Kauai approves pesticide, modified crop bill

Published On: Oct 16 2013 10:03:00 AM HST

Large agribusinesses will be required to disclose pesticide use and genetically modified crops under a bill approved by the Kauai County Council.

The council approved the bill in a marathon meeting that began Tuesday.

The Garden Island reports the 6-1 vote was taken shortly after 3:30 a.m. Wednesday 19 hours after the meeting began.

The bill requires farms to disclose pesticides use and the presence of genetically modified crops if they use more than five pounds or 15 gallons of restricted use pesticides annually.

The bill also requires buffer zones near schools, homes medical facilities, public roads and waterways. It takes effect in nine months.

"After months of constructive dialogue, our companies, employees and their families are extremely disappointed in the Kauai County Council for passing Bill 2491 and for not recognizing the opportunity presented by Mayor Carvalho and Gov. Abercrombie," read a statement by the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association.  "If 2491 becomes law, the County of Kauai will find itself mired in duplicative rules and regulations it does not have the resources to enforce. What’s more, an entire industry -- one that employs 600 residents and is a major driver of the island’s economy -- will be put at risk."

The council rejected a request by Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. to defer the measure to allow discussions with the state on enforcement.

HCIA says it has agreed to report its pesticide use and confirmed that commitment at the Sept. 27 hearing before the Kauai County Council's Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee.  The group will also be developing a program to collect disclosure practices and will work to address the state's requests for more fact-finding and information sharing.

Click here to watch Paul Drewes' report Tuesday at 10 p.m.

Click here to watch testimony at the meeting.


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