Bill 2491 – What’s next? – The Process

Bill 2491 is scheduled for tomorrow Monday August 5 at 8:30am in the Historic County Building on Rice Street in Lihue – The Kauai County Council Committee on Economic Development (Sustainability/Agriculture/Food/Energy and Intergovernmental Relations).

The public is invited and welcome to attend.

It is anticipated that the meeting will begin with a private executive session attended only by council members, county attorneys and council staff.  At the conclusion of this executive session the council members will resume the meeting in open session and spend significant time discussing various aspects of Bill 2491 engaging in Q&A with various resource persons who will be present (legal, science, etc).

At the end of the initial discussion and Q&A segment, public testimony will be accepted.

Because of the nature of the Q&A discussion, there is no way to accurately predict at what point the public testimony segment will begin or end.

This Committee is comprised of 5 members.  The Chair of the Committee is CM Gary Hooser, the Vice Chair is CM Yukimura and members include CM Nakamura, CM Rapozo and CM Kogawa.  CM Bynum and Council Chair Furfaro are not members of the committee and cannot vote at the committee level but are likely to attend and participate in the discussion.

Council members are still gathering information and digesting the volumes of testimony that have been submitted. It is likely that some members will in the future be suggesting amendments to the Bill and but have not had time to adequately prepare those amendments up to this point in the process.

I believe all issues which have been raised during this process can and should be worked through now, within the context of Bill 2491 and via the community process now in place and fully engaged.

The purpose and goal of Bill 2491 is to further protect the health and environment of our community.  The Bill was drafted with a further specific intention to have minimal impacts on the existing operations of impacted industries.

It is my belief that a majority of the committee members share this goal and are committed to seeing the process through toward a positive resolution.

I believe that the time to deal with this issue is now.  The dialogue and the learning will be ongoing, but further community protections protecting health and the environment must be put in place now.

Amendments are an essential and normal part of the process.

It is expected that at some point in the future each member who is supportive of the Bill will offer amendments intended to strengthen, weaken or to clarify existing provisions – depending on the particular members’ perspective and concerns.  It is already obvious from the public dialogue that the buffer zone component may need to be amended to assure the provision does not excessively impact industry activities yet still provides the necessary community and environmental protections.  An example might be an amendment to expand buffer zones around schools, hospitals and homes while clarifying that the buffer zone requirement does not apply to interior private roads and irrigation facilities that are not streams and do not empty into the ocean.

Welcome to the world of public policy making and grass roots democracy.  Thank you to all who are willing to invest the time needed to learn about the process, take ownership of their local government and to work and fight hard for what they believe in.  Imua!

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About garyhooser

This blog represents my thoughts as an individual person. I presently serve now as a volunteer President of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (H.A.P.A.) www.hapahi.org In a past life I was an elected member of the Kauai County Council, a Hawaii State Senator and Majority Leader and the Director of Environmental Quality Control for the State of Hawaii - in an even earlier incarnation I was an entrepreneur and small business owner. Yes, I am one of the luckiest guys on the planet. “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We’re afraid.” “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We will fall!” “Come to the edge.” And they came. And he pushed them. And they flew. - Christopher Logue (b.1926)
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4 Responses to Bill 2491 – What’s next? – The Process

  1. Veronika B. says:

    Thank you so much Gary! After watching the entirety of the proceedings today, it became very clear who are the warriors committed to protecting this precious aina no matter what it takes, and those that are afraid of spending extra time and money to do so, and would rather defer it to the overburdened, underfunded state authority. I hope and pray that you and others are somehow able to convince enough of them that county level is the best way to go to really do it right, and get the kind of oversight needed for these operations to truly protect this island’s land, water, and people. I can speak for myself and my circles that spending our tax dollars on this fight if needed is the kind of thing we are happy to use that money for!!

    The wondeful expert from CA (don’t know his name) said other county’s have done this, and they too were threatened with law suits by the big corps, but they were just intimidating threats, and once the bills were passed, they didn’t fight them. Hawaii still has the freedom to pass this bill and take the issue into our own hands and do it right, let’s do it!!! Mahalo Nui Loa

  2. jonathan jay says:

    so with a 30 day deferment, where does that leave us? is it just a hic-up, a bump in the road, or should this be assessed a higher degree of impact that calls for a counter response, or series of counter-measures. What say you, sir? jj

    • garyhooser says:

      Until this Bill is voted out – either up or down…every meeting is the most important meeting. Yes…it is a bump in the road and yes…it calls for more work. The science and medical argument supports us more every day. The Department of Agriculture admitted there is “pesticide drift” (which is against the law). They also admitted that they do not notify the public when they themselves are notified that drift has occurred. Also we heard that about 50% of the DOA’s pesticide inspections are under secret review because they involve “enforcement actions or possible violations” and that this information is not available to the public…the list of long and it just keeps getting worse from a public health and safety perspective. Somehow have to convince just two council members that this is a problem we cannot ignore and that the County, given its knowledge of this situation must do something now.

  3. Jasmine Schaeffer says:

    I started a bill yesterday on MoveOn.org. Just go to their website and find ‘Pass Kaua’i County Bill 2491’. I am dismayed to find only 13 signatures so far. If we could just get it out there. Please, if you see it, sign it, share it on Facebook, do what you can. Gary, you stand up for us all.

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