The Mayor proposed a line item grant for $50,000 to the State Department of Agriculture to be used as matching funds (meaning the State would throw in $50k as well) for participation in a “GMO study”.
a. Since the proposal was first received by the Council, a few important facts have come to light. ie:
i. Turns out this is not a “study” at all, but instead a Joint Fact Finding working group (JFF) being led by a mediation company called Accord 3.0.
One look at their website and you will learn that they are not led by scientists qualified to conduct a GMO study, but are instead “social scientists” specializing in mediation and negotiation problem solving.
The website admits that this “JFF group will not produce original research.”
This is important to note because what we really need is original research, soil and water samples and a study that is specific to what is occurring here, in Hawaii.
Given the track record of these companies, with this kind of a fact finding group, and in the absence of any new, Maui specific data, Monsanto and Dow will pressure the group to find “no harm” and then use that against any future oversight, on county AND state levels. When dealing with these companies, it’s actually dangerous to participate in any study in which the integrity of the data isn’t carefully protected.
ii. DOA is requesting matching funds to extend this JFF Statewide from what is already underway for Kauai. In doing the math that is a grand total of $400k for a Statewide JFF, that will give us absolutely no new data specific to Hawaii for the chemical testing operations conducting business here today.
iii. Currently, (2) Council members (Cochran & Couch) have “proviso’d” the $50k line item to read: “Provided that the $50k shall be used for a GMO study and shall not be used for a JFF or for mediation services.”
The members have requested a response from the Office of Economic Development, as to whether or not this type of provision would be accepted by the DOA.
If the response is not returned in the affirmative, the plan is then to recommend deletion of the funding all together.
How you can help?
1) Testify in person any day this week at 9:00 a.m., in the Council chambers- that the $50,000 line item to State DOA not be used to fund mediation services or a JFF, but instead shall be used to fund an EIS, specific to Hawaii that collects soil and water samples around the Monsanto and Dow test fields and their effects.
2) Testify my email: This week BF.Committee@mauicounty.us
3) Politely call the member’s offices this week to express the same sentiments.