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.

Results From the 2010 Keaau Lighted Christmas Parade

The 7th Annual Kea’au Lighted Christmas Parade happened tonight in Kea’au on the Big Island.  More then 50 entrants participated in this years events.

I was fortunate enough to be asked to be one of five judges this year.  The other judges were Bill Crawford, Hawaii Tribune Herald; Carol Hunter, Wiki-Wiki Mart;  Loreen Hough, Oceanic Time Warner; Tom English; W.H. Shipman, and Chris Missick – Alternate Judge, Wiki-Wiki Mart.

This year’s Grand Marshals was former Keaau principals Ann Paulino of Keaau High School and Jamil Ahmadia from Keaau Middle School.   The Master of Ceremonies was J.E. Orosco, of K-Big Radio, FM-98, Pacific Radio Group.

Points were given for theme, originality, attractiveness, and most spirited.

RESULTS:

March Unit

1st – Paradise Roller Girls

2nd – Puna Panthers Pop Warner Football and Fred Blas Action Team

Marching Band

1st – Kamehameha School

2nd – Keaau Middle and High Schools

Big Rigs

1st – Island Wide Trucking

2nd – Helco

Large Float

1st – New Hope Fellowship – East Hawaii

2nd – R. Kobayashi Trucking

Medium Float

1st – ET Ohana

2nd – Paradise Park Baptist Church

Small Float

1st – Keiki Express

2nd – Keaau Post Office

Horse Mounted Unit [Damon edit – I’m not sure where the horses were though :roll:  they had a good float and the judges sheets only listed them as a mounted unit]

1st – Hawaii Horse Association

Wreath Contest Winners

Best of Parade Theme – Ma’s Kitchen

Best Workmanship – Shaka Chic

Best Materials – Hokulani’s

Committee members working on the project for the past five month include, Adella Walter, Arline Macanas, Barbara Riley, Bill Walter, Carl Okuyama, Cheryl Kiefer, Dee Joaquin, Jamil Ahmadia, Jeanine Acia, Kathy Weller, Ken Watanabe, Larry Kiefer, Lily Chan-Harris, Oliver English, Puamana Paikai, Randy Akao, Ron Jarvis, Sally De Ryke, Scott Amaral, Tammy Kagawa, Trina Nahm-Mijo, Val Summers, Valerie Ferrari, and Wendy Davis.

Contributing business sponsors included Ace, Alibi Tavern, Inc., Big Island Toyota, Bueno Burrito, Duke’s Shave Ice, Eddie’s Plumbing, Inc., Foodland, GW Construction, HFS Federal Credit Union, HPM, Kea`au Filipino Food Store, Kea`au Natural Foods, Inc., KTA, Lemongrass Restaurant, McDonald’s, Orchid Properties, Pacific Floral Exchange, Inc., Paradise Beverage, Puna Rock Co., Ltd., Watumull Properties, Wiki-Wiki Mart and W.H. Shipman