns, and multi-year droughts, high land, labor, fuel, and other farm costs leave us unable to compete with mainland prices. On top of this, farmers are highly susceptible to theft. Our location and relatively large acreage, usually in more remote areas and impossible to guard 24 hours a day, leave us open to thieves that reap the benefit of our hard work or vandals that destroy our crops for kicks.”

The law requires that those convicted of agricultural theft face criminal penalties and pay restitution to their victims in an amount equal to the value of what was stolen as well as the cost of replanting.

A slab was brutally cut from this koa tree, which subsequently killed the tree in Kōke'e State Park, Kauai

A slab was brutally cut from this koa tree, which subsequently killed the tree in Kōke’e State Park, Kauai

In October 2013 Kaua’i’s The Garden Island newspaper reported on koa trees cut down by poachers. In the article Deborah Ward, the information specialist for the Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources, said “DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement is investigating recent cases of theft of koa at Kōke’e State Park, as well as other pending cases. The majority of thefts have been on State Parks lands, most recently last week on park land, and in June 2013 in the Nā Pali-Kona Forest Reserve.”

From the theft of exotic fruit and native Kou trees on Hawai’i Island to pineapple by the truckload on Maui to valuable landscaping plants on O’ahu, agricultural theft costs farmers and ranchers millions of dollars annually. Losses also occur from vandalism and illegal hunting and cattle poaching on private lands. These costs are ultimately passed on to consumers.

Hawai’i Forest Industry Association encourages anyone suspecting agricultural theft to contact their local police department to report the crime.

 

Three Laysan Albatross Killed on North Shore of Kauai by Loose Dogs

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is issuing a reminder to pet owners to keep all dogs on leash, after three Laysan Albatross (or Moli) were killed on the North shore of Kaua‘i this weekend in the latest incident where albatross have been slaughtered by loose dogs. The dead albatross, which have only just started returning to Kaua‘i after many months out at sea, were found by tourists walking near Moloa‘a Bay.

Photo credit: Gina Ord (Dead Albatross)

Photo credit: Gina Ord (Dead Albatross)

The Laysan Albatross is listed as near threatened under the IUCN Red List and is a federally protected species. They have only recently recolonized Kaua‘i after a lengthy period of absence and their population has slowly increased on the island in recent years. They face a number of threats including by catch in long-line fisheries, ingestion of plastics and predation by introduced mammals, particularly dogs. In recent years there have been a number of incidents where dogs have gotten into albatross colonies and killed large numbers of nesting birds.

“Yet again, protected seabirds have been killed on Kaua‘i by dogs that have been allowed to roam off their leads,” said Thomas Ka‘iakapu, DLNR Kaua‘i Wildlife manager. “Considering that these albatross can live to be over 60 years old, it is particularly tragic to see them torn apart by dogs simply because a dog owner has been irresponsible.”

Two of the three birds were marked with unique identification codes. One, KP341, was a male bird that had been banded in 2007. It was one of a pair of albatross that are known to be the first pair to lay their egg on Kaua‘i each year. The second bird, P009, was banded at the Pacific Missile Range Testing Facility on the South Shore.

“We are asking dog owners to be responsible with their pets when walking along our coastal areas”, said Ka‘iakapu. “The message is simple – keep your dogs under control and on their leads. That way we can prevent these kinds of incidents from happening over and over again.”

 

Coast Guard Locates Boaters Who Were in Possible Distress Off Kauai

Two boaters who were in possible distress off Kalalau Beach, Kauai, were located safely ashore Tuesday.

The Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center received the initial report at 6:30 p.m. Monday from a concerned hiker who observed two people in a small inflatable boat with an outboard engine striking a reef just off the beach. The boaters then attempted to hand paddle their black 8-foot inflatable boat out to sea toward Haena Beach Park. The boaters were observed unsuccessfully attempting to restart their engine. They were later able to restart their engine and returned to shore.

Coast Guard Station Kauai coordinated efforts with the Kauai Police and Fire Departments to check boat ramps and landing areas along the coast. An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Barbers Point was launched at 10:30 p.m. and began searching. The Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island, home ported in Honolulu, arrived on the Napali Coast at 6 a.m. Tuesday to join the search effort.

The Coast Guard advises all mariners to carry safety equipment to include a VHF radio, flares and life jackets. For more information about boating safety, visit www.uscgboating.org.

 

Coast Guard Seeking Public’s Help in Identifying Two Boaters Possibly in Distress off Kauai

The Coast Guard is seeking the public’s help in identifying two boaters who were seen in a possible distress situation off Kalalau Beach, Kauai Monday.

The Coast Guard Sector Command Center received a call at 6:30 p.m. from a concerned hiker who observed two people in a small inflatable boat with an outboard engine striking a reef just off the beach. The boaters then attempted to hand paddle their black 8-foot inflatable boat out to sea toward Haena Beach Park.  The boaters were observed unsuccessfully attempting to restart their engine.

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter

Coast Guard Station Kauai coordinated efforts with the Kauai Police and Fire Departments to check boat ramps and landing areas along the coast to verify the safety of the two men, but have yet to find anyone matching the description. An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Barbers Point was launched at 10:30 p.m. and began searching for the boat, but could not locate them. The Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island, home ported in Honolulu, arrived on the Napali Coast at 6 a.m. Tuesday to join the ongoing search effort.

Anyone with information regarding the two boaters’ whereabouts or safety is requested to contact the Coast Guard Command Center immediately at (808) 842-2600.

Workshops for Backyard Egg Farmers Scheduled – Federal and State Regulations Apply for Eggs for Sale

A series of workshops have been scheduled to educate the growing number of Hawaii residents who are raising backyard poultry and selling eggs to friends, family and in some instances, the public.  Many are not aware that if they sell their eggs, they must follow federal and state regulations to ensure good food safety practices. Buyers should also know the regulations so they may purchase eggs that are properly handled.

Egg Workshop

Workshops to educate backyard farmers have been scheduled for Kauai, Molokai, Kona and Hilo in the month of November in a collaborative effort between the Hawaii Departments of Health and Agriculture and the University of Hawaii’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.

Dates, Times & Locations:

The workshop will cover topics such as:

  • Candling and grading of eggs
  • Washing and good handling practices
  • Packaging and labeling
  • Compliance with federal and state laws
  • Resources for the backyard egg farmer

Farmers are encouraged to bring their eggs to the workshop.

For workshop information, contact:  Lynn Nakamura-Tengan on Maui at 808-244-3242 ext. 222 or e-mail:  lynnnaka@hawaii.edu

State Develops Voluntary Guidelines for Pesticides Use on Kauai

The Pesticides Branch of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) has completed voluntary pesticide-use guidelines and established the “Kauai Agricultural Good Neighbor Program” to provide more information and education on pesticide use on the island.

Good Neighbor Program

Click to view the report

The voluntary pesticide-use guideline will go into effect on Dec. 1, 2013. It will apply to the five agricultural companies mentioned in Kauai County Bill 2491 (Dow AgroSciences, Pioneer, Syngenta, BASF, and Kauai Coffee Company) and assures that adequate buffer zones are in place when restricted-use pesticides (RUP) are applied.

The voluntary guidelines are in addition to federal guidelines established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“The department used existing federal worker protection standards and increased buffer zones to provide extra protection for residents in areas surrounding these farming operations,” said HDOA Deputy Scott Enright. “We will also be requesting that the Legislature establish 10 additional inspector and pesticide education positions statewide in this upcoming legislative session.”

Under the Kauai Agricultural Good Neighbor Program, neighbors who are located nearest to the farm operations will be the primary focus of continuing outreach efforts to provide information on pesticide use and to discuss any concerns.

Under the Voluntary RUP Notice section of the program, the guidelines will register schools, hospitals and medical clinics that are within 1,000 feet of the farming operations so they may receive a weekly schedule of any planned RUP application near their property. Registered entities will also be notified at least 24 hours in advance should there be any change in the weekly RUP application schedule.

The guidelines also require a 100-foot buffer zone between application areas and schools, medical facilities and residential properties, unless the EPA regulations are stricter. By law, all requirements found on the pesticide label must be followed.

The companies are also required to file a monthly report on RUP use with HDOA’s Pesticides Branch. The report will be available for public viewing at the state’s Open Data portal: https://data.hawaii.gov

The program will be assessed after one year.

Kauai Mayor Vetoes GMO Ban on Kauai – Statement From Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

HCIA

We commend Mayor Carvalho for his decision to veto Bill 2491 and for recognizing that the measure was severely flawed and would do more harm than good for Kauai County.

We thank the Mayor for his leadership in giving thoughtful consideration to balancing the issues raised in Bill 2491. This measure, although intended to be good for the community, would have had long-term negative effects on all agriculture in Kauai and our state, not just the seed industry or big agriculture.

These past several months have been difficult for Kauai. Bill 2491 has divided us – families, friends and neighbors – for far too long. It is time that we come together and do what the people of Hawaii have done for so long – ho’oponono, work together for a better Kauai.

Since this measure was introduced, the public debate has been loud, emotional and often filled with fear, rather than fact. As responsible stewards of the land, we take pride in growing the seeds that help farmers all over the world grow safe, healthy and affordable food for all people. We care for the land and the people of Kauai and are committed to transparency, being good neighbors and working with the community.

We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the Mayor and the Council on how to address the concerns of the community and continue to support a voluntary program to address these concerns.

Alicia Maluafiti, Executive Director Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

 

Study Proves Cancer Cases NOT HIGHER on Kauai Then the Rest of the State of Hawaii

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) jointly with the Hawaii Tumor Registry and University of Hawaii Cancer Center is releasing an evaluation of the incidence of cancer on Kauai and each of its census tracts. The evaluation found that there is not a higher incidence of cancer on Kauai compared to the rest of the state; except for melanoma of the skin, a cancer related to ultraviolet exposure.

The evaluation was conducted at the request of Kauai legislators and community members in response to concerns about the health impact of pesticides used by agricultural chemical companies.

Kauai Cancer Report

Click to view the full report

The analysis found that cancers of the breast, endometrium, Hodgkin lymphoma, liver, ovary, prostate and thyroid were lower on Kauai compared to the entire state of Hawaii. Higher rates of melanoma on Kauai were found and may be explained by a larger proportion of older adults of Caucasian ancestry with high levels of lifetime sun exposure residing in the northern region of Kauai.

“Cancer clusters are rare, especially those that are linked to environmental exposures. Doctors and scientists often cannot explain why one person develops cancer and another does not,” said Dr. Barbara Brooks, DOH Toxicologist.

Cancer may be caused by a variety of factors acting alone or together, usually over a period of many years. These risk factors include age, family history and exposures to viruses and bacteria, lifestyle choices, sunlight exposure and on the job exposure to chemicals.

Of the more than 12,000 cancer deaths in Hawaii between 2000 and 2005, it is estimated that nearly 30 percent could have been prevented by avoiding tobacco use and up to 35 percent could have been averted by improving nutrition and maintaining a normal body weight. Geographic, economic, and educational barriers and other social inequities influence lifestyle factors that increase a person’s chance of developing cancer.

Health Director Loretta Fuddy said, “DOH through its Foundations for Healthy Generations Initiative is committed to addressing the social conditions and physical environments where people live, work and play in order to improve the health of all groups in Hawaii.”

The Hawaii Tumor Registry conducts cancer surveillance and maintains a confidential database of information on all reportable cases of cancer, benign brain tumors and many blood disorders diagnosed in Hawaii. The Registry is jointly operated by the University of Hawaii Cancer Center and DOH.

The DOH Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response Office provides leadership, support, and partnership in preventing, planning for, responding to, and enforcing environmental laws relating to releases or threats of releases of hazardous substances.

The full evaluation report is available on the DOH website at www.health.hawaii.gov.

 

Governor Works with Kauai Legislators to Address Community Concerns on Pesticides

Gov. Neil Abercrombie, together with members of the Kauai Legislative Delegation, today announced that the state would be putting forth standards and guidelines for seed/diversified agriculture companies to voluntarily comply with certain health and safety requests of the community. The guidelines will include disclosure of aggregated usage of restricted use pesticides and implementation of a setback from schools and hospitals.

abercrombieheader

“Kauai legislators and members of my administration have been discussing current issues regarding agriculture on the island of Kauai, including residents being informed about activities in their immediate area,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “We collaborated with the Kauai Delegation and farmers about taking steps to address the concerns of the community, including providing disclosure of use of pesticides and creating buffer zones around schools and hospitals. Farmers will comply on a voluntary basis with temporary standards until such time as department heads and stakeholders can develop necessary rules or legislation for next session.”

Kauai Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho, Jr. and Kauai County Council Chair Jay Furfaro have been notified of these intentions.

Earlier this year, the Legislature passed House Bill 673, which the Governor in June signed into law as Act 105, requiring the state Department of Agriculture to post certain information regarding restricted use pesticides on its website. The act also requires the Hawaii Legislative Reference Bureau to conduct a study on other states’ reporting requirements for non-restricted use pesticides.

“We believe that this law, in addition to existing usage requirements posted on pesticide labels, will help to address the concerns raised as they pertain to pesticide use and transparency,” Gov. Abercrombie added. “In January, we can look into codifying law regarding disclosure and setback requirements in the context of protection of public health and safety.”

The Governor also stated that he would work with the Legislature to restore positions within and seek additional funding for the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health’s Environmental Health Administration, particularly for the neighbor islands, to address pesticide compliance and conduct inspections regarding pesticide contamination, and ensure that inspections are conducted in a timely manner.