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Hawaii House committee passes buffer zone bill to protect children from agricultural chemicals

Buffer zone

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(NaturalNews) According to the biotech industry's front group on the Hawaiian Islands, the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association (HCIA), "Hawaii has been the gateway for the future of worldwide agriculture through the efforts of our local seed industry. Virtually all of the products that our member companies sell spend some of their development time in Hawaii."

And those member companies include Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta and DuPont Pioneer. Hawaii's largest landowner, Kamehameha Schools, a private college-preparatory school and land trust, owns roughly half of Hawaii's farmland. Kamehameha currently leases thousands of acres of land to those four listed biotech companies for seed production and open-field agrochemical testing.

All of those companies within the HCIA have financial connections, that is funding troughs, with the University of Hawaii, very much in the same way Monsanto owns Cornell University on the mainland. In December of 2013 after a few local county legislative victories against the biotech industry, a mile-long march was conducted by local activists urging Kamehameha to "evict Monsanto."

The grassroots 2013 movement that was declared a "tsunami of change" and started with local county victories has achieved a recent state legislative win with the passage of HB 1514. "The potential for a tsunami of change is real and at our door step. Business as usual is over, done, pau," asserted Gary Hooser, anti-GMO activist and former State Senate Majority Leader.

The February 2015 passing of HB 1514 is a major step toward taking the islands away from the clutches of Darth Vader chemical companies posing as "life science companies" dedicated to solving issues of world hunger and casting them as the merchants of poison they are and always have been.

The battle for the bill that was passed - HB 1514

Many showed up in person and online to register support for this bill, which demands disclosures of all chemicals tested when and where and the amounts used. In addition, it calls for testing ground water, pond water and soil pesticide and herbicide levels on a regular basis.

Kauai County Council Member Gary Hooser explained: "The DOH (Department of Health) has shown no regular, consistent, systematic testing of soil, water or air in the vicinity of these industrial operations . . . and the Department of Agriculture (DOA) has shown by its past action and inaction that it's not equipped or interested in accepting the responsibility."

"The DOA does not even know what pesticides are used, how much is used, nor where they are being used. On Kauai, companies that apply pesticides 250 times per year might be inspected by the DOA seven," added Hooser.

Another provision of the bill is that at least a three-quarter mile buffer zone is established between open field spray testing and schools and hospitals.

At least 25 schools in Hawaii are located within a mile of large agricultural companies that spray restricted-use pesticides, a highly toxic class of pesticides that can disrupt critical developmental processes in children if they are exposed in early life.

Of course the Darth Vader chemical groups waged their protest via the HCIA, declaring:

HB 1514 assigns arbitrary restrictions and conditions that go far beyond science-based regulations. The Environmental Protection Agency evaluates and registers pesticides to ensure that they will not harm people, non-target species, or the environment. ... EPA determines the condition under which the pesticide can be used based on thorough research of any possible health or environmental effect. (Emphasis added)

Of course, that's not true. The EPA and USDA up the levels of pesticide and herbicide use according to agribusiness demands. HCIA Executive Director Bennette Misalucha further claimed that HB 1514 would endanger small farmers and warned that the bill would be taking away vital tools from farmers.

That too is bogus. The bill is for very-high-volume Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP) users only; it does not impact small farmers, because they do not use extremely high amounts of RUPs.

Besides, small farms should be using natural methods of pest control that organic farmers and permaculture advocates use. It's farm workers and farmers' well waters that are affected the most by glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup and other pesticides sprayed liberally on their farms.

Meanwhile, people on Kauai's west side are reporting serious illnesses. Physicians testify that their patients have 10 times the national rate of certain rare birth defects.

Go here for a complete listing of the types of pesticides being tested on the islands and their dangers.








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