Gov. Abercrombie reveals the state's plans for pesticide

Published On: Sep 24 2013 08:24:00 PM HST

Governor Neil Abercrombie says the state will introduce voluntary standards and guidelines for pesticide use by large companies.

He says this comes after discussions between Kaua'i legislators and the administration. The bill would force businesses to disclose the use of pesticides and GMOs.

Earlier this month, demonstrators protested in a mass for the passage of bill 2491 by the county council. March organizers say they are upset and suspicious of the Governor's action.

"At best, we kind of see the Governor's action as a weak gesture, but at the worst, we kind of see it kind of a purposeful derailment of all the hard work that we've done around the issue, said Andrea Brower, food security advocate."...and kind of almost directly undermining our momentum towards actual regulatory action."

The Hawaii Crop Improvement Association's Executive Director Alicia Maluafiti issued a statement applauding the state for stepping in.

"Pesticides have played a major role in making our lives safer and in protecting our economic well being," wrote Muluafiti. "American farmers, including those on Kauai, are producing more food and fiber on less land than ever in history and pesticides are partly responsible."

Brower says protesters will continue to push for passage of bill 2491, which is scheduled to be heard in county council committee on Friday.

Earlier this year, the Legislature passed House Bill 673, which Gov. Abercrombie in June signed into law as Act 105. Bill 673 requires 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.

Gov. Abercrombie 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. These changes would help neighbor islands to address pesticide compliance and conduct inspections in a timely manner.


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