Mayor vetoes Bill 2491
News Release from County of Kauai October 31, 2013
LĪHU‘E – Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho, Jr. has vetoed Bill 2491, Relating to Pesticides and Genetically Modified Organisms, which was passed by the County Council on October 16.
“I have always said I agree with the intent of this bill to provide for pesticide use disclosure, create meaningful buffer zones and conduct a study on the health and environmental issues relating to pesticide use on Kaua‘i,” stated the Mayor. “However, I believe strongly that this bill is legally flawed. That being the case, I had no choice but to veto.”
The Mayor has released the opinion on 2491 drafted by the Office of the County Attorney, which was delivered to him on October 24.
“Since receiving the opinion I’ve spent hours and hours understanding the points raised and questioning our attorneys on the legal issues,” he said. “While I believe a veto is necessary, we can and will find legal means to address these important health and safety issues.”
In his veto message, the mayor urges the council to move forward quickly on funding the joint fact finding study group, which is the first step toward conducting an environmental public health impact study (EPHIS). The study could be recommended via a resolution that is slated for next week’s council agenda. He also describes actions being taken by the Governor and the State Department of Agriculture to address buffer zones and pesticide use notification.
“I truly believe in my heart that Kaua‘i can accomplish anything through cooperation, collaboration, and by working together in the spirit of aloha,” said the mayor. “This does not invalidate the hard work that has gone into the crafting of 2491. We are moving forward and we will continue to move forward with or without the bill.”
The full text of the mayor’s message, along with the attorney’s opinion can be found on the county’s website: www.kauai.gov .
* * * * *
LINK: Mayor's Veto Letter and Kauai County Attorney's Opinion
HIGHLIGHTS FROM MAYOR'S VETO LETTER:
"...Bill 2491 ... does not directly address pesticide buffer zones. Instead (it) criminalizes the growing of any kind of crops on agricultural land regardless of whether or not pesticides are used on said crops...."
"...Bill 2491 will also likely be challenged as an invalid exercise of the County's police power, an invalid exercise of the County's ability to regulate public nuisances, and/or a violation of the Hawai'i Right to Farm Act's prohibition against any public official 'declaring' such farming operations a nuisance. The Right to Farm Act states '[no] court, official, public servant, or public employee shall declare any farming operation a nuisance for any reason if the farming operation has been conducted in a manner consistent with generally accepted agricultural and management practices. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that a farming operation does not constitute a nuisance.'....
"...Our community is deeply divided over 2491 and we can't allow that to continue. It is my hope that after reviewing the opinion, the reasons for this action will be clear, and we can then focus on finding common ground and moving forward.
"In the interest of finding that common ground, I would like the council to know that it is my intention to support the resolution calling for an environmental public health impact study (EPHIS). We would like to begin working with the council as soon as possible to identify funds that can be used to get the EPHIS joint fact finding study group underway.
"Additionally, the State Department of Agriculture has been working with the five companies that would be impacted by this bill on voluntary pesticide disclosure and buffer zone guidelines. We anticipate an announcement of the product of their efforts in two to three weeks. Governor Abercrombie has informed me that he will be seeking funding for additional inspectors that could service Kauai."
* * * * *
GMO, Pesticide bill was severely flawed and should have been vetoed
Statement by Alicia Maluafiti, Executive Director of the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association
We commend Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho for his decision to veto Bill 2491 (relating to pesticide use and GMOs) and for recognizing that the measure was severely flawed and would do more harm than good for Kauai County.
We thank the Mayor for his leadership in giving thoughtful consideration to balancing the issues raised in Bill 2491. This measure, although intended to be good for the community, would have had long-term negative effects on all agriculture in Kauai and our state, not just the seed industry or big agriculture.
These past several months have been difficult for Kauai. Bill 2491 has divided us – families, friends and neighbors – for far too long. It is time that we come together and do what the people of Hawaii have done for so long – ho’oponono, work together for a better Kauai.
Since this measure was introduced, the public debate has been loud, emotional and often filled with fear, rather than fact. As responsible stewards of the land, we take pride in growing the seeds that help farmers all over the world grow safe, healthy and affordable food for all people. We care for the land and the people of Kauai and are committed to transparency, being good neighbors and working with the community.
We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the Mayor and the Council on how to address the concerns of the community and continue to support a voluntary program to address these concerns.
Sept 23, 2013: GMOs: Abercrombie to Impose Pesticide Standards, Setbacks on Farmers
NYT: Bill Limiting Pesticide Use on Hawaii Island Is Vetoed
SA: Kauai mayor vetoes measure to limit pesticides, GMOs
Babes Against Biotech: Shame on Mayor (poisoned kids, etc, bla bla bla)