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Arakawa Kills EARTH DAY

CALL THE PARKS DEPT AND DEMAND OUR EARTHDAY EVENT PERMIT BE APPROVED!  (808) 270-7230

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa is striking back against his many critics by denying our community the opportunity to assemble, celebrate our connection to Mother Earth  and organize for political change that supports sustainability rather than corporate exploitation.

Maui County Parks Director Ka’ala Buenconsejo, who Awakawa appointed to his job as a reward for running an illegal smear campaign against Elle Cochran in 2014, and who has no qualifications to be Parks Director, cites PONY RIDES as one of the reasons to deny the Earth Day 2017 event application.

Maui resident Bruce Douglas has been staging Earth Day celebrations in Maui County parks for 19 years and for the past seven years its been a very successful gathering at the Keopuolani Amphitheater.

The event features information booths for over 50 environmental and social awareness organizations and governmental agencies.  This year the event was to feature the new pilot program championed by Elle Cochran that brings Maui’s Parks Dept. together with the environmental group Beyond Pesticides to find alternatives to heavy chemical use in selected county parks.

But because our community has become increasingly vocal and successful in supporting political change that protects, rather than exploits the environment, the Mayor has killed Earth Day.

Below is Buenconsejo’s denial letter which offers only minor issues from past events as the reason for this year’s denial. It includes Pony Rides as a problem. Seriously? We know better.  This is an attempt to muzzle our community’s voice and we must stand up to this kind of oppression. Please call the Parks Dept. at (808) 270-7230 and demand our event permit be approved.

Here is Bruce’s rebuttal to the County’s allegations of wrong doings:

1) Parks:  “With an anticipated attendance of 800 participants, has grown to exceed safe usage of that facility.”
Earth Day:  The number of participants of the Earth Day event has remained steady since it was move to Keopuolani Park Amphitheater 7 years ago, and is well within the park’s capacity with no residual effects to the park grounds.

2) Parks:  “Failure to dispose of trash generated from the event within the time allotted by the issued permit.”
Earth Day:  This occurredonly once, 2 years ago, when a heavy rain on Sunday night filled the trash cans with water.  On clean up day Monday the volunteer vehicles could not move heavy wet garbage and the dump closed at 3pm.  We hired a truck and move it Tuesday morning, 12 hours late for our permit.  This is a case of extenuating circumstances.

3) Parks:  “Non-compliance of permitted event hours.”
Earth Day:  The published facility hours are from 7am to 10pm.  We shut down main stage at dusk.  We have sometimes allowed acoustic music to continue in the dome stage after dark that has never cause a noise complaint that we are aware of.

4) Parks:  “Allowing of unsafe vehicle access in prohibited areas during the event.”
Earth Day:  Vehicles have always been out of the event area before opening ceremonies start at 10 am.  Vehicles have never been allowed into the event area until after the main stage has been shut down and most of the participants have dispersed.  The lower entrance (jogging trail) is used for handicap access as well as musician and vendor drop offs, as is done for every other event held at this amphitheater.  Sometimes people have parked along the jogging trail even though we post signs saying forbidden.  This has never created an unsafe situation.

5) Parks:  “Unauthorized addition of activities not approved by the issuing permit, such as pony rides.”
Earth Day:  We have had pony rides on 3 different years under the observation of parks officials and this is the first time anyone has called this use a problem.  We see nothing in the permits or parks publications calling this use unauthorized.

6) Parks:  Failed to satisfactorily clean or restore any park or recreational facility.
Earth Day:  In the spirit of environmentalism, we have consistently restored the park to a cleaner situation then when we found it.  There has never been any lingering impact to the park with the exception of one sprinkler head being damaged, which our park deposit was used to pay for.

Respectfully, Bruce Douglas, Director of the Maui Earth Day Festival

Mahalo for your support.

 

 

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Proposed Charter Amendments to Reign-in Mayor’s Hiring Entitlement and Allow County Council to Get Legal Advice Independent of Mayor’s Appointed Lawyers.

abuse-of-powerCome testify on Friday Aug 5th to support two proposed Charter Amendments that will have significant impacts on the balance of government in Maui County.
Resolution 16-96  proposes to additionally require council approval of the managing director and the directors of the departments of Finance, Public Works, Parks and Recreation, Planning, Housing and Human Concerns, Transportation and Environmental Management. If the resolution is adopted on second-and-final reading, which requires a yes vote by at least six council members, the proposed charter amendment will be placed on the general election ballot for the public’s consideration.
As noted in Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee Report 16-110 , requiring council concurrence for all of the mayor’s appointments of department directors will “ensure transparency in the appointment process and the appointment of qualified candidates.”
Resolution 16-96 also would allow additional qualifications for department directors to be established in the Maui County Code. As stated in the committee report, “the charter sets forth general qualifications for department directors,” but the committee determined the council should be allowed to “establish more specific qualifications by ordinance.”
If the proposal for council approval of all department heads is endorsed by the public on Nov. 8, it will take effect after the next election for mayor in 2018.

Resolution 16-97, also up for second-and-final reading on Friday, would allow the public to consider giving council staff attorneys the authority to render formal legal opinions to council members. Currently, the Department of the Corporation Counsel, housed in the executive branch and led by a mayoral appointee, employs the only attorneys who are authorized to give legal advice to the council.
Committee Report 16-111 recommended approval of this charter amendment by citing “a need for the council and its members to have ready access to independent legal advice, particularly when there is an actual or potential conflict or disagreement between the executive and legislative branches.”
Taken together, these charter amendments have the potential to establish a more equitable balance of power between the mayor and council.
Resolutions 16-96 and 16-97 were approved on first reading at the July 15 council meeting. A video replay of the meeting is available on demand at mauicounty.us.

9:00 a.m., in the Council Chamber, located on the 8th floor of the Kalana O Maui Building, 200 S. High St
Wailuku, HI 96793

 

 

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The Tide IS Turning: Farmers Sue Monsanto Over Alleged Roundup Cancer Link

farmers-sueBy NICHOLAS BERGIN / Lincoln Journal Star

Three Nebraska farmers and an agronomist, all diagnosed with cancer, have filed a lawsuit against Monsanto alleging the seed and chemical giant of purposely misleading the public about the dangers of the world’s most widely used herbicide.

Monsanto markets glyphosate, the active ingredient in its herbicide-brand Roundup, as being able to kill nearly every weed out there yet being completely safe for people. It’s sold alongside Roundup Ready seeds that can be sprayed with the chemical without harm.

The New York Times in 2010 reported that 90 percent of soybeans and 70 percent of corn grown in the United States are from Roundup Ready seeds.

In March 2015 World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer labeled glyphosate as a probable cause of cancer in humans and said it is most associated with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other haematopoietic cancers, including lymphocytic lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, B-cell lymphoma and multiple myeloma.

Those most at risk, the agency said, are farmers, farm workers and others with workplace exposure to Roundup.

The four Nebraskans who brought the lawsuit that was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Lincoln have all been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The lawsuit alleges Monsanto “concealed or systematically sought to discredit” research showing a link between the chemical and cancer and continues to do so.

“Monsanto championed falsified data and has attacked legitimate studies that revealed Roundup’s dangers. Monsanto led a campaign of misinformation to convince government agencies, farmers and the general population that Roundup is safe. Its continuing denial extends to the date of this Complaint,” the lawsuit says.

On its website, Monsanto says the labeling of its herbicide as a possible carcinogen conflicts with the consensus of regulatory bodies and science organizations, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“’Probable’ does not mean that glyphosate causes cancer; even at 100 times the exposure that occurs during normal labeled use glyphosate is not a human health risk,” the company’s website says.

The chemical works by inhibiting an enzyme essential for plant growth. Monsanto says that because that enzyme isn’t present in humans or animals, glyphosate is safe when used according to label directions.

Since being classified as a possible carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, several countries have banned or restricted the sale of glyphosate, including the Netherlands, France, Bermuda and Sri Lanka.

Monsanto has sued California to keep glyphosate off the state’s list of known carcinogens.

The plaintiffs in the Nebraska case include farmers Larry Domina and Robert Dickey both of Cedar County, York County farmer Royce Janzen and Dodge County agronomist Frank Pollard. They are being represented by a Omaha-based Domina Law Group and New York-based Weitz & Luxemborg.

Similar lawsuits have also been brought against Monsanto by agricultural workers in other states, including California and Delaware.

The lawsuit asks for unspecified damages.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7304 or nbergin@journalstar.com.

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Big Money & Corporate Greed Attempting To Influence Local Maui Politics, Again.

You all remember The Citizens Against The Maui County Farming Ban, the fake citizen’s group founded by Maui’s local radio personality Tom Blackburn-Rodriguez, that in 2014 spent $8 Million of Monsanto’s and Dow’s money spreading lies about the GM Moratorium?

Well, not only is Tom back on the air with big corporate backing, we are now seeing the influence of conservative political forces like ALEC, The Franklin Center for Gov and Public Integrity and the Koch Brothers in the convoluted notions offered in an op-ed piece from the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii printed today in the conservative run Maui News.

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This viewpoint infers that the only agriculture of value in Hawaii is large-scale, corporate-backed, chemically-dependent Ag that feeds no one and strips resources and profits out of the islands, with only toxic chemicals left behind.

The Grassroot Institute says it promotes Libertarian principles of small government but it seems that they do so not to empower individuals to express themselves and control their own and their community’s destinies but rather they do so to allow off-island controlled corporations (endowed with the rights of free speech under the disastrous Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision)  to do whatever they feel will generate the most profits, at the expense of the well-being of the people who actually live here.

Large scale, corporate controlled, chemically-dependent agriculture, as it has evolved over the past 25 years or so, is exploitative and never was sustainable. It is dying on Maui for the same reasons it is dying on the mainland and in countries that are standing up to the World Bank’s and Monsanto’s influence: consumers want to eat clean food and don’t want to be poisoned by the Military Industrial Complex that is attempting to take over control of the world’s food supply and profit from the sale of dangerous chemicals.

As people who make Maui our home we have the responsibility to stand up to these external economic and political forces, to protect our fragile environment and Tourist economy from the fallout of rampant chemical exposure, and to support the transition back to local, affordable and sustainable food production, so that we can return to growing 90% of what we eat rather than importing it.

How disingenuous for the libertarian Grassroot Institute to overlook the fact that HC&S’s sugar production on Maui was financially viable only through Federal subsidies and price supports. That’s small government?

Maui Causes’s Mission:

Most agricultural land in Hawaii was essentially stolen from the Hawaiian people by the children of the missionaries, who, the saying goes, “came here to do good and ended up doing very well”.

Over the years a few corporations and big money interests have become the beneficiaries of that theft and they are now doing all they can to protect their entitlement to exploit Hawaii’s people and natural resources.

These pages are dedicated to exposing off-island influence, stripping away their entitlement, and returning control of Hawaii to the people who make it their home.

Exposing Conservative and Corporate Influence:

The Grassroot Institute has ties to very well funded conservative groups like the ALEC-connected, Franklin Center for Gov and Public Integrity and has been funded by CATO (Koch Brothers).  Malia Zimmerman, the secretary of the institute’s board of directors, is also a co-founder of “Hawaii Reporter” a networked news organization funded by the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity.
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity

The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, publisher of the site “Watchdog.org,” is a national 501(c)(3) journalism organization based in Bismarck, North Dakota and started in 2009.[1] <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity#cite_note-1>  According to a previous iteration of the organization’s website, the group’s mission involves “networking and training independent investigative reporters, as well as journalists from state based news organizations, public-policy institutions & watchdog groups.”[2] <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity#cite_note-2>  The Franklin Center funded state reporters in more than 40 states as of August 2011,[3] <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity#cite_note-3>  and in 34 states as of May 2013.[4] <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity#cite_note-2013_list-4>  Despite their non-partisan description, many of these websites have received criticism for their conservative bias.[5] <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity#cite_note-5> [6] <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity#cite_note-6>
At a time when there are fewer and fewer statehouse reporters — as of the American Journalism Review’s most recent count in 2009, there were 355 in the entire country, down from 524 in 2003,[7] <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity#cite_note-7>  bluntly called a “statehouse exodus” by the same journal[8] <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity#cite_note-8>  — former Reuters chief White House correspondent Gene Gibbons described the rush of groups like the Franklin Center to fill the gap as follows: “an army of Internet start-ups, some practicing traditional journalism in a new medium, others delivering political propaganda dressed up as journalism — are crawling all over the picnic. . . . At the forefront is the one-year-old Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity . . .”[9] <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity#cite_note-GibbonsKennedy-9>

 

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ACTION ALERT: This bill supports opening up the growing of industrial hemp to all of Hawaii!

Aloha Hempsters…please submit testimony and share with your lists
The Hemp Bill we’ve been waiting for!!!
The first hearing for Hawaii’s Industrial Hemp Bill HB2555 has been set. This bill supports opening up the growing of industrial hemp to all of Hawaii! The bill was introduced by Rep Ing and has been signed by 35 House Reps!!!!12671625_431028277090875_1803971848835389594_o MStatement.pages

 

TESTIMONY NEEDED NOW
The first hearing for Hawaii’s Industrial Hemp Bill HB2555 has been set. This bill supports opening up the growing of industrial hemp to all of Hawaii! The bill was introduced by Rep Ing and has been signed by 35 House Reps!!!!

Your voice is greatly needed!
Please take 5 minutes and submit testimony…it’s easy and necessary for this bill to become law.

Copy and Paste link below to submit testimony:
http://tinyurl.com/zd8n7fy <http://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Ftinyurl.com%2Fzd8n7fy&h=mAQFjauJCAQFwU3gVrp4spT1yCY8RWLWp0niSugXhiXtoew&enc=AZO24WstAOi7NMlyGobSn48jgNBSBkXCndGndSNGTeGjxeIvxYKmFdR-Xm7lmRbAoB7lY7shL0aQ1nu8PjZG6ojnl9RW5N_kyrmjtyVi4z0P09o1YCnScf2McAa1TQ-wBTo3N0KwAqDRXYjpAu2jM-t6gSanb_K98emDUPsyTkU3jKlc5JAYajc49mWgm1jZluwXSFGlOUmvnVnidCgq79dA&s=1>

When submitting testimony Remember to check the SUPPORT button or it defaults to comment only
If you would like to write in testimony you can copy and paste the sample testimony below or write your own.
You can also just click support and not add a testimony.

Sample testimony:

I strongly support HB2555
27 US states have already passed industrial hemp legislation. Hawaii is in a unique position to grow industrial hemp year round proven by the research done by UH over the past 2 years with it’s pilot program .It’s time to expand this program to all Hawaii’s Farmers and Ag companies alike. If Hawaii is to be on the leading edge of this multi-million dollar industry Hawaii farmers and Large Agriculture companies need to be able to grow this crop now!
Expanding the growing of industrial hemp to all Hawaii will give farmers the opportunity to grow this crop and develop seed and strains that will boost our economy while helping to clean our soil and reduce our dependency on imports.

Respectfully yours

(your name)

Please submit your testimony by Thursday 2/11/16 , 2 PM

Steve Rose
President / C.E.H.

Maui Hemp Institute for Research & Innovation
95 Lipoa Street  Kihei, HI 96753
“It’s Hempin’in …Maui Style”
808-357-4564



 

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Maui’s GM Moratorium NOT DEAD YET! Appeals court to hear SHAKA’s moratorium case.

Hokua-w-enforceThe 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments about whether to overturn a federal judge’s ruling last year that struck down a Maui County voter-approved moratorium on genetically modified organisms.

Reposted without permission from the Maui News!

In a ruling Thursday, the appeals court denied a motion to dismiss the appeal by the SHAKA Movement, opening the door for arguments before the court headquartered in San Francisco.

SHAKA attorney Michael Carroll called the ruling “really good news.”

“The court denied the motion to dismiss, allowing the court to hear full arguments on the appeal,” he said Friday. “Now the court will have to consider all our substantive arguments.”

Carroll said he also was pleased that the court ruled in favor of allowing consideration of the Center for Food Safety to file an “amicus curiae,” or “friend of the court” brief, in the case, which he called “another plus for our joint efforts.”

The 9th Circuit also will be considering requests for amicus briefs from Moms On a Mission Hui, Moloka’o Mahi’ai and Gerry Ross.

On Friday afternoon, Monsanto said its motion to dismiss the appellant’s case challenged the appeal, unsuccessfully, for lack of standing, but that the denial of the motion was without prejudice, meaning the case had not been decided on its merits.

“The court of appeals for the 9th Circuit will now move to consider the merits of the case and instructed that the standing arguments could be raised in the merits phase of the case,” the company’s statement said. “Monsanto believes the federal district court in Hawaii reached the correct conclusion invalidating the ballot initiative, and we will vigorously defend this position.”

There was no immediate comment from Maui County.

The appeals court scheduled deadlines for briefs in the case.

The SHAKA appeal stems from last year’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway to declare the Maui County GMO moratorium invalid and unenforceable. She said that the moratorium exceeded the county’s authority and was pre-empted by federal and state law.

SHAKA attorneys argued that Mollway erred in the ruling by citing a federal law that is not applicable to the Maui County moratorium ordinance.

The judge’s ruling “overrode (the people’s) rights guaranteed under the Hawaii State Constitution and invalidated the election results of county residents trying to protect themselves from unique harms affecting health, safety, the environment, natural resources, as well as Native Hawaiian rights,” the appellants’ brief says.

Mollway’s ruling shelved a SHAKA attempt to implement the moratorium that voters narrowly approved in November 2014. The ordinance would have outlawed the cultivation, growth or testing of genetically engineered crops until scientific studies determined their safety and benefits.

The moratorium initiative drew more than 23,000 votes, or 50.2 percent, in favor. Those opposed were 47.9 percent. The vote came despite biotech companies and their allies spending nearly $8 million – the most ever in a Hawaii election by far – to oppose it.

Nine days following the general election, the moratorium ordinance was challenged in court by Monsanto, Dow Agrigenetics, other seed companies and their supporters. Mollway ruled in their favor June 30.

Leaders of the SHAKA Movement, a citizens group that gathered enough signatures for the first-ever ballot initiative in the county in 2014, filed an appeal Nov. 30 with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Maui County is “ground zero” for the testing and development of genetically engineered seed crops because of Hawaii’s long growing seasons, SHAKA attorneys say. GMO agricultural operations use more than 80 different chemicals, creating “chemical cocktails” with unknown health and environmental impacts, they say.

* Brian Perry can be reached at bperry@mauinews.com.

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Demise of power-purchase deal is final blow for HC&S

 

As we’ve been saying – electricity sales is why A&B kept farming sugar long after it became difficult to make a profit. So this is a double win for the environment: Shutting down the coal plant (that didn’t have proper pollution control because of it being a sugar mill) and stopping the cane burning.
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January 10, 2016  Honolulu Star-Advertiser  By Andrew Gomes

Two heavy body blows and maybe a near knockout punch.

That’s what Hawaii’s only remaining sugar plantation took before its owner decided last week to throw in the towel and close the 36,000-acre Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. farm on Maui by year’s end.

The body blows — low sugar production and prices — were nothing new in the sugar farming industry. But the other punch was an unusual one with a stinging impact.

Alexander & Baldwin Inc., the kamaaina owner of HC&S, said its main reasons for ending 146 years of sugar cane farming and shuttering the plantation with 675 employees was two bad years of low sugar production and prices that put a roughly $33 million dent in net income last year and had little prospect of being turned around.

But the company also lost a lucrative deal late last year to supply Maui Electric Co. with power that would have provided HC&S with $19 million in projected revenue this year and next year, according to documents filed with the state Public Utilities Commission.

HC&S generates electricity by burning the fiber known as bagasse left over from processed cane, as well as coal, in a boiler to power its sugar mill and irrigation pumps. A smaller hydroelectric system on the farm also provides power. Historically, HC&S sold extra power to Maui Electric on terms that significantly helped the agricultural operation.

For instance, Maui Electric used to pay HC&S $1.8 million a year just for its commitment to provide power.

However, Maui Electric, which once relied on HC&S for about 10 percent of its electricity supply, sought in recent years to amend the power-purchase agreement in part due to its effort to move electrical generation toward more renewable sources and reduce use of dirtier sources such as coal.

HC&S, which ships raw sugar to California on a company-owned ship, would fill the ship with coal for the return trip to Hawaii. In 2014 the company burned 57,100 tons of coal, according to A&B’s most recent annual financial report.

Efforts to amend the power-purchase agreement resulted in HC&S reducing its power supply to Maui Electric at the beginning of last year to 8 megawatts from 12 megawatts. Then in October, Maui Electric stopped buying power altogether from HC&S except in emergencies under another amendment the PUC approved in September.

A loss of millions

According to the amendment request, Maui Electric is expected to pay HC&S $323,936 this year instead of $19.5 million under the prior agreement. Next year the expected payment is $94,736 instead of $19.4 million.

A&B declined to confirm the cuts described in the Maui Electric filing but said the loss of power sales, taken together with challenging sugar production volume and anticipated prices near 30-year lows, made prospects for continued losses high.

“…

Like other plantations, HC&S used technology to reduce labor. The company’s workforce of 675 is down from 776 in 2008, 1,300 in 1985 and 3,390 in 1949.

The yearly sugar production goal for HC&S had been 225,000 tons, which was last achieved in 1999. Benjamin said the “magic number” to generate more revenue than costs is around 200,000 tons. Last year production totaled 136,000 tons, and the operating loss for A&B’s agribusiness division, mainly HC&S, was $30 million.

The year before, production was 162,100 tons, and the operating loss was $12 million.

Benjamin said he doesn’t expect the recent weather patterns to change. And on top of the production outlook, low prices and lost power sales, changing regulatory restrictions and growing community opposition to historical practices such as burning cane added to HC&S’ headaches and resulted in the decision to shut down.

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Was the COP 21 a success or a failure?

Many pundits say both. On the positive side, 185 global leaders have finally acknowledged a unified understanding of the scope and seriousness of the climate crisis.

Here is a photo of climate activists in a demonstration at the Eiffel Tower demanding the shift to 100% renewable energy.

Join GO GREEN at the Sustainability Summit 2016.

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 8.47.32 PM

The COP 21 gathering was the largest global gathering of climate and sustainability activists of all time. If you missed being there, don’t miss being part of next year’s Sustainability “Solutions” Summit 2016.
There are just 15 days until the December 31, 2015 discount deadline.
To learn more about the Summit and to see your discount level, go to:
http://www.gogreenculture.org/2016-sustainability-summit/

Many say that the levels of CO2 reduction set by the voluntary national programs of COP 21 are not enough. Left at their current levels, this will result in ecological disasters, severe and broad scale human suffering, and costs that are expected to exceed $250 billion per year. We need to do more than our leaders have set out for us.

Bill McKibben stated in Paris, “Now the real work must begin in earnest.” 

The global leaders have spoken. Many experts are saying it will be up to sustainability leaders and professionals on the local and regional levels to make the substantive shifts needed in carbon output, renewable energy, restored ecosystems, and more.

The Sustainability Summit 2016 is designed to support the accelerated success of local sustainability professionals and activists. Hundreds of proven projects and programs, including the 100 Top Best Practices of Sustainable Communities, will be shared at the Summit in July, a mere 8 months away. Don’t miss out on this important information. You will be empowered to more rapidly and cost effectively advance your corporate, organizational, and/or municipal sustainability goals. We expect Delegates to use this knowledge and wisdom to save their companies and local governments hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars on future sustainability investments.

Sign up now to be a Delegate at the Sustainability “Solutions” Summit 2016. Help your group avoid being part of the $250 billion short fall next year.

Here is a photo of San Francisco modified to show what the city could look like in 2050 based on a 12 foot rise in sea level.

Join GO GREEN at the Sustainability Summit 2016. Let’s advance the sustainability of our local cultures together over the coming year. 
There are just 15 days until the December 31, 2015 discount deadline.
To learn more about the Summit and to see your discount level, go to:
http://www.gogreenculture.org/2016-sustainability-summit/
Join GO GREEN on Maui, Hawaii ~ July 17-22, 2016

Go Green Membership

Please visit our web site and consider becoming a Go Green Member ~ starting at $3 per month or any financial level you choose.

Go to:  www.GoGreenCulture.org and click on one of the Join Us boxes.

Thank you for all you are doing to advance sustainability in our world.

Aloha ~

Gerry Dameron                  Deborah Smith

Executive Director            Education Director

Copyright © 2015 Go Green Culture Foundation, Used by permission. 

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A Huge Thanksgiving Gift To The World: EPA Pulls Registration for Dow’s Enlist Duo Herbicide Citing High Toxicity Levels

duo-pulled2
Toxic pesticide banned on genetically engineered crops  From The Pesticide Action Network

Washington D.C. — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), responding to litigation, has announced it is revoking the registration of “Enlist Duo.” Approved by the agency just over a year ago, Enlist Duo is a toxic combination of glyphosate and 2,4-D that Dow AgroSciences created for use on the next generation of genetically engineered crops, designed to withstand being drenched with this potent herbicide cocktail. In its court filing, EPA stated it is taking this action after realizing that the combination of these chemicals is likely significantly more harmful than it had initially believed.
This action resolves a year-long legal challenge filed by a coalition of conservation groups seeking to rescind the approval of the dangerous herbicide blend. EPA had approved use of Enlist Duo in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and North Dakota, and had intended to approve it in additional areas in the near future.
Earthjustice and Center for Food Safety, on behalf of Center for Food Safety, Beyond Pesticides, Center for Biological Diversity, Environmental Working Group, the National Family Farm Coalition, and Pesticide Action Network North America, had challenged EPA’s failure to consider the impacts of Enlist Duo on threatened and endangered plants and animals protected under the Endangered Species Act. The Act requires that every federal agency consider the impacts of its actions on our nation’s most imperiled plants and animals and seek input from the expert wildlife agencies before plunging ahead, which EPA had refused to do.
“The decision by EPA to withdraw the illegally approved Enlist Duo crops is a huge victory for the environment and the future of our food,” said George Kimbrell, Center for Food Safety’s senior attorney. “We will remain vigilant to ensure industry does not pressure the agency into making the same mistake in the future.”

“With this action, EPA confirms the toxic nature of this lethal cocktail of chemicals, and has stepped back from the brink,” said Earthjustice Managing Attorney Paul Achitoff. “Glyphosate is a probable carcinogen and is wiping out the monarch butterfly, 2,4-D also causes serious human health effects, and the combination also threatens endangered wildlife. This must not, and will not, be how we grow our food.”

Dow created Enlist crops as a quick fix for the problem created by “Roundup Ready” crops, the previous generation of genetically engineered crops designed to resist the effects of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. Just as overuse of antibiotics has left resistant strains of bacteria to thrive, repeated use of Roundup on those crops allowed glyphosate-resistant “superweeds” to proliferate, and those weeds now infest tens of millions of acres of U.S. farmland. Enlist crops allow farmers to spray both glyphosate and 2,4-D without killing their crops, which they hope will kill weeds resistant to glyphosate alone. But some weeds have already developed 2,4-D resistance, and the escalating cycle of more toxic pesticides in the environment will continue unless EPA stops approving these chemicals, and USDA stops rubber-stamping new genetically engineered crops.
“This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for EPA taking this important action to protect people, rare plants, and animals from Enlist Duo,” said Lori Ann Burd, Environmental Health director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “As we gather with our families for the holiday feast, we can all breathe a little bit easier knowing that EPA has protected our food from being drenched with this poisonous pesticide cocktail.”
Judy Hatcher, executive director of Pesticide Action Network, commented: “EPA is taking a step in the right direction, but Enlist Duo shouldn’t have been given the green light in the first place. Too often, GE seeds and the herbicides designed to accompany them are rushed to market without thorough evaluation of their real-world impacts on community health and farmer livelihoods.”

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Monsanto Burns: Arson Suspected

 

MonsantoArsonEarlier this week, a Monsanto research facility in France was burned to the ground. Monsanto and investigators suspect an arsonist was responsible for the blaze.

Monsanto representative Jakob Witten told Reuters that investigators “strongly suspect it was a crime as no electrical or other sources were found.”He added that “No Monsanto sites in Europe have so far been the victim of fires of criminal origin, this is unprecedented violence.”

The fire had multiple points of origin, meaning it is unlikely the fire was caused by an electrical malfunction or other natural causes. Investigators also noticed a strong smell of gasoline in different areas of the site.

France announced in June that it was banning sales of Roundup, Monsanto’s flagship herbicide, amid public pressure and the World Health Organization’s announcement that the product is probably carcinogenic. Further, last month the country announced it was strengthening its ban on genetically modified crops. Monsanto is one of the most hated corporations on the planet and faces particularly strong resistance in France. If the fire is confirmed to have been arson, it is possible this vociferous opposition might have been a motivating factor.

Nevertheless, the recent fire is merely the tip of the iceberg with regard to Monsanto’s recent problems.

The company recently moved to close three different research facilities to save money in the face of declining profits. As Reuters reported last week, Monsanto research centers in Middleton, Wisconsin, Mystic, Connecticut, and Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, will soon be closed to cut costs.

Last month, the infamous company announced it would be cutting 2,600 jobs — 12% of its workforce — in order to lower costs. Monsanto also announced a loss of 19 cents per share in the most recent quarter. Profits are expected to remain low throughout the year.

The Associated Press reported that Monsanto lost $156 million in the final quarter of last year alone, and this year is expected to be even worse.

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Monsanto Tells 9th Circ. GMO Foes Can’t Appeal Law’s Nixing

By Emily Field, Guest Blogger

Monsanto says only Maui’s Mayor can defend our Election Win in court.  And we know how much Arakawa loves Monsanto…  Here’s Alan lying to the public for Monsanto:

Law360, New York (October 29, 2015, 11:41 PM ET) — Monsanto told the Ninth Circuit on Thursday that a bid by a citizens coalition trying to revive a Maui County, Hawaii, law restricting genetically modified crops should be dismissed for lack of standing since the citizens aren’t elected officials or county agents.

According to Monsanto Co., the appeal brought by the Shaka Movement — which sponsored the ballot initiative for a county ordinance restricting the cultivation of genetically modified crops — should be dismissed for lack of standing since Maui County itself hasn’t appealed a district court decision that struck down the law on preemption grounds.“In this case, the only adverse party with a direct stake in the outcome — the county — has chosen not to appeal. The only parties pressing an appeal are the initiative proponents, who intervened below to defend the constitutionality of the ordinance they proposed and supported.”Monsanto says U.S. Judge Susan Oki Mollway’s June ruling didn’t injure the group in any constitutional sense.

The judge didn’t order them to do anything, or to stop doing something, and under theU.S. Supreme Court ruling in Hollingsworth v. Perry — which held that backers of California’s ban on same-sex marriages lacked standing to defend the law — the fact that the group sponsored the initiative didn’t give them the direct stake in the outcome of their appeal that would confer standing, Monsanto argued.

“[Hollingsworth v. Perry] establishes a bright-line rule: The only party with a cognizable independent interest in defending the constitutionality of a generally applicable local law is the locality, and the only persons permitted to assert that interest in federal court, accordingly, are the locality’s elected officials or other agents,” Monsanto said.

In June, the judge said the ban directly conflicted with a 1987 regulation enacted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that allows genetically engineered organisms under certain circumstances, and is therefore expressly preempted by the federal Plant Protection Act.

Judge Mollway also ruled that the ban was preempted by state law and it exceeds the authority delegated to Maui County, as stated in the Maui County Charter.

Monsanto, Dow subsidiary Agrigenetics Inc. and the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation of Maui County brought their suit just days after the ballot initiative was approved, with 51 percent of the vote, in November. Dow and the other parties claimed the ordinance would hurt Hawaii’s seed industry, which contributes $84 million annually to the local economy.

Shaka has argued that the ordinance is needed to protect the health of local citizens and environmental resources.

However, Monsanto contended that the group has demonstrated “no concrete personal stake” in the ordinance, and that its members offer little evidence that they have have personally suffered any harm from genetically engineered farming or any reason for future harm.

“That is hardly surprising,” Monsanto said. “[Genetically engineered] farming has co-existed in the county for many years without causing any harm to the county or its residents.”

Counsel for both parties declined comment Thursday.

The appellants are represented by A. Bernard Bays, Karin L. Holma and Michael Charles Carroll of Bays Lung Rose & Holma.

The respondents are represented by Paul D. Alston and Nickolas A. Kacprowski ofAlston Hunt Floyd & Ing; Christopher Landau of Kirkland & Ellis LLP; Richard P. Bress, Philip J. Perry, Andrew D. Prins and Jonathan Y. Ellis of Latham & Watkins LLP; and Margery S. Bronster and Rex Y. Fujichaku of Bronster Fujichaku Robbins.

The case is Robert Ito Farm Inc. et al. v. County of Maui et al., case number 15-16552, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

We know how maui’s mayor Alan Arakawa thinks bout GMO’s here he is lying to the public, saying that under the GMO moratorium police will raid you backyard to see if GM seeds from dog food has sprouted and is growing in violation of the law. What an ….

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Lawmakers Manipulate Maui Meeting: Answers Lacking, Ignore Followup Questions

Antsy audience not so sure that “Lawmakers Listen”

The public meeting at the Haiku Community Center on Tues., Oct 13 hosted by Rep. Lynn DeCoite (D) featured an all star cast of members of the Hawaii State House including all six members of the Maui delegation and five of the top leadership. It drew a good crowd who soon grew restless with the format.House members fielded an array of written questions ranging from coral reefs, to local roadways – as well as many that focused on the GMO initiative, food labeling, water, agriculture and the preservation of open space.

The only applause lines came during the discussion of marijuana as a “cash crop” to replace sugar, where Maui already has a “name brand.”

As the evening wore on the audience grew impatient and frequently interrupted the speakers with comments shouted from the floor.


12106939_10207797877490102_9183552648812467745_n

According to Mike Gagne, a long time Haiku community leader commented this morning via email, “The format while intended to keep order and decorum muted the impact of the questions from the audience. Rep Mizuno (Vice Speaker- (D) Oahu who served as moderator) was trying to condense the questions (or multiples on the same topic) into one question and it was not successful. The audience was frustrated and began to grumble noticeably calling “Just read the question!” to Mizuno.

“The topics of real interest to the audience specifically GMO moratorium, broad use of restricted use pesticides, cane burning and the Public Trust Doctrine were only briefly touched on in a group that overwhelmingly voted in support of curtailing some of these activities until they are proven safe or at least given a fair review by the DOH.”

It was Gagne’s opinion that

“the disconnect was created by having the moderator read the questions (with halting mispronunciations) instead of having the actual questioner ask with their own voice and emotive impact.”

This muted and frustrated the audience.


“As a long term community association president,” he wrote in a follow up email, “ I have learned how to do that in Haiku with contentious issues and it is not similar at all to the legislature’s method. So in the overall I would say that they weren’t listening because they were talking and most people don’t do both well simultaneously.”

“One of the more successful efforts,,” Gagne continued, “came when Rodney Kilbourn spoke up about the acquisition of the Peahi-Manawai lands to the panel. Although it is not their issue specifically there were council members in the audience who heard the message. The consensus is that the County is the first position on the purchase, but in the event the Mayor fails to act the legislators got an earful and will be called upon to do something.

According to Gagne, “The Peahi-Manawai lands comprise about 267 acres of ocean front makai of Hana highway that are currently owned by A&B/Versa Development. The land has been in pineapple for many years. These lands are part of a long anguish in the North Shore community both for how they were acquired, cleared of settlement, and used for farming.

“Now as A&B begins to pull out of their outlying properties the North Shore communities want to see some public good come from the transfer of over 1100 acres from Maliko Gulch to the area commonly referred to as “Jaws” to a private developer. This is a natural area mostly too steep to develop and farm comprising revered cultural sites and land formations which could make National Historic Site status but will at least be kept as reserve for future recreation areas.

“A large part of the block of land comprising six large agricultural lots is being recombined and subdivided for housing as large lots. No Planning Dept review is required according to law which further increases the chill in the community. Not only will there be more people, but the Paia Bypass remains a figment somewhere in the future.

“The pressure,” he noted, “is increasing to do something preservation-wise which may have been apparent at the Tuesday night meeting. There are many forces at work but the consensus opinion is to save it.”

As for other who attended Gagne observed, “Generally, it was an unhappy audience as the meeting progressed. Outbursts became more frequent when the responses to substantive questions were essentially off-topic. People wanted deeper answers than Speaker Joe’s (Souki) US Constitution and Magna Carta comments about The Public Trust Doctrine as it applies to Hawaii.

Indication of audience unrest included media style hand gestures to “speed it up” (fingers go in a circle) or “cut it short” (finger across the neck). House Finance Chair Sylvia Luke got “yak-yak” signals (fingers and thumb flapping like a talking mouth) as the crowd perceived her remarks as long winded. At one point Souki lost his composure and threatened to shut the whole thing down. Unfortunately his remarks did not come across as decisive, they came across mean.

.As for DeCoite, her fellow lawmakers had nothing but praise for first year performance. The Molokai resident who was appointed to the seat on the death of Mele Carroll served in the 2015 session representing the multi- island district which includes East Maui, Molokai and Lanai.

But with the majority of the voters concentrated in East Maui from Paia to Hana and DeCoite’s own affiliation being at odds with some she was appointed to represent, many came away from the gathering wondering if she would be able to hold on to the seat in the next election.

Though the sign on the wall said that “Lawmakers Listen” the MO seemed more aimed at containing the discussion than enlightenment.

For the ten elected State House Democrats who paid a visit to East Maui – this was not their finest hour.

WHO WAS THERE:
On the podium:
The entire six member Maui house delegation attended the event.

Speaker of the House Joe Souki (D) 8th District- Wailuku-Waihee-Waikapu

Justin Woodson (D) 9th District – Kahului

Angus McKelvey (D) 10th District – West Maui, Maalaea, North Kihei

Kaniela Ing (D) 11th District – Kihei, Wailea, Makena

Kyle Yamashita (D) 12th District – Sprekelsville, Pukalani, Makawao, Kula + portion of Kahului

Lynn DeCoite (D) Paia, Haiku,Hana, Lanai, Molokai, Kahoolawe

Also on hand from the House leadership were

John Mizuno (D) 28th District – Vice Speaker,
(He served as moderator and read the written questions)
Oahu – Kalihi Valley, Kamehameha Heights & portion lower Kalihi

Sylvia Luke (D) – Chair House Finance Committee
Oahu 25th District – Oahu Makiki, Punchbowl, Pacific Heights, Pauoa

Scott Saiki (D) House Majority leader
Oahu – 26th District McCully, Kakaako, Downtown

Cindy Evans (D) Majority Floor Leader
Island of Hawaii – 7th District North Kona, North and South Kohala

In the audience
A partial list of politically active Mauians who attended the event included:

Maui County Council members Mike White (Chairman), Bob Carroll, Mike Victorino, Stacy Crivello and staffer Amanda Martin for Gladys Baisa

Also on hand were Steve Castro representing ILWU Local 142, Vincent Mina of the Hawaii Farmers Union United, Warren Watanabe – Executive Director Maui County Farm Bureau

Candidate Deirdre Teagarden running for the Kihei seat presently held by Kaniela Ing; Terez Amato, former candidate for seat currently held by Sen. Roz Baker; and Stacey Moniz running for the Upcountry seat on the Maui County Council.

Community activists of various persuasions included Dick Mayer, Mark Hyde, Tom Blackburn Rodriguez and Sam Small

A wide cross section of the residents of East Maui and their families also attended.

Susan Halas is a freelance writer and guest blogger on MAUIWatch. She has followed Hawaii politics since 1976 when she moved to the Valley Isle and became a staff writer for the Maui News. The long time Wailuku resident is a former Maui correspondent for other local print and digital publications including Maui Weekly.

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Last week, WikiLeaks released the final text of the TPP’s intellectual property rights chapter, and it’s absolutely terrifying.

tpp-protestThese are just a few of its most dangerous pieces:

Compel ISPs to take down websites without any sort of court order, just like SOPA. (Appendix Section I)

Extend the US’s copyright regime to require copyrights stand for life plus 70 years, preventing anyone from using works that belong in the public domain. (Article QQ.G.6)

Criminalize whistleblowing by extending trade secrets laws without any mandatory exemptions for whistleblowers or investigative journalists. (QQ.H.8)

End anonymity online by forcing every domain name to be associated with a real name and address. (Article QQ.C.12)

Make it illegal to unlock, modify, or generally tinker with a device you own. (Article QQ.G.10)

Export the US’s broken copyright policies to the rest of the world without expanding any of the free speech protections, like fair use. (Article QQ.G.17)

The worst part is that this is just one of the TPP’s 30 chapters.

The final text confirms our worst fears — click here to take action demanding Congress vote NO on the TPP.

Hawaii-anti-TPP-protest-Marco-GarciaREUTERS-July-30-2015

Photo courtesy: http://www.maryscullyreports.com

For years, governments have held critics of the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement in a perfect catch 22. Officials brushed off public outcry and concern by claiming that the dissenters didn’t have all the facts.

This was by design—the 12 country trade deal was negotiated entirely behind closed doors by industry lobbyists and government appointees, and even now the text of the agreement is still classified.

But late last week, WikiLeaks released the final text of the Intellectual Property chapter, meaning those excuses won’t work anymore.

We’re planning to go all out against the TPP, but the first step is to make sure Congress knows just how many people oppose the TPP.

Click here to take action demanding Congress vote NO on the TPP.

tpp_protestersTaking action today is just the beginning, because if all we do is send emails and make phone calls, Congress is not going to reject the TPP. Too many giant industries are seriously invested in making sure Congress ratifies the TPP.

If we’re going to win, we need to go big. Which is exactly what we’re going to do.

So take action right now. Contact your Congresspeople now and tell them to vote against the TPP. Then get ready to do more because we’re going to unleash some of our strongest campaigns ever.

Already we have plans to work with hundreds of different groups as a massive coalition to fight the TPP, coordinate gigantic on-the-ground protests in key cities across the country, and produce compelling content to spread the word to as many different audiences as possible just what is at stake in the TPP.

To do all that, we need your help — if you can, pledge to chip in $5 every month between now and when the TPP fight ends so that we can run our biggest, boldest, and best campaign yet.

Thanks for all you do,
Charlie

P.S. Want to read the text of the chapter for yourself? Check it out on WikiLeaks here, or read their overview of it here. It’s long and complicated, so maybe you’ll see something that we didn’t. If you do, send us an email.

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Want to use more pesticides than the law allows? No problem. Just ask, they’ll change the label for you.

Trick or Treat? The Good Neighbor Program – A Masquerade Of Disclosure
Posted on October 9, 2015 by garyhooser, Guest Blogger
pesticide-application

Read through to the end please. You will see that disclosure is not really disclosure and the label is not really the law because these companies disclose only a fraction of what they use and change the label without telling us.

A win of sorts was announced today in Civil Beat.

http://www.civilbeat.com/2015/10/hawaii-to-expand-voluntary-pesticide-reporting-by-big-ag-companies/?cbk=56180df6ccad4&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=hawaii&utm_content=

It is an inadequate win, but a small win none-the-less for those who worked so hard on Bill 2491 and continue to work hard around our State on related issues over the past few years.

While the Good Neighbor Program of “volunteer disclosure” and 100′ buffer zones is woefully inadequate, there is no question that the amount of disclosure and the amount of public education that exists today is far more than what it was two years ago.

Many will say that the Good Neighbor Program is “better than nothing” and though sometimes I have mixed feelings about this, at the end of the day my conclusion is yes, it is better than nothing and is a step in the right direction.

Now we press to make it mandatory with government over-sight and have it include ALL of the pesticides used by these large multinational agrochemical companies.

The companies, their lobbyists and their State regulator/enablers think this will buy them some time. They can and now will say that they do disclose and they do have buffer zones. This statewide move is from the same 2491 playbook – offer voluntary industry self regulation to pacify the public and dilute the political need to pass a Bill mandating true disclosure and real meaningful buffer zones.

Why is the Good Neighbor Program not adequate? Why is it in large part a trick of non-disclosure masquerading as full disclosure?

The two main points which make the Good Neighbor Program entirely inadequate are:

1) The voluntary nature of the program means there is no government oversight, no verification of the accuracy of the reporting, no accountability and no penalty for providing false information. This is industry self-regulation and is insufficient. The industry has a local and global history of repeatedly misrepresented their actions and operations. To be meaningful any disclosure program requires independent verification.

9 MOST FREQUENT MISSTATEMENTS MADE BY CHEMICAL COMPANIES IN HAWAI’I http://tinyurl.com/9Misstatements-07-07-15

Read this New York Times story about how Syngenta misrepresents the facts: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/24/business/international/a-pesticide-banned-or-not-underscores-trans-atlantic-trade-sensitivities.html?_r=0

2) The Good Neighbor Program includes only a small fraction of the total pesticide usage by the large agrochemical companies.

a. Restricted Use Pesticide’s (RUP’S) are the most highly regulated but represent 25% or less of the total pesticides used by these companies. Approximately 18 tons of RUP’s are used annually on Kauai alone based on State Department of Agriculture historical sales data (the ONLY verifiable data available). See the exact calculations and the source documents for the 18 ton figure here: https://garyhooser.wordpress.com/2015/08/24/one-of-the-largest-and-most-credible-news-source-in-the-world-reports-on-kauai-and-the-chemical-companies/

The companies continue to refuse to disclose General Use Pesticide (GUP). Glyphosate was recently declared a “probably carcinogen” and one of the primary crops grown/tested is “Round-Up Ready” corn which requires the application of large amounts of glyphosate, yet the companies refuse to disclose their glyphosate use and it is not included in the Good Neighbor Program.

b. There are a dozen or more GUP’s being used by these same companies however the exact types and quantities used are unknown because there is no disclosure required. These additional GUP’s are also often labeled as hazardous to humans, animals and aquatic creatures, not to mention bee’s and other organisms.

c. A third group of pesticides being used by these companies and not being disclosed in the Good Neighbor Program are those pesticides referred to as “Special Local Need Label Registrations”.

These are pesticides in which the seller/user of the pesticide requests and receives from the State Department of Agriculture special consideration and exceptions to the existing Federal label requirement’s. These “special exceptions” include allowing the pesticides to be used in wind conditions double the recommended wind speed on the existing label, and increasing the frequency of pesticide applications above and beyond the federal recommendations.

These pesticides carry strong warnings as to health and environmental impacts, yet there is no public disclosure when the labels are changed/amended and no public disclosure via the Good Neighbor Program.

i. One of the pesticides where the label has been changed is Evik (herbicide where allowable windspeed was doubled (10mph to 20mph) for application on Maui sugar cane).

The Maui sugar industry complained to the State Department of Agriculture (SDOA) that it was too windy on Maui to use Evik and alternatives would be too costly and requested that the SDOA change the label on Evik to double the allowable wind speed from a maximum of 10mph to 20mph. The SDOA complied. There was no requirement to inform the public of the proposed change, no questions were asked as to the quantity of the herbicide being used, nor any in depth investigation as to the location of population centers, nor any discussion about the impact of burning the cane and the consequently the burning of that herbicide. Conditions were placed to minimize drift and the applicator admonished to not apply when drift might occur, but bottom line is the allowable wind speed was doubled, there was no public notification and little due diligence went into the decision making

Amended label for Evik is here: http://hawaii.gov/hdoa/labels/sln/1204_2017.pdf

The regular Evik label is here: http://www.syngentacropprotection.com/pdf/labels/scp786al19g1209.pdf

EvikDF-label
This label warns Evik is toxic to aquatic animals and to not use near waterways. There are numerous other warnings including warnings about burning the empty containers as a means of disposal.

ii. Another of the pesticides where the label has been changed is Tilt and is a fungicide used on corn.

The amended label allows for an additional application of this fungicide by shortening the break between a pre-harvest application from 30 days to 3 days is here: http://hawaii.gov/hdoa/labels/sln/1202_2017.pdf

The regular label is here: http://www.syngentacropprotection.com/pdf/labels/scp617al2m0509.pdf

This label warns that because of residue issues, no food crops or animal grazing should be done for 100 days after application. In addition there are numerous additional warnings.

iii. A third pesticide where the label has been amended without any disclosure or public notification is Admire Pro.

That amended label is here: http://hawaii.gov/hdoa/labels/sln/1102_2016.pdf

The regular label is here: http://www.cdms.net/LDat/ld74S003.pdf

Admire Pro is “highly toxic to bees” (and other organisms as well). This label also carries the below warnings:

IMPORTANT: THIS LABEL IS ONLY FOR USE BY AUTHORIZED BAYER CROPSCIENCE PERSONNEL, MEMBERS, OR THEIR GROWERS UNDER THE HAWAII CROP IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION AND MAY NOT BE COPIED OR RE-TRANSMITTED IN ANY FORM. NO PART(S) OF THE CROP TREATED WITH ADMIRE PRO Systemic Protectant SHALL BE DIVERTED AS FOOD FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION OR FEED FOR ANIMAL CONSUMPTION.

IMPORTANT: Bayer CropScience has not investigated the use of ADMIRE PRO Systemic Protectant for potential adverse interactions with any other crop protection or fertilizer products used in seed corn production, nor across potential commercial breeding lines. Therefore, adverse effects arising from the use of ADMIRE PRO Systemic Protectant on seed corn cannot be predicted and are therefore the responsibility of the User.

d. A fourth group of pesticides that are not disclosed in the Good Neighbor Program are those that require a “Experimental Pesticide Use Permit”. While the fact that these permits exist is known, the quantity and nature of the permits and experimental pesticide use is not known as there are no disclosure requirements.

Permit samples are here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B43mvAFMJQpcejRHVW8wbUE2SjQ/view

and also here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B43mvAFMJQpcOWI5MFVvY1kxeFk/view

Read The Actual Good Neighbor Program Requirements Here: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/files/2014/01/Voluntary-reporting-guidelines_11-12-13_FINAL.pdf
1) The voluntary buffer zone of 100’ is woefully inadequate. In addition the buffer does not apply to other areas where people regularly congregate such as businesses, parks, and roadways. In addition the buffer does not apply to streams or other sensitive environmental waterways. In any case 100’ is nothing.

2) Pre-application notices are only for schools, hospitals and medical clinics who register.

What about everyone else? Other homes and businesses or people traversing the area? There should be pre-notification for the entire community so people can avoid the area if they are concerned or represent an especially sensitive population (pregnant women, young children etc).

3) There is no provision of immediate disclosure in the case of suspected exposure by any resident who might be in the area.

A list of Special Local Need Label Registrations is here: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/files/2013/01/List-of-Active-SLNs-By-SLN-Number-with-Labels_01302015.pdf

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Maui’s One Chance To Get The Cable Service We Deserve

slow_internet-maui

Download Info:
CABLE-HEARING-TOOLKIT

Flyer-FINAL-8-2-15

 

 

PUBLIC HEARINGS ON TRANSFER OF OCEANIC TIME WARNER CABLE TO CHARTER

 

LAHAINA Tuesday, September 8  – 4:30PM West Maui Senior Center

WAILUKU – Friday, September 11 – 4:30PM Cameron Center Auditorium

LANAI    – Tuesday, September 15 – 12:00PM Lanai Senior Center

HANA – Wednesday, September 16 – 12:00PM Hana Community Center

MOLOKAI – Thursday September 17 – 4:00PM Kaunakakai Gym

 

Good News! The State DCCA has the power to require the new owners of the cable company to provide tangible benefits for Maui Nui residents as a condition of sale. If YOU speak up and be heard, you may finally have a chance to get the cable and Internet service you pay for. Please review the transfer documents on the DCCA website: http://cca.hawaii.gov/catv/cable_operators/charter-time. And feel free to use the following TALKING POINTS as a guide in preparing your testimony.

 

1. We want DCCA enforced service level agreements and rate transparency in Cable TV and Internet contracts so they cannot lie to us and charge us for fast Internet speeds and other services without actually delivering advertised performance.

 

2. Make digital cable TV, Fiber to the Home, and affordable, gigabit Internet available to EVERY resident and business in Maui County by 2020

 

3. Guarantee by contract that Akaku/PEG channels will be fully funded for the term of the franchise and displayed in the same manner and accessibility as PBS and Oahu local broadcast channels in analog, digital, HD, on every tier and on-demand on every device.

 

4. Customer service call centers, locations, field technicians and technical assistance must be available locally 24/7 x 365 with response times regulated by service agreements that include automatic refunds for lost service or outages.

 

5.  Free Wi-Fi, live transmission capability and high speed broadband service to, public and private schools, government buildings, hospitals, libraries, community centers, community media centers, non-profit agencies and public parks.

 

6. Guarantee that Charter matches the best public benefits it provides to any other location in the nation.

Send written testimony before Friday, September 25, 2015 to:

DCCA-CATV. P.O. Box 541. Honolulu, Hawai’i 96809

Email:  cabletv@dcca.hawaii.gov Fax:  808-586-2625

 

Go to akaku.org for more information

 

STATE TO HOLD PUBLIC HEARINGS ON TRANSFER OF OCEANIC TIME WARNER’S CABLE FRANCHISES TO CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS

 

SHOW UP AND BE HEARD!

 

LAHAINA Tuesday, September 8  – 4:30PM West Maui Senior Center

WAILUKU – Friday, September 11 – 4:30PM Cameron Center Auditorium

LANAI    – Tuesday, September 15 – 12:00PM Lanai Senior Center

HANA – Wednesday, September 16 – 12:00PM Hana Community Center

MOLOKAI – Thursday September 17 – 4:00PM Kaunakakai Gym

 

THERE IS GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS

FIRST, THE BAD NEWS

 

The Feds would not let the biggest cable company in America, Comcast buy the second biggest, Time Warner. Now all Oceanic Time Warner Cable systems in Hawaii are

about to be swallowed up by what, based on the evidence, could possibly be the worst cable company ever created, NEW CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS. But don’t take our word for it. Check out what cable consumers all over America are saying about the Old Charter. Below are some links to review in anticipation of the hearings. Holy mackerel! You won’t believe what you find here. Everything from through the roof pricing, to horrendous service, to slow Internet, to rude customer service… you name it.

If you can’t handle strong language, better not read these.

 

http://charter-communications.pissedconsumer.com/complaints.html

http://www.yelp.com/biz/charter-communications-glendale-3

http://www.charter-sucks.com/

https://www.facebook.com/CharterComplaints

http://www.complaintsboard.com/bycompany/charter-communications-a192.html

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/cable_tv/charter.html

BE INFORMED go to: http://cca.hawaii.gov/catv/cable_operators/charter-time-warner-cable-merger/ and review the posted documents. Check out FCC Form 394 Exhibit 6.

 

NOW FOR THE GOOD NEWS

 

Because this is a TRANSFER of CONTROL from Time Warner to Charter and not a rubber stamped, Franchise Renewal, the State DCCA has powerful discretion in requiring by force of contract, enforceable, tangible public benefit for Maui residents in exchange for Charter’s use of our valuable PUBLICLY OWNED RIGHTS OF WAY. DCCA is granting a telecommunications monopoly that is worth billions over the franchise term.

 

Akaku has reviewed and analyzed the transfer documents on the DCCA website and prepared these recommended TALKING POINTS you, the consumer, can use as a guide to inform your testimony and spec out the multichannel video service and fast Internet system you want for the next fifteen or twenty years!

 

TALKING POINTS ON THE OCEANIC TIME WARNER/CHARTER MERGER

 

1. CHARTER APPLICATION FOR TRANSFER OF CABLE SERVICE IS INCOMPLETE

In its Response to DCCA questions in its application, Charter refused to answer questions re: Section IV.C (1) listing names and locations of current franchises, and number of subscribers and gross revenues for each. It has claimed in several incidences that essential information requested by DCCA is “not within the DCCA’s scope of review”, “not reasonably necessary”, “burdensome”, “non-jurisdictional”, “overbroad” or “unrelated to the Transaction”. Charter has not adequately explained character issues regarding sexual discrimination and discrimination against people with disabilities cited in Section IV.B of their Application and in FCC Form 394 Exhibit 6., Charter has not adequately explained its legal, financial or technical capabilities. The Charter Application lacks specificity and detail in multiple responses to DCCA questions i.e. Response in Section II.G, General Information regarding changes, is deficient and incomplete. Response to IV.E, Technical Qualifications and Plans, are so incomplete that their lack of specificity makes them almost meaningless.

 

2. WE WANT A COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM FOR THE 21st CENTURY WITH ENFORCABLE SERVICE LEVEL AGREEMENTS.

We want DCCA to put concrete language in ironclad contracts in addition to the franchise agreement that enforce rate transparency and service level agreements with Charter so they cannot lie to us and charge us for fast broadband Internet speeds and MVDS/OTT services without actually delivering advertised performance. We want cable programming service agreements as well. These agreements should contain penalties for non-compliance and be reviewable by DCCA every two years.

 

3. DCCA MUST NOT ALLOW CHARTER TO USE MULTICHANNEL VIDEO PROGRAMMING DISTRIBUTION SERVICES (MVPDS) OR OTHER TECHNICAL MEANS TO CIRCUMVENT FRANCHISE FEE PAYMENTS

Everyone knows technology is evolving at blinding speed and what we used to call “TV” is being delivered everywhere and on every device. Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) delivery of multichannel distribution of video content Over the Top (OTT) should not be used to circumvent franchise fee funding of community communication and cable regulation. DCCA must recognize this and mandate by contract that Akaku/PEG channels are fully funded for the term of the franchise at minimum present day levels and displayed in the same manner and accessibility as PBS and Oahu local broadcast channels in analog, digital, HD, on every tier and on-demand on every device.

 

4. CHARTER’S NON-COMMITMENT TO PEG ACCESS IN RESPONSE TO SECTION IV.E 10 and NOTE 13 NOTWITHSTANDING, CHARTER NEEDS TO AGREE TO FULLY FUND AKAKU, PBS, AND DCCA CABLE AND BROADBAND REGULATION AT AMOUNTS EQUIVALENT TO NO LESS THAN PRESENT (2015) FRANCHISE FEE LEVELS ADJUSTED FOR INFLATION FOR THE FRANCHISE TERM. THIS MINIMUM LEVEL OF FUNDING MUST BE PROVIDED REGARDLESS OF CHANGES IN FEDERAL OR STATE LEGISLATION DURING THE TERM OF THE FRANCHISE.

 

5. CHARTER MUST PROVIDE MINIMUM BROADBAND SPEEDS BY CONTRACT

Upload and download Internet speeds must be guaranteed by contract at affordable rates. Currently Internet service from Oceanic Time Warner is inconsistent, unreliable and erratic in most areas of Maui Nui making it difficult to move large media, data or medical files. In its application, Charter has promised minimum download broadband speeds of 60 mbps and a 300 mbps rollout on Maui. In the era we are entering called the “Internet of Things”, this is simply not good enough. Charter needs to demonstrate concrete plans to meet the State of Hawai’i’s stated broadband goal of Symmetrical Gigabit Internet Service to all Hawaii residents by 2018. These speeds need to be codified by contract in enforceable service agreements with its customers and all rural areas including Hana, Lanai and Molokai must be included in the expansion. A three-year rate freeze should be put into effect as well.

 

6. THE CHARTER APPLICATION PROMISED TRANSITION TO ALL DIGITAL NETWORKS WITHIN 30 MONTHS OF CLOSE OF TRANSACTION with a caveat that 1% of homes will not be upgraded to digital within this timeframe. Charter must agree by contract that Maui, Molokai and Lanai subscribers will not be part of this 1% digital divide and that Akaku PEG channels and channel designations will be preserved and transitioned to digital and HD in the same manner as PBS and local broadcast with channel placement and compression algorithms approved by Akaku and by DCCA in advance of transition.

 

7. CHARTER MUST COMMIT TO PUBLIC INTEREST BANDWIDTH AND FIBER TO THE HOME.  Charter must set aside a minimum of 10% of its total bandwidth for HD and on-demand options for all PEG channels. Charter must also agree to a 100% Fiber build out to the home (FTTH) for all voice, data, cable and Internet subscribers within 4 years of close of transaction or by the end of 2020 whichever comes first.

 

8. LOCAL CUSTOMER SERVICE STANDARDS MUST BE MAINTAINED

Customer service call centers, locations, field technician and technical assistance must be available locally 24/7 x 365 with prompt response times regulated by service agreements. Agreements must include automatic refunds for lost service or outages.

 

9. CHARTER MUST PROVIDE FREE Wi-Fi AND UPSTREAM VIDEO CONNECTIONS TO COMMUNITY ANCHOR INSTITUTIONS AND DESIGNATED FACILITIES. To support economic development and education, Charter Communications must provide live upstream transmission capability and high speed broadband service to designated Community Anchor Institutions, public and private schools, government buildings, hospitals, libraries, community centers, community media centers, non-profit agencies, and public parks.

 

10. CHARTER MUST MATCH BEST PUBLIC BENEFIT DEAL  A “most favored nation” clause should be included in the franchise agreement that would require Charter to meet or exceed any public benefit service provided by Charter in any of its markets at the request of the DCCA if the DCCA determines the service to be in the best interest of the public.

 

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Pesticides in paradise: Hawaii’s spike in birth defects puts focus on GM crops

Local doctors are in the eye of a storm swirling for the past three years over whether corn that’s been genetically modified to resist pesticides is a source of prosperity, as companies claim, or of birth defects and illnesses

By Christopher Pala in Waimea for The Guardian

Pediatrician Carla Nelson remembers catching sight of the unusually pale newborn, then hearing an abnormal heartbeat through the stethoscope and thinking that something was terribly wrong.

The baby was born minutes before with a severe heart malformation that would require complex surgery. What worried her as she waited for the ambulance plane to take the infant from Waimea, on the island of Kauai, to the main children’s hospital in Honolulu, on another Hawaiian island, was that it was the fourth one shehad seen in three years.

In all of Waimea, there have been at least nine in five years, she says, shaking her head. That’s more than 10 times the national rate, according to analysis by local doctors.

Nelson, a Californian, and other local doctors find themselves in the eye of a storm swirling for the past three years around the Hawaiian archipelago over whether a major cash crop on four of the six main islands, corn that’s been genetically modified to resist pesticides, is a source of prosperity, as the companies claim – or of birth defects and illnesses, as the doctors and many others suspect.

After four separate attempts to rein in the companies over the past two years all failed, an estimated 10,000 people marched on 9 August through Honolulu’s Waikiki tourist district. Some signs like, “We Deserve the Right to Know: Stop Poisoning Paradise” and “Save Hawaii – Stop GMOs” (Genetically Modified Organisms), while others protested different issues.

“The turnout and the number of groups marching showed how many people are very frustrated with the situation,” says native Hawaiian activist Walter Ritte of the island of Molokai.

Seventeen times more pesticide
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Waimea and the GMO fields. The two orange-roof buildings at bottom left are the Middle School. The one to its right is the hospital. Photograph: Christopher Pala for the Guardian

Waimea, a small town of low, pastel wood houses built in south-west Kauai for plantation workers in the 19th century, now sustains its economy mostly from a trickle of tourists on their way to a spectacular canyon. Perhaps 200 people work full-time for the four giant chemical companies that grow the corn – all of it exported – on some 12,000 acres leased mostly from the state.

In Kauai, chemical companies Dow, BASF, Syngenta and DuPont spray 17 times more pesticide per acre (mostly herbicides, along with insecticides and fungicides) than on ordinary cornfields in the US mainland, according to the most detailed study of the sector.

That’s because they are precisely testing the strain’s resistance to herbicides that kill other plants. About a fourth of the total are called Restricted Use Pesticides because of their harmfulness. Just in Kauai, 18 tons – mostly atrazine, paraquat (both banned in Europe) and chlorpyrifos – were applied in 2012. The World Health Organization this year announced that glyphosate, sold as Roundup, the most common of the non-restricted herbicides, is “probably carcinogenic in humans”.

The cornfields lie above Waimea as the land, developed in the 1870s for the Kekaha Sugar Company plantation, slopes gently up toward arid, craggy hilltops. Most fields are reddish-brown and perfectly furrowed. Some parts are bright green: that’s when the corn is actually grown.

Both parts are sprayed frequently, sometimes every couple of days. Most of the fields lie fallow at any given time as they await the next crop, but they are still sprayed with pesticides to keep anything from growing. “To grow either seed crops or test crops, you need soil that’s essentially sterile,” says professor Hector Valenzuela of the University of Hawaii department of tropical plant and soil science.

When the spraying is underway and the wind blows downhill from the fields to the town – a time no spraying should occur – residents complain of stinging eyes, headaches and vomiting.

“Your eyes and lungs hurt, you feel dizzy and nauseous. It’s awful,” says middle school special education teacher Howard Hurst, who was present at two evacuations. “Here, 10% of the students get special-ed services, but the state average is 6.3%,” he says. “It’s hard to think the pesticides don’t play a role.”

At these times, many crowd the waiting rooms of the town’s main hospital, which was run until recently by Dow AgroSciences’ former chief lobbyist in Honolulu. It lies beside the middle school, both 1,700ft from Syngenta fields. The hospital, built by the old sugar plantation, has never studied the effects of the pesticides on its patients.

The chemical companies that grow the corn in land previously used for sugar refuse to disclose with any precision which chemicals they use, where and in what amounts, but they insist the pesticides are safe, and most state and local politicians concur. “The Hawai‘i legislature has never given the slightest indication that it intended to regulate genetically engineered crops,” wrote lawyer Paul Achitoff of Earthjustice in a recent court case.

As for the birth defects spike, “We have not seen any credible source of statistical health information to support the claims,” said Bennette Misalucha, executive director of Hawaii Crop Improvement Association, the chemical companies trade association, in a written statement distributed by a publicist. She declined to be interviewed.

Nelson, the pediatrician, points out that American Academy of Pediatrics’ report, Pesticide Exposure in Children, found “an association between pesticides and adverse birth outcomes, including physical birth defects”. Noting that local schools have been evacuated twice and children sent to hospital because of pesticide drift, Nelson says doctors need prior disclosure of sprayings: “It’s hard to treat a child when you don’t know which chemical he’s been exposed to.”

Her concerns and those of most of her colleagues have grown as the chemical companies doubled to 25,000 acres in a decade the area in Hawaii they devote to growing new varieties of herbicide-resistant corn.

Today, about 90% of industrial GMO corn grown in the US was originally developed in Hawaii, with the island of Kauai hosting the biggest area. The balmy weather yields three crops a year instead of one, allowing the companies to bring a new strain to market in a third of the time.

Once it’s ready, the same fields are used to raise seed corn, which is sent to contract farms on the mainland. It is their output, called by critics a pesticide delivery system, that is sold to the US farmers, along with the pesticides manufactured by the breeder that each strain has been modified to tolerate.

Corn’s uses are as industrial as its cultivation: less than 1% is eaten. About 40% is turned into ethanol for cars, 36% becomes cattle feed, 10% is used by the food industry and the rest is exported.

‘We just want to gather information’

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 1.00.51 PM
A march against pesticides in Hawaii. Photograph: Christopher Pala for the Guardian

At a Starbucks just outside Honolulu, Sidney Johnson, a pediatric surgeon at the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children who oversees all children born in Hawaii with major birth defects and operates on many, says he’s been thinking about pesticides a lot lately. The reason: he’s noticed that the number of babies born here with their abdominal organs outside, a rare condition known as gastroschisis, has grown from three a year in the 1980s to about a dozen now.

“We have cleanest water and air in the world,” he says. So he’s working with a medical student on a study of his hospital’s records to determine whether the parents of the gastroschisis infants were living near fields that were being sprayed around the time of conception and early pregnancy. He plans to extend the study to parents of babies suffering from heart defects.

“You kind of wonder why this wasn’t done before,” he says. “Data from other states show there might be a link, and Hawaii might be the best place to prove it.”

Unbeknownst to Johnson, another two physicians have been heading in the same direction, but with some constraints. They’re members of a state-county commission appointed this year to “determine if there are human harms coming from these pesticides”, as its chairman, a professional facilitator named Peter Adler, tells a meeting of angry local residents in Waimea earlier this month. Several express skepticism that the panel is anything but another exercise in obfuscation.

The panel of nine part-time volunteers also includes two scientists from the chemical companies and several of their critics. “We just want to gather information and make some recommendations,” Adler tells the crowd of about 60 people. “We won’t be doing any original research.”

But one of the two doctors, a retired pediatrician named Lee Evslin, plans to do just that. “I want see if any health trends stand out among people that might have been exposed to pesticides,” he says in an interview. “It won’t be a full epidemiological study, but it will probably be more complete than anything that’s been done before.”

The panel itself, called the Joint Fact-Finding Study Group on Genetically Modified Crops and Pesticides on Kauaʻi, is the only achievement of three years of failed attempts to force the companies to disclose in advance what they spray and to create buffer zones – which they do in 11 other states, where food crops receive much less pesticides per acre.

The pushback from the expansion of the GMO acreage first emerged when Gary Hooser of Kauai, a former state senate majority leader who failed in a bid for lieutenant governor in 2010, ran for his old seat on the Kauai County council in 2012.

“Everywhere I went, people were concerned about GMOs and pesticides. They were saying, ‘Gary, we gotta do something’,” he recounts over coffee at the trendy Ha Coffee Bar in Lihue, the island’s capital. “Some were worried about the GMO process itself and others by the threats of the pesticides, and it became one of the dominant political issues.”

Once elected, Hooser, who has a ruddy complexion, piercing blue eyes and arrived in Hawaii as a teenager from California, approached the companies for information about exactly what they were spraying and in what amounts. He was rebuffed.

In the process of what he called “doing my homework”, he discovered that the companies, unlike regular farmers, were operating under a decades-old Environmental Protection Agency permit to discharge toxic chemicals in water that had been grandfathered from the days of the sugar plantation, when the amounts and toxicities of pesticides were much lower. The state has asked for a federal exemption for the companies so they can avoid modern standards of compliance.

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 1.00.38 PMHe also found that the companies, unlike regular farmers, don’t pay the 4% state excise tax. Some weren’t even asked to pay property taxes, worth $125,000 a year. After pressure from Hooser and the county tax office, the companies paid two years’ worth of back taxes.

So with the backing of three other members of the seven-member Kauai council, he drafted a law requiring the companies to disclose yearly what they had grown and where, and to announce in advance which pesticides they proposed to spray, where and when. The law initially also imposed a moratorium on the chemical companies expanding their acreage while their environmental impact was assessed.

After a series of hearings packed by company employees and their families wearing blue and opponents wearing red, the bill was watered down by eliminating the moratorium and reducing the scope of the environmental study. The ordinance then passed, but the companies sued in federal court, where a judge ruled that the state’s law on pesticides precluded the counties from regulating them. After the ruling, the state and the county created the joint fact-finding panel officially committed to conducting no new research.

Hooser is confident the ruling will be overturned on appeal: the Hawaii constitution “specifically requires” the state and the counties to protect the communities and their environment.

In his appeal, Achitoff of Earthjustice argued that Hawaii’s general pesticide law does not “demonstrate that the legislature intended to force the county to sit and watch while its schoolchildren are being sent to the hospital so long as state agencies do not remedy the problem.”

In the Big Island, which is called Hawaii and hosts no GMO corn, a similar process unfolded later in 2013: the county council passed a law that effectively banned the chemical companies from moving in, and it was struck down in federal court for the same reasons. A ban on genetically modified taro, a food root deemed sacred in Hawaiian mythology, was allowed to stand.

In Maui County, which includes the islands of Maui and Molokai, both with large GMO corn fields, a group of residents calling themselves the Shaka Movement sidestepped the company-friendly council and launched a ballot initiative that called for a moratorium on all GMO farming until a full environmental impact statement is completed there.

The companies, primarily Monsanto, spent $7.2m on the campaign ($327.95 per “no” vote, reported to be the most expensive political campaign in Hawaii history) and still lost.

Again, they sued in federal court, and, a judge found that the Maui County initiative was preempted by federal law. Those rulings are also being appealed.

In the state legislature in Honolulu, Senator Josh Green, a Democrat who then chaired the health committee, earlier this year attempted a fourth effort at curbing the pesticide spraying.

In the legislature, he said, it’s an open secret that most heads of the agriculture committee have had “a closer relationship with the agro-chemical companies than with the environmental groups”.

Green, an emergency room doctor who was raised in Pennsylvania, drafted legislation to mandate some prior disclosure and some buffer zones. “I thought that was a reasonable compromise,” he says. Still, he also drafted a weaker bill as a failsafe. “If even that one doesn’t pass, it’s going to be obvious that the state doesn’t have the political will to stand up to the chemical companies,” he said in a phone interview at the time. “That would be terrible.”

The chairman of the senate agricultural committee, Cliff Tsuji, didn’t even bring the weaker bill to a vote, even though Hawaii’s governor had pledged to sign any bill that created buffer zones.

Asked by email what he would do now, Green replied with a quip: “Drink scotch.”

This report was supported by a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism.

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