Kauai council delays veto override vote until Saturday

Published On: Nov 15 2013 11:50:02 AM HST
LIHUE, Hawaii -

Many expected a vote by the Kauai County Council on Thursday to override Mayor Bernard Carvalho's veto on the controverisal GMO bill 2491.

But, council members surprisingly called for a recess until Saturday.

The bill relates to pesticide use and GMO disclosure.  There will be no more public testimony heard.

At the last minute, Councilman Ross Kagawa said he intended to vote against a veto joining Mel Rapozo.

That gave the council only four votes for the veto, which would have been one shy of the needed votes.

On Friday, the council is scheduled to select a replacement for Nadine Nakamura, who left her position last month to become the managing director for the mayor.

The vacant seat could go to a supporter of the veto, which would then give the council the necessary votes on Saturday.

Opponents of the bill argue state and federal investigations have concluded that current practices by biotech companies are safe and legal.

Mayor Carvalho said the bill is legally flawed and vetoed it last month.

Click here to watch the video report on the council vote.

Whether or not Bill 2491 becomes law, Kauai farms have been asked to share their pesticide use with the state.

The state agriculture department's pesticides branch has come up with a Kauai Agricultural Good Neighbor Program.

It's very similar to Bill 2491 except it is voluntary.

It includes a 100-foot buffer zone between application areas and schools, homes and medical facilities.

The guideline goes into effect on Dec. 1.  Farms will be asked to file monthly pesticide use reports, which will be available online beginning around the end of January.

"Having the information available in a public site.  Open data, nothing redacted, will create a little more freedom of information," said Christina Zimmerman a Hawaii Agriculture Department Environmental Health Specialist.

Zimmerman says the farms have indicated they will comply.  She acknowledges if Kauai's Bill 2491 becomes law, those farms will have to provide basically the same information twice.

Click here to watch the video report on the state's pesticide guidelines.


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