Do The Right Thing Hawaii They Shout!

Once again, Senator Josh Green is the on my radar again.  It’s amazing that a senator no less is joining the ranks of those who want to send us back to an utopian agrarian society.  He’s apparently hell bent on supposedly doing the right thing.

Well, I’m starting to think that these pandering politicians don’t even have a clue of what the right thing is anymore.  At the SB793 hearing, he was cutting off his fellow senators questioning about the extent to which the law was needed.  Instead of letting Senator Thielen and Senator Chun-Oakland finish asking their questions, he rudely stopped them from getting their answers and kept the public from knowing the answers of the quantities really being used by all industries.  

Not only did he cut off questioning, he rudely chastised Tom Matsuda of the pesticide branch of the department of agriculture for not having the figures of the pesticides.  If he sponsored this bill, shouldn’t he have gotten the numbers himself? He also shouted out that they use “gigantic” amounts, which is far from the truth.

As a leader figure, his arrogance and rude behavior is so disappointing for a public figure.  I teach my kids to be humble and respectful and here is a community leader showing how not to be.  I also teach my children to be honest when you speak and here he can’t even be honest. No wonder Hawaii is going down the tubes when leaders who should be held to a higher standard can’t even even be used as a good example.

The more I think about these poorly written laws, I realize that the passage of these aren’t going to do a thing for these activists and they know it.  They already don’t trust government and what they are doing with inspections and licensing.  Who is to say that a law is going to suddenly win their trust? They don’t trust the FDA, EPA, or USDA for that matter so why would they even bother to ask for a label from the FDA, whom they don’t trust.  The truth is obvious.

These people’s actions have shown that they have no second thought about being honest or even willing to come to the table to work with others in the community.  They can cut in line at hearings with bogus claims, exaggerate number figures, cherry pick studies, send death threats, make false accusations all over the social media, create fake websites and buy domain names, graffiti up the community, call for crop destruction, make wanted posters of pro-science folks, and so on. 

While the activists are busy pointing fingers at everyone else not being honest and transparent, they forget that 3 more fingers are pointing at themselves.

Why You Gotta Be So Rude?

We all know that song…

As I was watching the hearing for SB793, at segment 29:25 where Senator Josh Green rudely interrupts fellow Senator Suzanne Chun-Oakland’s question to Tom Matsuda of the Department of Agriculture. Shortly after that at segment 32:08, he rudely interrupts Senator Thielen and berates Matsuda for not having all the figures on the pesticides for each of the islands when she tries to determine the true nature of all of the users.

Let’s back up a second here. One of the primary introducers of this piece of legislation was Senator Green. He had to come up with justification for this law in order to draft it. If he did his homework to really identify the problem of pesticides, shouldn’t he already have had some figures already? If not, how in the world did he come up with such a law? Did he pull stuff out of thin air? Interesting that he cut off key questions that would provide more insight and truth about pesticides.

Senator Green’s rudeness really was uncalled for when he should have had his facts in place. Trying to one up the HDOA representative to bolster his image in front of the activists is weak and down right rude. It seems that some legislators have gotten too big in the head to have civility and respect anymore, which is just like the activists that adore them. Even legislators shunning ag workers is a deplorable tactic and so disrespectful as they are to represent the people who voted for them.

Next time a senator tries to get all high and mighty, hum that song, “Why you gotta be so rude?!” In local speak, “Why you gotta be like dat fo?!”

Dear Politicians: Why You Should Take That Evil Corporate Money

Thanks to the nastiness and bullying tactics of the Babes Against Biotech, some of our politicians have decided that they will comply with the demands of Naomi Carmona.  She apparently is a highly regarded expert in biotechnology and should be heeded as she knows where the future of Hawaii should lie.  Let’s talk a bit more about the claims she makes as fact or truth.

I’m voting for candidates who actually take money from the seed companies because it kicks the ignorance that’s infecting and contaminating our state right in the face.  If a politician has a guts to stand up and say, “I know where the future is and I’m not listening to a hypocritical chic in a bikini and other nasty activists,” that’s the politician I want in office.  The trendy hobby activism is really the dumbing down of Hawaii and making people so oblivious as to how biotech has moved our world forward and how it can help others around us.  Logic, rational thought, research, and evidence must be our guide for the future, not the trend of the moment.

 

GMO Free People Don’t Care if Their Misinformation can Harm

Let’s face it, the people who proudly proclaim themselves as GMO free and A’ole GMO don’t care whether or not the information they state is true or false.  The sad part about their massive misinformation campaign is that it’s deadly.  Just the other day, GMO Free USA was tweeting and Facebook posting this meme associating insulin with diabetes.  Um, no, that isn’t the case.  Dr. Kevin Folta, does a great job and putting the “boneheads” in their place for spreading this kind of misinformation.  Asking a diabetic to be afraid of one’s insulin is a death sentence with this kind of fear mongering.

Screenshot 2014-06-30 22.24.22

 

The World Doesn’t Want GMOs?

Naomi, as well as other anti-GMO activists, will all claim that the rest of the world doesn’t want this technology.  She, of course has no formal education other than being an activist, but somehow knows this.  I walked around the BIO International Convention the last several days and was among some 20K people and I’m really not too sure that she’s telling the truth.

Screenshot 2014-06-30 20.03.36

Little did these misguided women know that inside the exhibition hall was 65 countries featuring their GMO technology behind them.  They included the very autocratic countries that they adore for their “GMO bans,” like Russia, Hungary, and China.

IMG_1102 IMG_1103 IMG_1104 IMG_1105 IMG_1111 IMG_1112 IMG_1113 IMG_1114 IMG_1115 IMG_1116  IMG_1118 IMG_1119 IMG_1120 IMG_1121 IMG_1122 IMG_1124 IMG_1126 IMG_1130
 IMG_1131 IMG_1133 IMG_1134 IMG_1135 IMG_1136 IMG_1137 IMG_1138 IMG_1144IMG_1149

 

IMG_1151 IMG_1153 IMG_1166IMG_1165IMG_1167

It’s pretty clear to me that the world does want GMOs based on what I saw here.  Naomi and her crew will keep touting that there are “64 countries that ban GMOs” over and over but I’m starting to think that they aren’t being fully truthful and didn’t do their due diligence.  That’s not what the 20K attendees to the BIO International Conference saw there last week.

Politicians Fueling Farm Wars with Ideology

Just when I thought the politicians couldn’t get any worse with their fear mongering campaigns, Tulsi Gabbard takes the cake today with her emailer.  (She of course doesn’t let her constituents know that she has taken some $10K from Down to Earth in her campaign coffers either.)  Screenshot 2014-06-30 20.48.04 Screenshot 2014-06-30 20.48.25

Well, I did invite her to the farm over a year ago and she never responded.  I really am irked with her mention of “GMO-free papayas.”  Yes, you are dividing the farmers and knocking the ones devastated by the disease with your pitching of this kind of message.  It makes me angry that uninformed politicians are taking these kinds of sides and ignoring where the world is heading.  Her Down to Earth and Whole Food Markets supply a mere 1% of the Hawaii’s markets and she’s fear mongering to the general public to be afraid of food that has been tested beyond belief is unbelievable to me.  What’s she saying about the 99% who buy their food at Times, Foodland, and Sack and Save?  Should I feel bad for buying food that is affordable?

If she sincerely wants that “local and sustainable food supply,” I think she should ask the very people who are the ones that are “local and sustaining” the food market.  The papaya farmers from my dad to others are definitely sustainable at some 40 years or more and going on 3 generations and she’s sending a snub their way.  Sorry, Tulsi, this has gone on too far with your actions and words being so insincere.  If you sincerely want more local food and it be sustainable, then you’d better include all the people involved right now instead of picking and choosing.  You’re part of the problem if you’re not going to look at the whole picture and include all the parts.  That’s not what good leaders do if they are going to solve problems.

But then again, the truth is coming out about politicians like her and others who align with activists.  Russell Ruderman, a Big Island state senator finally comes clean about the truth.

Screenshot 2014-06-26 15.04.22

The truth is out by our anti-GMO politicians.  They aren’t looking out for the local people but for their own self interests in mainland activism and food elitism.  It’s not about making an affordable Hawaii for all but making it harder, and harder for all the local people already having a hard time.

Some wanna be politicians/activists aren’t always very scrupulous and love to play coy too.  You can fool many but you can’t fool them all.

barca email

Dustin Barca, Kauai Mayoral Candidate’s email accusing me of crimes against humanity.

fernignorant

Fern Rosenthiel, of Ohana O Kauai, makes her clueless but honest opinion of the ag workers.

Robert Harris

Robert Harris, Sierra Club Executive Director, who posted this question when I placed a link on Kent Fonomoana’s page about the environmental groups. He’s someone who doesn’t know that Earthjustice is tied to the Sierra Club? Really? Oh, that’s why he deleted it!

Terez Amato, State Senate Candidate running on Maui against the incumbent, Roz Baker. I almost mistook Tulsi’s email for Terez’s!

The unbelievable things people say is documented all over the internet and is so easy to find because it’s everywhere.  Do we as local people want the food fight to continue or are we really going to sit down and actually DO SOMETHING?  If we really want to reach our goal of more local food and farms, then we’d either work together or get out of the way!  A vote for these people shows that they want to continue the onslaught against ag.  It’s your choice this election season.

attabrun

A vote for an anti-GMO candidate is a vote for more of this to happen in our communities. Arthur Brun is a Syngenta employee and an active community contributor who recently found this on his campaign sign. Clearly, the no aloha crew has made it’s mark again.

 

Take that Corporate Evil Money Folks and Have NO SHAME!

Honestly, if I knew that a politician was avoiding taking Monsanto or any other corporation’s money to run their campaign, I’d be proud of them.  They are telling people like the Babes Against Biotech, Hawaii SEED, the Center for Food Safety, Earthjustice, and the Sierra Club that they will not be bullied by misinformation and the non-profit activism money from the mainland.  A politician, who has the bravery to stand up against these groups, deserves the local person’s respect and shows that he or she has done due diligence to researching what the truth really is.

Where was Hawaii SEED and the Babes Against Biotech when papaya farmers across our state had their farms destroyed by disease?  What contribution did these activists offer to help solve this very real problem?  They were not around at all and when the problem was finally solved, then they started to attack the farmers’ successes head on.  Many of the members of Hawaii SEED did not laud the saving of these crops but instead started the onslaught of misinformation campaigns with well known groups like the Center for Food Safety.

The best image yet that incorporates fear and demonizes the papaya farmers has to be the one found on their website.  It’s sure to bring on some shivers down your spine when you see a papaya tree and hazmat suits.  Clearly, fear mongering at it’s best! These actions show that these groups are NOT about helping farmers but attacking them.

Fear mongering at it’s best comes from non-profit groups like Hawaii SEED

So who was there to help save this crop from total destruction?  It was the corporations that helped to fund the research that ultimately saved Hawaii papayas.  They donated the resources for this effort to help save that industry so that farmers like these could continue their farms to bring you those local, sustainable foods like papayas.

mike2 mandamba papayasday2 laiefarm7

 

So Mr. and Ms. Politician, don’t be ashamed of who you get your campaign funding from.  It sends us all a message that you have the guts and integrity to stand up for what is right for Hawaii and that you’ve done your homework.  I admire people who can stand up for the truth against a loud, obnoxious and misinformed crowd that are only willing to take away things and never have anything to offer in return.  They say really ugly things and I know, I have had it directed my way, but that is only a reflection on themselves, not you! You are the leaders that Hawaii needs to heal and nurture our communities and move us towards being educated and informed rather than fear mongered and kept in the dark.  Be that leader and do what’s right even though it isn’t popular!

Every time you feel afraid of the activists bullying, you tell these farmers that they can’t farm and need to keep defending their work and have them leaving their fields.  Is that how we are going to meet our goals towards more local food?  Send us a more consistent message and take a stand for what is right.  Stop allowing activism to control the conversations and take that stand.  The farmers need you, the politicians, to do this.  They have lost plenty of time, money, and effort continuing to defend their work.  Let them fulfill their passions.  Let them farm!

Fact Check: SHAKA Movement Claims vs. the Evidence

Let’s do some fact finding here with what the mainland based SHAKA Movement claims as the basics of the backing for a moratorium.  This is a response by Dr. Harold Keyser who took apart their claims and put some facts behind it.

A Response to the Findings in

A Bill Placing a Moratorium on the Cultivation of Genetically Engineered Organisms

 

 

Harold H. Keyser, Ph.D.

Soil Microbiologist and Maui County Administrator, Retired

College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii Manoa

 

On February 21st, 2014, the above named bill was filed with the Office of the Maui County Clerk. The justification for the bill is in the Findings section. A review of this section reveals a lack of understanding of agriculture in general, a lack of supporting evidence for claims made, and a disregard for the voluminous findings in mainstream science over the past two decades on the benefits and risks of genetically engineered crops. The Findings section of the bill is copied below along with my inserted responses, links to publications, and additional resources and documents are listed at the end.

 

 

SECTION 2: Findings

 

Cultural Heritage & Environmental Protection

  1. The rapid and unregulated growth of commercial agricultural entities engaged in the cultivation and development of GE Organisms threatens the stability and growth of Maui County’s agricultural economy, the health of its citizens, and its environment. Moreover, the lands of Maui County and the water surrounding it have cultural and spiritual significance to the indigenous people of Hawaii. This cultural and spiritual heritage will suffer irreparable harm if the natural environment of Maui County is contaminated by GE Operations and Practices.

 

Response:  Cultivation and development of GE crops is highly regulated, by USDA APHIS, FDA and EPA. For specifics in Hawaii, see USDA Regulation of Biotechnology Field Tests in Hawaii, USDA APHIS, BRS Factsheet, February 2006. Also see EPA’s web sites on registration, regulation and use of pesticides. The National Academy of Sciences, American Medical Association, World Health Organization, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science have repeatedly reviewed and affirmed the safety of GE crops and food.

 

  1. Maui County residents have a right to decide if the risks associated with the GE Operations and Pactices are unacceptable and to take action to suspend such Operations and Practices.

 

Response: Maui County residents have the right to continue to grow GE crops in their gardens, such as papaya, and commercial agricultural operations have the right to continue to farm GE crops in accordance with federal and state regulations.

 

  1. GE Organisms are not part of the natural environment of Maui County and instead exist in the County as a possible invasive species. Protection from the possible threat of damage and/or potentially irreversible alteration of the environment and cultural heritage from the threat of invasive GE Organisms is supported by the Hawaiian Public Turst Doctrine, the Hawaii State Constitution, and other State and County envrionmental laws.

 

Response: The only plants in Maui County that are part of the natural environment are those remaining from before human contact. Certainly, highly bred commercial onions, cabbage, lettuce, papaya, banana, mangoes, and just about all crops we grow, are not. GE crops are then no different in this respect.

 

  1. The genetic engineering of plants and animals often causes unintended consequences. Manipulating genes via genetic engineering and inserting them into organisms is an imprecise process. The resultus are not always predictable or controllable. Mixing plant, animal, bacterial, and viral genes through genetic engineering in combinations that are not selected for in nature may produce results that lead to adverse health or environmental consequences and threaten Maui County’s cultural heritage, Environment and Public Trust Resources.

 

Response: Unintended effects from plant breeding are described in the scientific literature. To date, the documented unintended consequences specifically from genetic engineering include substantial reduction in mycotoxin content in Bt corn, increased lignin in Bt corn, and GE petunias with diminishing color over generations. Any method of breeding can have unintended results, and products from GE breeding are the only ones thoroughly assessed prior to marketing. GE is the most precise plant breeding technique available.

 

Pesticide Concerns

  1. GE Operations and Practices can have serious effects on the environment. For example, in 2013, 93 percent of all soy grown in the U.S. was engineered to be herbicide resistant. In fact, the vast majority of GE crops are designed to withstand herbicides, and therefore promote indiscriminate herbicide use. As a result, GE herbicie-resistant crops have caused 527 million pounds of additional herbicies to be applied to the nation’s farmland. These toxic herbicides damage the vitality and quality of our soil, harm wildlife, contaminate our drinking water, and pose health risks to consumers and farm workers.

 

Response: The USDA Economic Research Service’s comprehensive study on Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 provides the actual data; since peak applications in the mid-1980s, the amount of herbicide applied to all US soybeans is down almost 25% along with a 33% reduction in pounds of active ingredient applied per acre, even with increased acreage. Similarly, they show that herbicide application to all 21 crops is less than the mid-1980’s peak, and they compare the same trend reported by EPA for all pesticides. The associated herbicides (glyphosate and glufinosate) for GE crops are much less toxic than the herbicides they replaced, are used at lower concentrations, have a shorter half-life in soil, and are found in much lower concentrations in water than previous herbicides. See: The Impact of GE Crops on Farm Sustainability in the US, National Research Council, National Academies Press, 2010.

 

  1. Increased use of herbicides in GE Operations and Practices has resulted in the rapid development and proliferation of previously unknown herbicide-tolerant superweeds. The proliferation of these superweeds threatens to overtake the habitat of native flora and fauna in uncltivated lands and forces farmers to use increasingly toxic and expensive herbicides to remove them from cultivated lands.

 

Response: There is nothing new or ‘super’ about herbicide tolerant weeds; they are controlled with either an herbicide with a different mode of action or by tillage. Glyphosate is in sixth place among herbicide groups in terms of the number of resistant biotypes, behind chlorsulfouron, atrizne, dicolfop, 2, 4-D and paraquat. Herbicide resistant weeds are not unique to farming with GE crops, having arisen in the late 1950s, some 40 years before GE crops. Minimizing their occurrence and economic impact is important and a part of good agricultural management. See International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds

 

  1. GE Operations and Practices and associated pesticide use pose a high risk of fostering rapid evolution of pests known as superbugs that become resistant to organic pesticides, to the detriment of conventional and organic farmers who are forced to use increasingly larger volumes and/or stronger pesticides to manage these new pests.

 

Response: The major organic pesticide in common use by GE and organic operations is Bt. To date, the incidence of Bt resistance remains low with emphasis on abundant refuges and multiple-trait Bt crops.

 

  1. In some GE Operations and Practices, multiple Pesticides are applied at the same time or applied in close time proximity to each other (“pesticide cocktails”). This practice is often being used on test crops in a trial and error manner to test and develop new Pesticide resistant Crops. In this process it is possible that new and unknown chemicals are created. Although individual Pesticides have been tested and regulated for their use in isolation, there has not been adequate testing and/or regulations concerning the various chemical combinations that occur during GE Operations and Practices, and few if any of which have been tested in either short term or long term animal or human studies.

 

Response: All modes of agriculture (GE, conventional, organic) across the country use a mixture of pesticides, depending upon a myriad of changing conditions. EPA regulates pesticides including combinations, and routinely makes recommendations on mixing of products. Risks of possible unknown chemicals (theoretical as it is) would not be unique to use of GE compared to non GE crops.

 

Regulatory Issues

  1. Inadequate regulatory oversight at the county, state, and federal levels leave the citizens of Maui County with significnat concerns regarding the immediate safety and long term effects of GE Operations and Practices threatening the integrity of Maui County’s cultural heritage, agricultural economy, tourism economy, and the health of its visitors, citizens, and the environment.

 

Response: This appears to be a superfluous repetition – see response to Finding 1 above.

 

  1. The rapid development and introduction of GE Organisms, combined with inadequate regulatory oversight at the stae and federal levels, have left the citizens of Maui County with significant concerns regarding the long-term safety of GE Operations and Practices. The Hawaii Department of Agriculture does not have an adequate regulatory structure in place to monitor GE Operations and Practices or to aid in the understanding of the impacts of these Operations and Practices on Maui’s economy, environment, cultural heritage, or public health. The direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts on Maui County regarding the long-term intensive GE Operations and Practices and associated pesticide uses have not been properly or independently evaluated.

 

Response: This appears to be a superfluous repetition – see response to Finding 1 above.

 

Economic Considerations

  1. Agriculture is a [sic] important component of Maui’s agricultural economy. Organic agriculture is a rapidly expanding sector of Maui’s agricultural economy.

 

Response: Yes, according to USDA’s latest National Ag Statistics Service’s annual survey and their latest Certified Organic Production Survey (Oct 2012), the sales of organic farm products in Hawaii of $7.475 million accounts for 1.2% of all agricultural sales, produced on 2,701 organic certified acres (1,049 in pasture/range), or 0.24% of the state’s agricultural acreage. Data by county in Hawaii could not be found.

 

  1. Maui County’s local economy is also dependent on the success of its tourism industry, which makes up the County’s largest employment sector. The protection of Maui’s land and waters is crucial to the continuing success of Maui’s tourism industry.

 

  1. Maui’s agricultural economy relies on maintaining its reputation for high quality organic and conventional crops. Preserving the identity, quality, and reliability of Maui’s agricultural products and exports is critical to its economic well-being.

 

Transgenic Contamination

  1. The contamination of agricultural products with GE Organisms can have a myriad of significant impacts. Organic and many foreign markets prohibit GE products and even a single event of Transgenic Contamination can and has resulted in significant economic harm when the contaminated crops are rejected by buyers.

 

Response: The predominant GE crops in Hawaii are seed corn and papaya. The papaya growers have established foreign markets which includes testing of non-GE papayas prior to shipping. According to the USDA NASS, in Hawaii there are two farms producing certified organic sweet corn and one farm producing certified organic corn silage/green chop; to date, no reports of economic loss from cross-pollination of non-organic corn are in the public domain.

 

  1. Transgenic contamination can and does occur as a result of cross-pollination, co-mingling of conventional and GE seeds, accidental transfer by animals or weather events, and other mechanisms. Transgenic contamination results in GE crops growing where they are not intended. For example, since the introduction of GE papaya in Hawaii County (Big Island), more than 50% of the non-GE papaya crops on the Big Island have been cross-contaminated by GE papaya.

 

Response: The 2006 report from GMO-Free Hawaii claimed that papaya seed collected from backyard gardens or wild trees from the Big Island had a 50% incidence of detectable GE seeds according to the results from a commercial lab. No further confirmation or follow up study has been conducted other than UH CTAHR’s survey of papayas from across Kauai which found zero incidence for presence of GE papaya trees or their fruit.

 

  1. Transgenic contamination prevents farmers and the public from having the fundamental right to choose whether or not to grow crops that are free from GE. Farmers and other parties who lose non-GE standing and markets through no fault of their own as a result of transgenic contamination have no adequate legal recourse.

 

Response: There are no publically available reports in Hawaii documenting loss of non-GE standing and markets due to cross-pollination from GE corn or papaya.

 

  1. Currently, no mechanisms exist to ensure that transgenic cotamination will not occur.

 

Response: Cross-pollination in corn and papaya is well understood. In papaya, using hermaphrodite plants (combined with roughing out females) is the commercial standard, with self-pollination occurring at a very high rate before the flower opens, which greatly minimizes cross-pollination. In corn, it is well established from foundation and certified seed production that timing and distance are effective mechanisms for minimizing cross-pollination.

 

  1. There are no known or proven scientific methodologies or procedures to recall GE Organisms or remediate/decontaminate the Environment from any damages once GE Organisms are released into the Environment and contamination has occurred.

 

Response: Not so; a simple procedure is to cease planting of a given variety. Detection of unapproved StarLink corn in the food supply in 2000 led to an immediate halt in further planting combined with continuous monitoring for its presence in US corn supply. Six years of testing showed US corn to be 99.99% StarLink free, and EPA then submitted this data in their proposal to cease the monitoring. It was successfully recalled and caused no allergies. See: US EPA Office of Pesticide Programs, Concerning Dietary Exposure to Cry9c Protein Produced by StarLink Corn and the Potential risks Associated with Such Exposure, October 16, 2007.

 

Risk of Harm to Soil Resources

  1. GE Operations and Practices in Maui County primarily involve seed crops and test crops that include aggressive and repeated use of pesticides before planting and during the growing cycle of these crops. Such Operations and Practices present risks and significant harm to soil resources. Some of Maui County’s soil microbes are harmed by the application of pesticides used in GE Operations and Practices.

 

Response:  Pesticides are used by conventional, organic and GE crop producers. Best management practices should be followed by all. There is a lack of evidence to show that soil resources are differentially affected by pesticide regimes associated with the different modes of production.

 

 

 

Risk of Harm to Water Resources

  1. Areas of Maui’s groundwater are already significantly contaminated with Pesticides, including DBCP and TCP, from former conventional pineapple growing operations. GE Operations and Practices in Maui County involve unprecedented use of Pesticides which greatly exacerbate an already existing problem.

 

Response: Data from the Maui County Department of Water Supply on the wells at Hamakuapoko shows that the levels of these organic residues are very low, and after treatment with the installed granular activated carbon filters, the three target organic residues (DBCP, EDB and TCP) all were below the EPA limits and in almost all cases non-detectable. Also, the 2013-2014 State Wide Pesticide Sampling Pilot Project Water Quality Finding by HDOH, HDOA and USGS does not support this alleged finding; urban areas on Oahu showed the highest number of different pesticides, and Oahu’s streams had the highest number of different pesticides detected.

 

  1. Many field sites are left fallow for significant periods of time while repeated Pesticide applications are applied. Pesticide laden water runoff from is [sic] exacerbated by repeated Pesticide treatments to fallow sites, presenting short and long term risks of significant harm to ground and surface water, beaches, and reefs.

 

Response: What data there is (see the previous response) does not support this alleged finding.

 

Risk of Harm to Air Resources

  1. Pesticide drift and fugitive dust from GE Operations and Practices present short and long term risks of significant harm especially to air resources, farm workers, and to persons living downwind from GE Operations and Practices.

 

Response: The alleged finding is not supported by existing data. The Final Project Report for Kauai Air Sampling Study (Li et al., 2013) was conducted to address community concerns about possible pesticide residues and odorous chemicals in and around Waimea, Kauai. Results of indoor and outdoor air samples showed that those pesticides that could be detected were well below the health concern exposure limits or applicable screening levels. While this data was collected in Kauai, it is instructive for Maui County which has a similar mix of agricultural operations.

 

 

Additional Resources and Documents:

 

CTAHR Biotech in Focus

 

USDA APHIS Biotechnology: Compliance with Regulations

 

USDA APHIS BRS Update FY2012and USDA APHIS BRS Update FY2011

 

An overview of the last 10 years of genetically engineered crop safety; no significant hazard detected in 1,783 scientific records

 

Kauai cancer inquiries report from Hawaii State Department of Health and Hawaii Tumor Registry reply regarding Kauai cancer inquiries

 

Genetically Engineered Plants and Foods: A scientist’s analysis of the issues, Part 1 and Part 2 by Peggy Lemaux, UC Berkeley

 

Academics Review: Scientific analysis of unsubstantiated claims by Jeffery Smith about agricultural biotechnology

 

A Farmer Is Honored

It is with great pleasure that I get to announce that my dad, Kenneth Kamiya, will be receiving a Hawaii United Okinawan Association Legacy Award.  He is just one of many other Okinawans, who have strived to be at the best at what he does both locally and nationally.  I’m thrilled that he’s being recognized for he years of work as a farmer, leader, and educator.

My dad will get to have his day of glory when the Okinawan community really gets to know who he is and what he has done over the years.  There will be a nice festivities and a celebration to feature all of the work that he has put in to get where he is now.  After that, he will still be the same person I always knew, my dad.

The very next day after this celebration, he’ll still get up at 5:30 in the morning and get into his favorite work clothes that’s is worn and stained.  He’ll jump into his truck and head down to the farm.  He might open up the office and open up the books to make sure the business is in good running order.  He will walk the fields checking the irrigation lines and scan the leaves of the papaya trees to make sure the bugs aren’t attacking or the other pests are damaging his trees.  He will also check the tractors and other equipment to make sure it is all in working order and fueled up and ready to go.

He does his usual routine of checking emails to see what’s happening on the legal front with lawmakers attempting to make his work even harder.  He’d rather spend more time out on the field farming and driving the tractor around then tinkering on emails to defend his work, but recently that has been part of the routine as more lawmakers would rather regulate it that nurture its existing farmers.  He still will do his part to do what it takes to get those papayas out to his adoring customers week after week, year after year.

The Legacy Award is indeed a great honor for a farmer in this day and age where it has become the norm to attack and criticize their work.  The farmer will look past it and know that he’s indeed doing a good thing for the many people who appreciate his chosen occupation to feed others.  It is a very noble field that is taken for granted by a vocal minority who have no appreciation or understanding of his work.  My dad, the farmer, will go on after receiving this award, just the same as any other day with a slightly fuller feeling of appreciation that someone took the time to say, “You’ve done a good thing.”

Arthur Brun: Someone Who Gives to the Community

Image

Local politics in Hawaii is used to be a place of dignity and respect. This held true even when people in the community didn’t necessarily agree with the platform of a particular candidate. Mr Kahn broke down in tears during his testimony during the public hearings revolving around Bill 2491. He told the council that he cared for Kauai. Mr Brun also came to tears during his testimony to Council around the same topic. Arthur has spent uncountable hours serving the community and has a child with diabetes that he spoke of during his testimony. It is unfortunate that Mr Kahn has no respect for someone like Mr Brun, a person that has given so much service to the community.

–Guest Blogger

 

Just Because You’re Mad… Don’t Take it Out an Everyone!

As a parent of young children, there are simple lessons that instill in my kids as they grow up and learn to interact with others.  Just a few lessons I teach them include being respectful, don’t hit each other, be honest and don’t lie, and just because you’re mad, you don’t take it out on everyone else.  Like many things I do with my kids, I’ve learned it through my mom and dad.

The more I reflect on what I teach my kids, the more I realize that those same lessons apply throughout life if you really think about it.  Then as I look more at what’s happening in Hawaii, I am starting to see that many adults have forgotten some of those basic lessons we learned as kids now.  That is very saddening to me that we teach our kids one thing and totally forget it in our own actions.

What is even more bothersome to me is that elected officials, who have a higher standard to uphold, are also forgetting those small kid time lessons.  If our own leaders can’t instill the right values and behaviors, how can their constituents follow their example?  It’s no wonder politics has become so ugly.

I was reading the Star Advertiser yesterday and was left shaking my head once again.  I wrote a few days ago about the proposed law that removes the exemption for farmers to get permits for grading their land.  If a farmer were to move more than 50 cubic yards of material, it would require a permit now.  It means more costs and time lost to yet another level of regulation.  Less time on the farm means less productivity and lost income.

The amount proposed may be big beans for small farmers but for the ones with bigger fields, 50 cubic yards is really not a whole lot to be moving around.  Due to the abuses of some ag land owners on the Westside, lawmakers have decided to add yet another burden to law abiding farmers.  Kimberly Pine, a city council woman, she stated…

Pine acknowledged the concerns about potential unintended effects but said that “the consequences for our community is that our land has been dumped on and destroyed for far too long, and we’ve had enough.”

I can’t understand why these council members acknowledge problems but still proceed with these half-baked laws.  The catch phrase is that many of them see the “bigger picture” but in actions show that they have no clue what that concept really means.  The bigger picture is not looking at the goal of the law but who and how it affects everyone.  What’s the real impact this will have if actually enacted?

It would be great if they stood in the shoes of those people who would be a target of those “unintended” consequences.  That might make lawmaking a bit more thoughtful and better planned out.  It’s easier to pass a quick bandaid fix to make some people happy but then throw the rest into the fire along the way.  That bandaid isn’t going to fix anything in reality other than mask the real problems.  It’s like being my older daughter, who is reading her book minding her own business, then finds herself whacked in the head by her sister out of the blue.

There indeed is a real problem out there in Waianae with the issues going on, but couldn’t there be more forethought into addressing the real problem, irresponsible land owners?  Is the dumping issue because there aren’t enough landfills?  What really is the reason why it is happening out there?  More questions have to be asked to really help to pinpoint what and how this issue can be remedied before a solution can be put forth.

The actions of the city council and some of the statements made that they don’t care about the consequences really shows two things.  First of all, Pine and others are mad and are rightfully so.  She is willing to take her anger and frustration out on everyone to solve this issue and it doesn’t matter what collateral damage is caused along the way.  That’s what is going to make her feel better and “fix” the problem, as she and other council members perceive.

What she and the Honolulu City Council are doing is something very typical in what young kids do.  Something might be upsetting them and they feel compelled to take out their frustrations on emotions on whoever is around and they don’t care who it is.  It’s like my older daughter having a bad day at school and deciding to kick her sister for no good reason other than her being mad from the day.  My younger daughter will cry out not knowing why she was kicked.  As my older daughter calms down and hears her sister’s crying, and only then she feels remorseful for what she did.  The injury was inflicted and there’s no taking it away and feelings are permanently hurt.

These same lessons apply to all politicians and adults if you really think about it.  Hawaii County Council members, Margaret Wille and Brenda Ford, were both mad at Monsanto so they insisted on passing a bill that hurt the papaya farmers.  They didn’t do any further research like their fellow County Council member, Greggor Illagan, did to address why they felt they way they did.  They lashed out on farmers and damaged their reputations and led them to be piled upon by many activists.  Greggor Illagan was also left to be a target of the activists despite doing his due diligence to truly look at the perceived problem.

Representative Jessica Wooley, as a mom, was mad to find out that GMOs were being fed to her children and she was going to protect them for this perceived harm learned by her associations with Earthjustice.  She clearly believed in an agenda based on the false fact that, “There are no regulations on biotechnology.” (She made this statement publicly at a Neighborhood Board meeting earlier in the year and later recanted when shown the truth.)  She went out and put out the labeling law twice in two years in her attempt to attack the seed farmers here.  She not only fueled the misinformation campaign against these companies and their workers, but once again focused on the papaya farmers as a result.  She ran on the platform that she was going to help farmers, but only her approved types unfortunately.

Then we cannot forget the actions of Kauai County Council member Gary Hooser and the other members like Jay Furfaro, Joanne Yukimura, and Tim Bynum, when they voted to pass Bill 2491.  None of these members did their due diligence to find out the facts about the seed farmers and passed a law on the emotions and misinformation of a crowd being manipulated by outside interests using scare tactics.  Not only did the heavy handed fear campaign succeed in convincing the leaders to pass such a law, it created another attack against the papaya farmers along the way.  These members were mad and lashed out by passing the contentious law causing permanent collateral damage across the board in the Kauai communities.

My kids know that they aren’t allowed to use their emotions to lash out at others or each other.  It’s a big “no-no” in our house.  I too have to remember that even if I’m mad or tired, lashing out only means I’ll have to apologize later but the damage has been done.  My dad always drilled it into my head as a kid that, “You’d better think first before you do something you might regret.”  He was my example of what I was expected to be like and he’d correct me along the way.  I know that I’m the example to them because that is what I expect of my children to be like.

I only wish our elected officials would get a clue and be the true leaders in our communities and not like my 3 year old toddler, who’s still learning those lessons.

 

T