Hawaii County Council discussion began on both GMO prohibition bills today(Sept 6), with Bill #109 being voted down and discussion proceeded on Bill #113. There will be another opportunity for Bill #109 when it is on the agenda at a full Council meeting. The next Council meeting scheduled to continue the discussion of Margaret Wille’s Bill #113 will be on Monday, Sept. 23, at 9 a.m. in Hilo.
The Council will be calling upon expert witnesses to answer their remaining questions, and any witnesses appearing in Kona will speak via video conferencing. If you are able to help put expert witnesses on these issues in touch with respective councilmembers, please kokua.
- At the start of the meeting, Councilmember Onishi attempted to table both bills, but the motion failed as being out of order. He also offered an amendment to take papaya completely out of the bill (no exemption) and have them covered only under the bill’s main prohibition, but after discussion it was not accepted because it would have limited what current papaya growers could do in the future.
- Councilmember Yoshimoto’s position is that there should be no GMOs allowed that are resistant to poisons, such as Round Up Ready crops, however, he is uncertain that crops like papaya that are virus resistant are as dangerous, and would like to hear from experts on this matter.
- Councilmember Eoff does not want Hawaii Island to turn into Kauai, wants a bill that would protect air, land and water, but is unsure of the wording and would like more expert testimony on some issues.
- Councilmember Kern wants to keep out predatory farming and open air cultivation, and would like clarification on pollination between crops/species by experts. He also wants to hear from experts if GMO virus resistant crops are as risky as poison resistant crops.
- Councilmember Kanuha does not want open air testing/crops, but doesn’t believe all GMO is bad and the bill may hurt small farmers so he wants to understand how this bill would affect local food security.
- Councilmember Ilagan would like to know what other current GMO crops are in the ground that could cross pollinate.
- Corporation Council, Lincoln Ashida commented that bills need enforcement provisions or they would be hollow, and recommends Environmental Management Department as being equipped to address violations.
Mahalo for your continued support.
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