Thursday, October 17, 2013

Bill 113 - TAKE ACTION

Aloha e kakou,
The vote after the first reading of Bill 113 at the full Council hearing on Oct. 16, was 6-2 with Zendo Kern absent, Onishi and Ilagan voting NO.  Council Chair J. Yoshimoto changed his previous NO vote to YES.  Mahalos are in order for his support of the bill.  Councilmember Onishi's amendments to gut the bill were not brought up for discussion.
The second and final reading of the bill and vote could be scheduled for the next full Council meeting which is Nov. 6, and we will confirm the date when it is set.

The vote was taken on an amended bill that most citizens did not have an opportunity to see,

  1. which now includes an emergency exemption enabling a grower to apply to Council to use a GMO remedy for a crop experiencing "substantial harm" by a plant pestilence and where there is no alternative solution.  The exemption would be granted for 5 years with possibility of renewal. Councilmember Wille explained that she wrote it to dispel the fears of interested parties.  
  2. The registration section was also amended to withhold the exact location of GMO cultivation to public access, to address the fears of GMO growers that they would be targets of vandalism. 
TAKE ACTION:  The Emergency Exemption (see page 5 of the bill) is dangerous and has to be removed from the bill before it becomes law.  PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL ALL COUNCIL MEMBERS TO DEMAND ITS REMOVAL.  PLEASE CALL COUNCIL CHAIR J. YOSHIMOTO TO LET HIM KNOW THAT YOU DID NOT SEE THE NEW EMERGENCY EXEMPTION BEFORE YOU WROTE YOUR TESTIMONY, and testimony must be allowed on it because it changes the bill.  

Any of the points below would be important to discuss when you contact them.
  1. As we have experienced with papaya, the growers are fighting a losing battle to keep their shrinking markets.  Using GMO as a remedy did not save the industry. 
  2. This exemption actually guts the purpose of the bill.
  3. This is a loophole allowing exemptions to unlimited GMO crops or other GMO materials.  
  4. Contamination from an emergency exempted crop cannot be tracked without expert resources and can occur far from the growing site. 
  5. This exemption could allow for GMO crops with new unsafe traits for which the County does not have the resources to evaluate.
  6. A "GMO remedy" can mean newly developed materials applied to crops or soil, not just a GMO crop to replace the affected crop.  
  7. Organic farmers cannot use this option if they are losing a crop.
  8. The emergency exemption limits what neighboring non-GMO farmers can grow.
  9. The export market will not support GMO crops, so why allow them to use up precious island resources.
  10. GMO crops destroy life and should not be allowed to replace one on Hawaii Island that is dying out. 
  11. It is impossible to verify that there are no alternative sources for a plant pestilence.
  12. If Bill 113 does not provide for enforcement, how will any exempted GMO crop be enforced for contamination or any other "potential" adverse effects?
  13. Sunset the contaminating GMO corn in Hamakua. 
SEND THIS MESSAGE OUT TO YOUR NETWORKS.  A very large response is needed.
Mahalo for your QUICK ACTION to get this exemption removed from the bill.

GMO-Free Hawaii Island

Hawai`i County Council Contact Information

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