GMO public hearing on Kauai draws hundreds

GMO heated debate

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They started to arrive at Kauai Veterans Center early Wednesday morning.

Those in red, supporting this bill.

“Aole GMO! Mahalo. Aloha,” said a supporter.

And in blue, against it.

“A message of the importance of jobs in our community, the importance of good, sustainable agriculture,” Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation Vice President Scott McFarland said.

Inside, a packed house for a public hearing on a bill dividing the island.

It puts a halt to biotech growth, until the county is able to study the environmental impacts. It would require farmers to disclose GMO crops they’re growing. And it would put the county in charge of regulating pesticide use.

This isn’t the first time this issue has surfaced in Hawaii this year. A bill that would require GMO labels on products, did not survive this past legislative session.

But next week, Kauai County will decide on a GMO bill, that would prevent farmers from planting new GMO crops.

“We believe that Bill 2491 is fair and reasonable and just and provides us with basic safety while still allowing the corporations to work here on the island,”  GMO supporter Fern Anuenue Rosenstiel said.

“I basically feel it takes away the rights that we have to farm the land that we farm and help feed a starving population and a growing population,” GMO opponent Keith Horton said.

Kauai County Councilmember Gary Hooser, who introduced the bill, believes they will agree on an ordinance that satisfies both sides.

“Some might say that’s unrealistic, but I believe we can protect the health of the environment and still maintain a strong economy,” Kauai County Councilmember Gary Hooser said.

The council’s economic development committee will discuss the issue next Monday. The council has not yet decided when they’ll make a decision.

Click here for Proposed Draft Bill (No. 2491) – A BILL FOR AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND THE KAUA’I COUNTY CODE 1987, AS AMENDED, BY ADDING A NEW ARTICLE  22 TO CHAPTER 22, RELATING TO PESTICIDES AND GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS

 

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