LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) — Gov. Neil Abercrombie is introducing voluntary standards and guidelines for the use of pesticides by large companies, but a Kauai County councilman promoting a bill that would regulate pesticides and genetically modified organisms says the measures don’t go far enough.
Voluntary, temporary steps will include disclosure of pesticides, and setbacks for schools and hospitals, Abercrombie said. The temporary steps would be used until rules or proposed laws are developed.
Abercrombie says the issue shouldn’t be decided at the county level.
Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. said the county is looking forward to hearing more details about how the state intends to establish and implement new disclosure requirements and buffer zones.
But County Councilman Gary Hooser told The Garden Island (http://bit.ly/18nniCH ) the governor’s proposal calls for “a very small portion” of what’s being asked for in a bill before the county council that he co-sponsored.
“Delaying putting into place measures for the health and environment of our community is not an acceptable solution,” Hooser said. “We need to put those in place now.”
Abercrombie spokeswoman Louise Kim McCoy said Tuesday the state Department of Agriculture has performed well in its federally mandated mission to regulate pesticide usage in Hawaii, including in Kauai County. The governor’s announced standards and guidelines will only strengthen the department’s pesticide regulatory mission on Kauai and throughout the state, she said in an email.
The bill before the Kauai County Council would require Kauai’s largest agricultural companies — DuPont Pioneer, Syngenta, Dow AgroSciences, BASF and Kauai Coffee — to disclose pesticide use and genetically modified organisms.
It would also create 500-foot buffer zones around public areas and waterways, and impose a moratorium on the expansion of GMO fields and open-air testing until the county completes an environmental impact study.
The council’s economic development committee is set to resume discussing the bill Friday morning.
Information from: The Garden Island, http://thegardenisland.com/