Trick or Treat? The Good Neighbor Program – A Masquerade Of Disclosure

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

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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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 Trick or Treat? The Good Neighbor Program – A Masquerade Of Disclosure

  1. Since it is against Federal law to use a pesticide in any way other than labelled, wouldn’t the change in labelling by the state violate this Federal law. They are always talking about how Federal law trumps state and local and law on pesticides and GMOs.

    Should we try to get US EPA and US DoJ involved in investigating this?

    • garyhooser says:

      Apparently Federal law allows the State Department of Agriculture to change/amend the label. There is a requirement that the EPA be notified but the bulk of the approval process seems to be done at the State level.

  2. valentina says:

    Hello Mr. Hooser

    My name is Valentina Martinez and I am a student at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. I am doing an investigative research paper on GMOs, the associated pesticides, and their prevalence in Hawaii, which was my choice, because it is a topic that I am personally very passionate about and I live on the Big Island. I have been utterly consumed in all of the information I have found, and have found your work and this blog quite helpful in finding additional sources. I tried to find contact information to reach you via email, but was able to find none. After graduating I would be interested in working with you, and I would love to ask you a few questions about the incidences that have happened at the Waimea Canyon Middle School and about the recent Ordinance 960 for my paper if you are willing and whenever you have the time. My email is in my information upon my sign up to your blog.

    • garyhooser says:

      Hello Valentina and thank you for your interest and comment. I would be pleased to speak with or meet you to discuss this topic further. My email is GaryLHooser@gmail.com (my middle name is Lee). 808-652-4279. I am working on a new blog piece at the moment which I hope to post later today which you will likely find interesting. A hui hou gh

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