Posted October 24, 2013
After a 19-hour long special meeting, the Kaua’i County council voted to approve a controversial GMO disclosure bill around 3:30 a.m. on October 16, according to a Hawaii News Now article available here.
The amended version of Bill 2491 will require farms to disclose pesticides use and the presence of genetically modified (GMO) crops if they use more than 15 gallons of restricted-use pesticides annually.
The bill also requires a 500 foot buffer zone near medical facilities, schools and homes. Bill 2491 passed with a 6-1 vote. The text of the bill is available here.
Kaua’i, known as Hawaii’s “Garden Isle,” has become a popular site for testing of new crops by DuPont Pioneer, Syngenta, BASF, and Dow AgroSciences, which together have test sites on an estimated 15,000 acres on the Hawaiian island, according to a Reuters article, available here.
DuPont spokesman, Josh St. Peters, said, “We believe it to be bad policy – and the kind of regulation that should remain at the state and federal level, where policy makers and agencies are already empowered with oversight of our industry…We believe that the bill is not legally defensible and we continue to evaluate all of our business and legal options.”
People on the island have blamed health problems and pollution on an “excessive use of pesticides” as the companies test GMO crops. In early September more than 3,000 residents rallied in Lihue, chanting “pass the bill.”
The council rejected a request by Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. to defer the measure for a month to give stakeholders like the Department of Health and Agriculture to review the bill. Mayor Carvalho now has 10 days to sign or veto the bill.
For more information on the regulation of pesticides and biotechnology, please visit the National Agricultural Law Center’s website hereand here.