“Chronology of GMO Ban Legislation in County of Hawaii” By Councilwoman Margaret Wille

Councilwoman Margaret Wille

Councilwoman Margaret Wille

Councilwoman Margaret Wille posted the following chronology of the GMO Ban Legislation in the County of Hawaii on her Facebook site tonight:

Bill 79
May 14, 2013 Public Safety & Mass Transit Committee: Meeting recessed with no action taken to May 29, 2013.

May 29, 2013 Public Safety & Mass Transit Committee: Postponed Bill 79, and motion to amend with the contents of comm. 271.146, to a Special meeting to be held on July 2, 2013 in Kona.

July 2 & 3, 2013 Public Safety & Mass Transit Committee: 2 full days of testimony. Meeting recessed to July 30, 2013; no action taken on Bill 79 (Comm. 271.146 was withdrawn).

July 30, 2013 Public Safety & Mass Transit Committee: Cancelled due to tropical storm Flossie

August 6, 2013 Public Safety & Mass Transit Committee: Bill 79 withdrawn by Council Member Margaret Wille to reintroduce the bill in a cleaner format.

Bill 113
Sept. 4, 2013 Public Safety & Mass Transit Committee: Meeting recessed to Sept 6, 2013; no action taken on Bill 113

Sept. 6, 2013 Public Safety & Mass Transit Committee: Meeting recessed to Sept 23, 2013; no action taken on Bill 113

Sept. 23, 2013 Public Safety & Mass Transit Committee: Experts on subject matter were called to share their expert opinions. Meeting recessed to Oct 1, 2013; no action taken on Bill 113.

Oct 1, 2013 Public Safety & Mass Transit Committee: Motion to amend with the contents of Comm. 393.51. Motion passed. Committee recommends passage of Bill 113, as amended to Draft 2, on first reading. 6 ayes, 2 noes, 1 absent and excused. Moves to Oct 16 Special Council meeting. Councilmembers voting no were Gregor Ilegan and Chairman J Yoshimoto. Councilmember Dennis “Fresh” Onishi was absent..

Oct 15, 2013 Special Council meeting: 4pm – 10 pm public testimony. 10 pm -10:30 pm Council discussion on Bill 113, Draft 2. Meeting recessed until Oct 16, 2013 at 1PM

Oct 16, 2013 Special Council meeting reconvened. Motion to amend Bill 113, Draft 2 with the contents of Comm. 393.68. Motion passed. Council discussed Bill 113, Draft 2 as amended. Bill 113, Draft 2 as amended passed first Council reading with vote of 6 ayes, 2 noes and 1 absent and excused. Motion passed. Committee recommends passage of Bill 113, as amended to Draft 2, on first reading: 6 ayes, 2 noes, 1 absent and excused. Moves to Oct 16 Special Council meeting. Councilmembers voting no were Gregor Ilegan and Dennis “Fresh” Onishi. Councilmember Zendo Kern was absent due to illness. Moves to November 6, 2013 Council meeting for second and final reading.

Communication 394
Discussion and formation of an Ad Hoc Committee relating to Genetically Engineered Crops and Plants. This has been postponed to Call of the Chair because an Ad-Hoc Committee cannot be formed at the same time that Bill 113 is being discussed.

Councilwoman Wille Continued in her next post:

Here is Bill 113 Draft 3, that passed the Council on October 16th. One more reading – on November 6th. I know it is not perfect — but solid enough to survive Kenoi administration’s scrutiny and hold up under anticipated legal and state level assaults.

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 14 OF THE HAWAI‘I COUNTY CODE 1983 (2005 EDITION, AS AMENDED), BY ADDING A NEW ARTICLE RELATING TO GENETICALLY ENGINEERED CROPS AND PLANTS.

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE COUNTY OF HAWAI‘I:

SECTION 1. Findings.
(1) The public trust doctrine is memorialized in the Hawai‘i State Constitution, Article XI, Section 1 “Conservation and Development of Resources,” and in the Charter of the County of Hawai‘i, Article XIII, Section 13-29 “Conservation of Natural and Cultural Resources.” Pursuant to the public trust doctrine, our natural resources, including land and water, are entrusted to our care for the benefit of both current and future generations. The county government in its trustee capacity is subject to the precautionary principle and therefore must exercise a higher level of scrutiny in establishing reasonable measures and making appropriate assessments in order to avoid harmful impacts to our public trust resources. The Council therefore recognizes the right of the people and their government to guard against the intrusion of potential contaminants and prevent the contamination of non-genetically engineered crops, plants and lands by genetically engineered crops and plants without having to first wait for definitive science. As the United States Supreme Court made clear in Maine vs. Taylor (1986), the government is not required “to sit idly by and wait until potentially irreversible environmental damage has occurred or until the scientific community agrees on what disease organisms are or are not dangerous before it acts to avoid such consequences.” In this context the precautionary principle requires that if a new technology poses threats of harm to human or environmental health, the burden of proof is on the promoter of the technology to demonstrate that the technology is safe, not on the public or governments to demonstrate that the technology is unsafe;
(2) The Council finds that policies relating to agricultural practices are most appropriate to be determined by each county of the State of Hawai‘i given the island-by-island variation in customary and generally accepted agricultural practices and opportunities, the variation in topography and land ownership patterns, and in light of the natural geographic ocean barriers that allow for these distinctions.
(3) The Council finds that optimizing a local agricultural policy that promotes non- genetically engineered crops and seeds along with eco-friendly agricultural practices affords the County of Hawai‘i a unique economic opportunity to capture a niche market for non-genetically engineered produce, seeds, and meats. Optimizing this opportunity is consistent with the Hawai‘i County General Plan (Economic policies 2.2(h)): “Promote and develop the island of Hawai‘i into a unique scientific and cultural model, where economic gains are in balance with social and physical amenities. Development should be reviewed on the basis of total impact on the residents of the County, not only in terms of immediate short run economic benefits.”
(4) The Council finds it is important to protect the rights of farmers engaged in non- genetically engineered crop cultivation from the uncontrolled spread of genetically engineered organisms and associated pesticides.
(5) The Council finds that an expanded exemption for genetically engineered papaya is reasonable and appropriate because the genetic modification of papaya over the past decade has become so pervasive across this island that restricting cultivation of genetically engineered papaya would be near impossible at this time, the likelihood of genetically engineered cross pollination of papaya is reduced given the customary controlled manner of propagation, and in light of the substantial investment in controlled testing of this one crop over the past decade as the means of choice to address certain papaya diseases.

SECTION 2. Authority. The Council finds that its authority to impose restrictions on the cultivation, propagation, development, and testing of genetically engineered crops and plants to protect public and private property as well as surface waters, vulnerable watersheds, and our Island’s coastal waters, is granted to it by:

(1) The Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, Section 46-1.5(13), which states: “Each county shall have the power to enact ordinances deemed necessary to protect health, life, and property, and to preserve the order and security of the county and its inhabitants on any subject or matter not inconsistent with, or tending to defeat, the intent of any state statute where the statute does not disclose an express or implied intent that the statute shall be exclusive or uniform throughout the State.”;
(2) The Hawai‘i State Constitution, Article XI, Section 9 “Environmental Rights,” which states: “Each person has the right to a clean and healthful environment, as defined by laws relating to environmental quality, including control of pollution and conservation, protection and enhancement of natural resources. Any person may enforce this right against any party, public or private, through appropriate legal proceedings, subject to reasonable limitations and regulation as provided by law.”
SECTION 3. Chapter 14 of the Hawai‘i County Code 1983 (2005 Edition, as amended) is amended by adding a new article to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

“Article __. Restriction of Genetically Engineered Crops and Plants.

Section 14-__. Purpose.
The purpose of this article is to protect Hawai‘i Island’s non-genetically modified agricultural crops and plants from genetically modified organism cross pollination and to preserve Hawai‘i Island’s unique and vulnerable ecosystem while promoting the cultural heritage of indigenous agricultural practices. The prohibition of open air cultivation, propagation, development, or testing of genetically engineered crops and plants is intended to prevent the transfer and uncontrolled spread of genetically engineered organisms on to private property, public lands, and waterways.

Section 14-__. Definitions.
As used in this article, unless otherwise specified:
“Genetically engineered” means an organism that has been modified at the molecular or cellular level by means that are not possible under natural conditions or processes. Such means include recombinant DNA and RNA techniques, cell fusion, microencapsulation, macroencapsulation gene deletion and doubling, introducing a foreign gene, and changing the position of genes. Such organisms are sometimes referred to as “genetically modified organisms” or “transgenic organisms.” Genetically engineered or genetically modified crops and plants include crops and plants for human consumption or for any other purpose. Genetic engineering does not include modification that consists exclusively of breeding, conjugation, fermentation, hybridization, in vitro fertilization, or tissue culture.
“Open air” means a location or facility that is not enclosed in a greenhouse or in another completely enclosed structure so as to prevent the uncontrolled spread of genetically engineered organisms.
“Person” includes natural persons, partnerships, joint ventures, societies, associations, clubs, trustees, trusts, or corporations or any officer, agent, employee, or any other personal representative thereof, in any capacity, acting either for himself, his heirs, or for any other person under personal appointment pursuant to law.
“Plant pestilence” means a virulent plant disease or infestation that is causing substantial harm to one or more crops or plants.
“Register” or “Registration” means registration by persons engaged in the cultivation, propagation, development, or indoor testing of genetically engineered crops or plants. Registration shall include: the tax map key and the council district of the property or properties; a detailed description of the location on the property where genetically engineered crops or plants are being cultivated, propagated, developed, or tested, which description shall include the size of the location and scope of usage; the name of the owner of the property or properties; the lessee or any other party in control of the genetically engineered plant or crop operation or usage; the type of genetically modified organism or transgenic manipulation used; the produce or products involved; the type, frequency, and customary amount of pesticides, inclusive of herbicides and insecticides, used; a description of any containment procedures employed; and relevant contact information.

Section 14-__. Prohibition.
No person shall knowingly engage in the open air cultivation, propagation, development, or testing of genetically engineered crops or plants.

Section 14-__. Exemptions.
The following persons shall be exempt from the provisions of this article:
(1) Persons engaged in the open air cultivation, propagation, or development of genetically engineered crops or plants, other than genetically engineered papaya, but only in those specific locations where genetically engineered crops or plants have been customarily open air cultivated, propagated, or developed by that person prior to the effective date of this article, provided that those specific locations or facilities are registered within ninety days of the effective date of this article; and
(2) Any person engaged in the open air cultivation, propagation, or development of genetically engineered papaya, whether prior or subsequent to the effective date of this article, provided that each location or facility wherein open air cultivation, propagation, or development of genetically engineered papaya occurs or will occur is registered as provided in this article.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, these exemptions shall not allow for open air testing of genetically engineered organisms of any kind.

Section 14-___. Emergency exemption.
(a) A person who is engaged in the cultivation, propagation, or development of a non-genetically engineered crop or plant that is being harmed by a plant pestilence as defined in this article may apply to the council for an emergency exemption from the provisions of this article to use a genetically engineered remedy. The council may grant an emergency exemption by way of resolution, provided the council makes an affirmative finding that:
1) The cited plant pestilence is causing substantial harm to that person’s crop or plant;
2) There is no other available alternative solution; and
3) All available measures will be undertaken to insure that non-genetically engineered crops and plants, as well as neighboring properties and any water sources, will be protected from contamination or any other potentially adverse effects that may be caused by the genetically engineered organism or associated pesticides.
(b) Any exemption granted pursuant to subsection (a) shall include reasonable restrictions and conditions, including, but not limited to, full compliance with the registration requirements of this article and that the exemption shall expire on a certain day occurring within five years from the date of its issuance. Prior to expiration of the exemption, the council may adopt a resolution to extend the exemption for a specified period of time.

Section 14-__. Registration.
(a) All persons engaged in any form of cultivation, propagation, development, or indoor testing of genetically engineered crops or plants of any kind shall register annually beginning within ninety days of the effective date of this article, and shall pay an annual registration fee of $100 per location, payable to the director of finance. All contiguous land shall be treated as a single location. The director of the department of research and development, or the director’s authorized representative(s), shall administer the registration provision of this section.
(b) All persons engaged in non-commercial cultivation or propagation of genetically engineered papaya, in any stage or form, shall be exempt from this section. This registration exemption does not exempt persons engaged in research, development, or testing of genetically engineered papaya.

(c) Pursuant to section 92F-13 of the Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, information such as the name of the registrant and the exact location of the genetically engineered crops or plants may be withheld from the public to the extent that disclosure of that detailed information would otherwise frustrate the ability of the County to obtain accurate information.

Section 14-__. Penalties.
Any person who violates any provision of this article shall be guilty of a violation, and upon conviction thereof, shall be sentenced to a fine of up to $1,000 for each separate violation. The person shall be deemed to be guilty of a separate offense for each and every day a violation of this article is committed, continued, or permitted for each location. To the extent permitted by law, the person found in violation of this article shall also be responsible for all costs of investigation and testing, as well as for court costs, including but not limited to witness fees and witness expenses.

Section 14__ . Declaratory and injunctive relief.
A court of competent jurisdiction may hear proceedings for declaratory relief or injunctive relief, or both, for violations or potential violations of this article. To the extent permitted by law, the person found in violation of this article shall be responsible for all costs of investigation and testing, as well as for court costs, including, but not limited to, attorney’s fees, witness fees, and witness expenses.
.
Section 14__. Cumulative remedies.
The provisions of this article are cumulative. Nothing in this article shall affect any other remedy or relief that may be available to any adversely affected person or to the County or other governmental entity.
SECTION 4. If any provision of this ordinance, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the ordinance which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end, the provisions of this ordinance are declared to be severable.

SECTION 5. This ordinance shall take effect upon approval.

INTRODUCED BY:

_____________________________________¬¬¬___
COUNCIL MEMBER, COUNTY OF HAWAI‘I

_______________, Hawai‘i

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.

 

Monsanto Protection Act Removed From Senate CR

Today, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz released the following statement on the elimination of what is known as the “Monsanto Protection Act” from the Senate version of the short-term appropriations bill, the Continuing Resolution.

Brian Schatz
“The Monsanto Protection Act is bad policy for the country and the State of Hawai‘i,” said U.S. Senator Brian Schatz. “The Senate version of the Continuing Resolution does not include this provision, effectively repealing the Monsanto Protection Act. This provision took the ability of the Secretary of Agriculture to fully exercise his regulatory power over GMOs, and compromised the role of our courts as a check on the legislative and executive systems, making it significantly more difficult for concerned citizens to present their case.

“I strongly urge the House not to sneak the Monsanto Protection Act back into the final version of the appropriations bill. However, if it is slipped back in, rather than letting the issue be deliberated with full transparency and public input, I will immediately introduce legislation to repeal it.”

U.S. Senator Jon Tester from Montana led the charge in getting the Senate to remove the Monsanto Protection Act from the Continuing Resolution.

“Stripping the Monsanto Protection Act is a victory for American consumers and family farm agriculture,” said U.S. Senator Jon Tester.  “Corporate giveaways have no business in a bill to fund the government, and I’m pleased that the Senate stood up for accountability and transparency and against special interests.  I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Schatz to make sure that this damaging provision never again makes it into law.”

 

Commentary – Richard Ha on Bill 79, the Anti-GMO Bill

Click to read Richard's Blog on this

Click to read Richard’s Blog on this

Dear Editor,

Bill 79, the anti-GMO bill, has brought out a lot of concern and a lot of anxiety.

I say that we need to slow down. It would be premature to rush into a decision on this bill without taking the time to hear everybody’s input and address all the issues on the table.

Before we make big decisions – any of which could have unintended consequences – we should set up some sort of task force to look at the bigger picture of Hawai‘i’s self-sufficiency, and how we are going to achieve that.

How are we going to get there, all of us together? We need to end up at a place where we aloha each other, and take care of everybody.

Let’s not rush to pass this bill without fully understanding the bigger picture.

Richard Ha

Owner, Hamakua Springs Country Farms

 

GMO Free Hawaii Response to Hawaii Crop Improvement Association’s News Release on Monsanto Marches

Alicia Maluafiti,  Executive Director of the Hawai’i Crop Improvement Association sent out a news release on 3/16 responding to the Monsanto Marches on Kauai and Hawai’i Island.  While everyone is entitled to their opinion in the US, we do disagree with her “assessment” of our actions and would like to provide our own reality check.

Photo from the GMO Free Hawaii Facebook page

Photo from the GMO Free Hawaii Facebook page

Alicia:   “Organizers of these anti-GMO and evict Monsanto marches are creating a hostile environment in our communities by using scare tactics and spreading misinformation.” 

Our Response:   Actually,  the marches have been very peaceful, and the “scare tactics and misinformation” have been folks just telling the truth.  The truth about genetically engineered crops is actually pretty scary:  Superweeds on Moloka’i, high fructose corn syrup linked to autism, lack of long-term studies on health effects, increased use of herbicides and pesticides leading to severe problems with our pollinators to name just a few!

Alicia:  “It is not pono to rally support for an agenda by repeating myths and exaggerations to our Hawaii communities.”  

Our Response:  The communities “agenda” in speaking out and holding marches is that we care about the health of our families, our lands, our food, and our communities.  One doesn’t need to exaggerate about Monsanto and it’s poor record of community health in communities all across the US.   But, why pick on just Monsanto when we also have companies like Dupont/Pioneer, Syngenta, BASF, Dow Agrosciences, conducting experimental genetically engineered field trials in Hawai’i?

Alicia:  “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.”  

Our Response:  There are also often repeated “misleading and false claims” such as “GMOs can feed the world,” or “farmers need all the tools in the toolbox” which justifies contamination of conventional and organic crops which are inaccurate and unverifiable.

Alicia:  “We value the concerns of the public and work to address these concerns through informative and respectful dialogue based on facts and proven studies.”  

Our Response:  Do you value the health concerns of the people of Waimea, Kauai or Kaunakakai, Moloka’i?  The biotech industry seems to value the studies done by industry scientists, and doesn’t allow independent testing of seed or genetically engineered products.

Alicia:   “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:”

Alicia:  “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.” 

Our response:  The obesity rate in the US has tripled in the time GE foods have been on the market, with 70% of adults  and 30% of children overweight or obese.  According to the CDC,  1 in 3 children today are expected to become diabetic and experience the adult diseases of hypertension, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, in their youth.  Autism has increased 78% from 2002-2008, childhood cancers have increased 25% since 1989, and obesity has increased 171% in children ages 6-11 from 1989-2004.

Alicia:  “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.”

Our Response:  I think the point she is trying to make is,  that we don’t have very many farmers anymore,  so someone using the land is better than no one using the land.    However, not all land use is “pono.”  The increased use of 400 million pounds, of herbicides sprayed upon the land in the US has not increased the fertility of that land, and indeed has destroyed microbial life and contributed to polluted waterways, decreased aquatic life, and superweeds.  This is not myth or misinformation, these are just the facts.  Universities have done many studies on these topics.

Alicia:  “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.” 

Our response:   The only testing that has been done on GE crops has been done by the companies themselves.  Everyone knows the FDA, EPA, and USDA don’t test, they rely on companies to test and report their findings.

We would like to pose a few question to Alicia and the HCIA:

1.  How is your organization funded?

2.  How would you address the problem of Superweeds on Molokai and Kauai?

3.  How would you and your organization address the problem of soil erosion (into the reef or airborne soil dust storms) on the Island of Molokai?

For the following questions please see this study:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22101424

and this article

http://www.ithaka-journal.net/herbizide-im-urin?lang=en

1.  Currently, GMO products tested and grown in Hawaii are intended to maximize the effect of glyphosphate products, isn’t that correct?

2.  Isn’t it true that recent scientific studies show that glyphosphate is contaminating aquifers, wells and springs nationwide and worldwide?

3.  Isn’t it true that glyphosate actually doesn’t break down rapidly in the environment, and is continuously building up in concerning quantities?

4.  Isn’t it true that although glyphosate is the mostly widely used herbicide in the world, we know very little about its long term effects to the environment?

The March to Evict Monsanto will have its 4th of 5 marches this Saturday in Maui. The final march will be in Molokai on Saturday, March 30th.

Mahalo,
Justin Avery
GMO Free Hawai`i Island

1.  Journal of Clinical Epigenetics  - http://www.clinicalepigeneticsjournal.com/content/4/1/6  (Study on High Fructose Corn Syrup)

2.  PAN:  “A Generation in Jeopardy:  How Pesticides are Undermining Our Children’s Health and Intelligence”  www.panna.org/publication/generation-in-jeopardy

A Generation in Jeopardy: PAN’s groundbreaking report examines how pesticides are undermining our children’s health & intelligence.

3.    “Patented Seeds vs. Free Inquiry” Council for Responsible Genetics February 2013   http://www.councilforresponsiblegenetics.org/GeneWatch/GeneWatchPage.aspx?pageId=456

 

Big Island March to Evict Monsanto on Saturday March 16th

The Island of Hawai`i will be the 3rd of 5 Islands across the state to host a, “March in March to Evict Monsanto,” on Saturday, March 16, 2013.

Stop Monsanto

The march encourages Hawai`i residents to support and celebrate food sovereignty and investigate land stewardship practices by landowners such as Kamehameha Schools that is leasing 1,033 acres of land to Monsanto. Hawai’i is the global research lab of the world for genetic engineered organisms (GMOs) testing with over 5,000 open-field experiments statewide.

This is a free community event for all ages. There will be face-painting, a non-GMO pot-luck, a mini Zumba class with UH Hilo Dance Instructor Kea Kapahua and other island Zumba Instructors, a non- GMO seed exchange, informational tables, and dance troupe- Rebekah Duncan and the Kealakehe Dance Team will all be a part of the event.

Participants are invited to signwave at the Kamehameha Statue in Hilo at 9am. At 9:30am we will leave the statue, pass by the Hilo Farmer’s Market, and cross the street to the Mo’oheau Bandstand. Esteemed speakers will speak from 11-12pm on issues concerning the growing of genetically modified crops and the impact they have upon the `aina. Food sovereignty activist Walter Ritte, Senator Russell Ruderman- owner of Island Naturals, and UH Manoa professor of agriculture Dr. Hector Valenzuela will speak. Lono Kanaka’ole Trio, Darryl Castillo, and Chris Berry and Friends will be playing music.

We invite the community to participate in the march and rally to show solidarity for a future free from genetically engineered crops growing on the islands by Monsanto, Dow, Dupont/Pioneer and Syngenta. All of these crops are shipped off island, most of which are for animal feed and research. Also, these companies do not pay taxes on these exports. These open fields near schools and communities are doused regularly with large quantities of toxic industrial chemicals, some of which are banned in Europe.

The event is free and open to the public.

March in March to Evict Monsanto is the vision of the Hawai’i GMO Justice Coalition and Professional Surfer and MMA fighter Dustin Barca. Sponsored in part by the Sierra Club-Moku Loa Group, Know Your Farmer Alliance, Kailani Pool Service, Island Naturals, Da Hui, Kulture Tattoo, Food Democracy Now, Babes Against Biotech, and Millions Against Monsanto.

This event is highlighting the film created by the Hawai’i GMO Justice Coalition addressing the impact of genetic engineering in Hawai`I; Stop Monsanto From Poisoning Hawaii: Genetic Engineering Chemical Warfare.  The film will be shown at UH Hilo the Wednesday preceding the march on Saturday.

For more information about the event please contact Kea Kapahua at kristikea@yahoo.com or 808-896-5622.

 

Kauai Councilman Gary Hooser – “It’s Not About Eating The Corn” (Thoughts on GMO)

Sen. Gary Hooser

It’s not about eating the corn.

Not for me anyway.  The decision to eat or not eat the corn is only a small reason I support the labeling of genetically modified foods and hold deep reservations about the industry as a whole.

People on my island are getting sick. Many believe their sickness is being caused by the secondary and cumulative impacts connected to the growing of genetically modified organisms.

Yet when I’ve asked these companies directly and officially in writing to disclose what chemicals and in what quantities they are spraying, the industrial agrochemical GMO companies on Kauai have refused to do so.

For me, that alone is enough to keep me from buying their products or supporting their industry,  and to support full labeling requirements.
63 countries around the world including all of Europe, Russia, Japan, Australia and New Zealand require mandatory labeling of GMO products. Some countries have banned these products completely.

Many questions exist and many doubts persist. There are valid health concerns ranging from allergen sensitivities to hormonal disruption to cancer, related to the GMO’s and to the pesticide spraying that accompanies them.

There are concerns about the globalization and corporate ownership of the worlds food supply.  There are ethical and moral questions pertaining to the concept of corporations owning patents on living organisms both plant and animal, and to the increased diminishment of bio-diversity.  All valid reasons consumers may not want to buy these products and thus the need to require labeling.

For me, it’s personal.

Kauai is ground zero in the GMO industry.  These industrial agrochemical operations dominate the landscape of Kauai’s west side and are now moving into the southern and eastern land as well.  The fields of mostly genetically modified corn not intended for human consumption grow on approximately 12,000 acres of prime farmland stretching from the base of the mountains down to within just feet of the pristine ocean waters.

These crops are subject to spraying with toxic pesticides up to 6 days a week.

Over 200 residents of WaimeaValley have filed suit claiming negative impacts from pesticide laden dust blowing into their homes and onto their bodies.  Biologists estimate over 50,000 sea urchins died last year in near shore west-side waters.

People in all parts of Kauai County are growing increasingly concerned about the impacts that result from these companies spraying their fields with toxic and experimental chemicals that then flow into streams and near shore waters and cling to the dust which blows daily into neighborhoods and schools.

Yet these agrochemical companies, who are required by law to keep records of their pesticide use, tell me blithely to go elsewhere for the data.

About half the land used for GMO production on Kauai are public lands upon which zero property tax is paid.  But they refuse to disclose to the public what they are growing or what they are spraying on these public lands.  These large transnational corporations transfer their end products to related subsidiaries, benefit from Enterprise Zone and other GET exemptions and consequently pay zero GET tax on the products they produce.

State law and terms of the public lands lease/license require compliance with Hawaii’s environmental review law Chapter 343HRS, yet no documentation demonstrating compliance exists; no exemption declaration, no environmental assessment and no environmental impact statement.

Growing genetically modified organisms, using experimental pesticides and spraying a wide array of restricted and non restricted pesticides on a mass scale have impacts on our island, our health and our environment.  There are direct impacts, secondary impacts and cumulative impacts but we don’t know what those impacts are because they have never been properly evaluated – and the companies in question won’t even give us the information needed to make a proper evaluation.

So yes, I support labeling. Absolutely.

Labeling, mandatory disclosure and a permitting process that requires a comprehensive review of the significant environmental and health impacts to our island and our community caused by this industry – I support them all, because as you can see this is about much more than just eating the corn.

Gary Hooser
Member Kauai County Council – Former Director of the Office of Environmental Quality Control for State of Hawaii – Former Hawaii State Senator and Majority Leader

 

GMO Labeling Bill Advances in House

The House Committee on Agriculture (AGR) unanimously adopted HB174, which would require all GMO produce imported into the state to be labeled. The measure also passed Second Reading and advances to the Committee on Consumer Protection & Commerce. The advancement of the bill puts Hawaii on track to become the first state in the nation to require some form of GMO labeling.

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The bill was originally heard on Monday in a hearing that spanned more than 5 hours in the Capitol Auditorium. Hundreds of pieces of testimony from key stakeholders surrounding the issue were used to develop a draft that could keep the conversation on GMO labeling moving.

The latest version of HB174 is much narrower in focus than the original and addresses a great deal of the concerns voiced during Monday’s hearing. Under the most recent draft, only imported GMO produce would require labeling. GMO produce that is grown in Hawaii, most notably Rainbow Papaya, would not require a label. Processed foods, meat, poultry and dairy would also be exempt from the labeling requirement.

“This was the first time in the history of the House that a GMO labeling bill has made it out of committee,” said AGR Chair Jessica Wooley (Kaneohe, Heeia, Ahuimanu, Kahaluu, Haiku Valley, Mokuoloe). “The draft that was adopted was a true compromise that resulted in a victory for the people of Hawaii. Local farmers will not be negatively impacted, we will not have to pay for labeling on processed foods, meat or dairy, and, most importantly, people will be able to know what they’re eating.”

 

Decision Making on GMO and Local Agriculture Bills

Decision Making on GMO and Local Agriculture Bills

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WHAT:  The Committee on Agriculture will be deciding on four bills relating to GMOs and growing our local agriculture industry, which were previously heard on February 4, 2013.

  • HB174- GMO Labeling
  • HB97- Requires a permit to introduce or develop a new GMO
  • HB747- Exempts the slaughter and processing of poultry and livestock from GET
  • HB96- Exempts the first $50,000 of income for family farms and cooperatives

WHEN:  Thursday, February 7, 2013,     8:30 A.M.

WHERE:  Hawaii State Capitol Conference Room 312

WHY:  The Constitution of Hawaii mandates that the State “shall conserve and protect agricultural lands, promote diversified agriculture, increase agricultural self-sufficiency and assure the availability of agriculturally suitable lands.” These goals are also highlighted as a major priority in the Governor’s “New Day” plan. The Legislature aims to do its part to move Hawaii forward this Session.

WHO: Chair Jessica Wooley, Vice Chair Richard H.K. Onishi, Reps. Tom Brower, Romy Cachola, Isaac Choy, Takashi Ohno, Gregg Takayama, James Kunane Tokioka, Clift Tsuji, Lauren Kealohilani Cheape, and Gene Ward comprise the Committee.

 

Kalapana Bee Buddy Festival

Join us in celebrating the first Bee Buddy Festival in Kalapana at Uncle Robert’s Kava Club, September 15, 2012 from noon to 4pm. Learn how to be a Bee Buddy and keep the honey flowing.

Living on Hawaii Island, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and farthest away from landfall, the honeybees, major pollinators of our food supply are vitally important to us.

We are facing a difficult time with many bees dying from various assaults, including virroa mites, small hive beetle, GMO plants and toxic substances on our aina and shortage of good bee food. As well, honeybees have been mysteriously disappearing across the planet, literally vanishing from their hives.

Known as Colony Collapse Disorder, this phenomenon has brought beekeepers to crisis in an industry responsible for producing apples, coffee, mac nuts, mangos, broccoli, watermelon, onions, cherries and a hundred other fruits and vegetables. Commercial honeybee operations pollinate crops that make up one out of every three bites of food on our tables.

Bee Buddy’s was created to provide information and solutions so everyone from keiki to kupuna can have a part to play in helping bring our honeybees back and making our local environment more conducive to their wellbeing. Plus, it helps us continue to enjoy the foods they so generously pollinate to keep us well fed.

Alison Yahna of Artemis Smiles will preview her trailer “Temple for the Divine Honeybee”. Alison says, “Artemis Smiles Honeybee Sanctuary is dedicated to restoring a reverent, loving and mutually beneficial relationship between bees and humans.  We practice spirit-centered beekeeping and direct communication with the Honeybees.  The bees have helped us understand why they are “vanishing” and what they need for their health and protection.”

We will be featuring bee products, bee movies (The Vanishing of the Bees), Talk story sessions with bee keepers, apiary technician Lauren Rusert from the State Apiary program, theme song, information handouts, seed give-aways, plus entertainment featuring Diana Aki, Princess Keli’iho’omalu, and a proclamation from Mayor Kenoi in support of Bee Buddies.

We will be introducing our new website: www.beebuddieshawaii.com.

Email us at: beebuddieshawaii@yahoo.com or call Star at 896 8658 for more information. If you’d like to participate we are asking people to come share their favorite uses of honey and bee products. ‘What are you doing with your honey’ is a new addition to our Bee Buddy project.

Star is available for interviews and to set up local Bee Buddy gatherings in your neighborhood.