Below is a chain of communications between myself and Representative Dee Morikawa who represents the west side of Kauai which is home base for the chemical companies, Dow, Dupont and Syngenta.
I posted the below on FaceBook on Tuesday March 7th in response to an article posted in The Garden Island. Rep. Morikawa “shared” my post this morning. Consequently there are multiple threads of comments etc.
So- To provide a coherent view of the exchange and alleviate the need for going back and forth between the two posts, I have posted below the entire text of our various statements
Original Facebook post March 7, 2017
Unfortunately Kauai Representative Dee Morikawa announced today she does not support allowing the County to protect itself against the health and environmental harms caused by the chemical companies based in her district – and she will be voting NO on HB790.
It appears also that she does not fully understand that HB790’s disclosure provisions only apply to the very largest users of Restricted Use Pesticides and will have zero impact on small farmers.
Is sad really as the legislative session still has a long way to go.
If there are valid concerns with the specific language of this important measure those elements could be dealt with via amendments as the measure moves forward in the process.
It is far too early to simple kill the Bill and end the entire discussion.
If you live on Kauai’s west side, please consider making a last minute call to her office with a polite request that she reconsider her position, vote yes and support allowing this important conversation to continue. 808-586-6280. Calls must be made before 11am today, Tuesday March 7. (subsequent note – vote will now be tomorrow, Thursday March 8th)
March 8, 2017 below was posted on FaceBook by Representative Dee Morikawa who represents the west side of Kauai which is home base for the chemical companies, Dupont, Dow, and Syngenta.
“For anyone seeing this post, let me clarify this. I passed the pesticide disclosure bill in 2013 that makes it Mandatory to report restricted use pesticides to the public. Shortly after, 2491 came out by the Kauai County. Then the Kauai Good Neighbor Program was developed and for 3 years reporting by large Kauai ag companies has been occurring. Now in 2017 the Dept. of Ag will be rolling out this program for the whole state to follow. They need to move carefully, and in step with resources to make sure the program can work. You cannot throw mandates without a budget to do it. So let’s be honest about this Gary Hooser. Tell people the whole truth. HB 790 is badly written, and will cost taxpayers a lot of money to accomplish zilch. I do careful and responsible legislation and am embarrassed to see this bill passed in its form. This is an attack to my district who many are employed by these businesses. Who work hard to provide a quality lifestyle for their families, who are community leaders that volunteer to provide children access to sports, community and school events. THE DISCUSSION WE NEED IS ABOUT LEAD POISONING.”
March 8, 2017
Good people can look at the same information and come to different conclusions.
The disclosure Bill you passed in 2013 while well intended and I applaud your effort the end result is totally inadequate and does not accomplish what is needed. http://www.civilbeat.org/2015/03/after-2-years-hawaii-still-wont-enforce-pesticide-disclosure-law/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=users&utm_campaign=morning_beat
The so-called Good Neighbor Program is voluntary, participation is inconsistent, the reports do not include all pesticides and critical pre and post application public notification/signage requirements are woefully inadequate. For the past year the state department of agriculture has suggested that they intend to go “statewide” but we have yet to see that happen, and there are no indications it will happen anytime soon.
The threat of “costing the state a lot of money” is a red herring. The state can and should pass the cost of regulation on to those who are being regulated (the large multinational chemical companies). This is lawmaking 101 – increase fees to pay for administration and place burden of compliance on the companies backed up by fines and penalties. For the state to wring its hands, whine and complain about how difficult this is to implement or that this is going to cost the state “millions” is disingenuous at best.
Like the vast majority of Bills passed at this stage in the legislative process, HB790 is a work in progress. This is the nature of lawmaking at the state legislative level. The reason to “defect the date and move it forward” is to allow further public discussion and permit the various Senate committees to also review and further amend the measure as may be needed. At the end, the Bill would be further reviewed and amended in conference committee – it is only at this point when this and most Bills are finally complete and ready for a final vote. You know this Dee and you know that most of the measures you vote on daily are similar “works in progress”.
HB790 will have no negative impact on the employees of the chemical companies you are concerned about. Syngenta is being fined $4.8 million for not protecting these same people. Perhaps this is a better place to focus your energy and outrage. We should all also be outraged that these companies pay their field workers so little that they must import contract labor from the mainland instead of hiring local residents.
I agree that these companies spend lots of money on community events for the west side of Kauai. I understand that they give lots of money to schools, clubs and various west side organizations. I suggest their motives are not driven entirely by altruism but understand this money is important to the individuals and organizations who benefit from the largesse of the chemical industry.
And yes, lead poisoning is another very important issue that needs to be addressed and I am happy to know you are committed to working on this. Please know that I am very much interested in helping on this as well and will be supporting legislation focused on this issue, as well as continued to work on achieving full pesticide disclosure, buffer zones around schools and comprehensive testing of air, water and dust in the area.
As stated above, good people can look at the same facts and circumstances and come to different conclusions.