Governor's Announcement Raises Concern, Suspicion by Kaua'i Residents "Voluntary Disclosure" of Pesticide Use Called "Weak," - "Not A Substitute" for Strong County Mandates of Bill 2491
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 24, 2013
LIHUE, HI -- Kaua'i residents
reacted strongly to Governor Neil Abercrombie's announcement of
September 23, which requests agricultural entities to voluntarily
disclose their "aggregated usage" of Restricted Use Pesticides until
such time as rules and legislation are developed in the future. The
Governor also stated that he would generally work with the State
Legislature to seek funding for state agencies to address pesticide use
compliance, without any further specific commitment.
announcement comes days before the Kaua'i County Council is set to
deliberate on Bill 2491, which provides for mandatory disclosure of
Restricted Use Pesticides by Kaua'i's heaviest agricultural users, along
with specific protections for Kaua'i children and families against the
risks of pesticide exposure. These protections include buffer zones, a
health and environmental study on the specific impacts of
seed/agrochemical industry practices on Kaua'i, temporary moratoria on
expansion, and other provisions.
regulated under Bill 2491 are the agrochemical companies Dow
Agrosciences, Syngenta, BASF and Pioneer (DuPont), along with one
food-producing entity, Kaua'i Coffee.
seems that the Governor has started to realize the seriousness of the
pesticide issues on Kauai," said Gary Hooser, Kaua'i County Council
Member and co-sponsor of Kaua'i County Bill 2491. "But the measures
announced by the Governor are woefully inadequate to properly protect
the people of Kaua'i. The Governor's unspecific promises are certainly
not a replacement for the strong set of mandates and protections that
would be guaranteed under Bill 2491."
the Governor's announcement states that his office collaborated with a
"Kauai Legislative Delegation" and "farmers," to date, none of the many
leaders active in promoting Bill 2491 were consulted or solicited for
feedback on the Governor's proposed "steps to address the concerns of
the community." Council Member Hooser expressed surprise and
disappointment that neither he nor Bill 2491 co-sponsor, Council Member
Tim Bynum were consulted by the Governor's office regarding the
September 23 announcement.
was no transparency by the Governor here," said Fern Rosensteil of
Ohana O Kauai. "There has been a continual lack of responsiveness from
the state until now, when the people of Kaua'i are finally taking
matters into their own hands. We can only conclude that the Governor's
announcement is a purposeful attempt to undermine the momentum of our
people of Kaua'i cannot wait for the State's wheels to turn on weak,
undefined promises," said Andrea Brower, an advocate and researcher on
sustainability and food security issues on Kaua'i. "There have been
serious health and environmental concerns in regards to the
pesticide-seed industry for years. When the County is finally making
progress on beginning to address the issue, the sudden move by the
Governor for 'voluntary action' is weak at best, and a derailment at
2010-2012, Dow, Syngenta, BASF and Pioneer have collectively applied
over 98% of the total RUP's used in the agricultural sector. Since the
launch of Bill 2491, doctors and medical professionals have testified
about elevated incidents of birth defects, respiratory and endocrine
abnormalities and elevated rates of cancer, particularly in areas of
heaviest RUP use in west Kaua'i. Citizen testing of waters near west
Kaua'i agricultural fields have revealed levels of Atrazine in excess of
time for state gesturing and political maneuvering is over," said
activist Dustin Barca, a leader in the efforts to educate communities on
pesticide use on Kaua'i, "Real, firm mandates on pesticide disclosure
are close at hand. We will press on for County Council approval for Bill
2491 because our children and the aina (land) cannot and will not
ARE YOU DISAPPOINTED BY THIS ATTEMPTED DERAILMENT OF BILL 2491 BY THE GOVERNOR?
THEN TAKE ACTION TODAY -- CONTACT KAUA'I COUNCIL MEMBERS
Tell them that "WE ARE NOT DOING BUSINESS AS USUAL!" and that "THE COUNCIL NEEDS TO PASS BILL 2491!"
1. Write AGAIN to Council Members Mel Rapozo, Ross Kagawa, Nadine Nakamura, JoAnn Yukimura and Jay Furfaro at CouncilTestimony@Kauai.gov.
them to press on with Bill 2491 and show us what they are made of --
Urge Council Members not to bow their heads, wipe their hands of direct
responsibility, or collaborate with weak attempts by the Governor to
derail the biggest, most effective people's movement in Kaua'i's recent
Council Members that the Governor's announcement for "voluntary
disclosure" is NOT A REPLACEMENT for the real provisions of Bill 2491.
Tell Council Members not to shortchange our keiki and the future of our island with weak excuses for inaction.