The Kauai County Council is set to vote today (Thursday) on whether to override Mayor Bernard Carvalho’s veto of Bill 2491, which requires biotech companies to disclose details about pesticide use and farmers to report any GMO crops they are growing.
The council passed the bill 6 to 1 last month, but it was vetoed by the mayor who said that, while he supported the intent of the measure, it was legally flawed.
Meanwhile, the state Department of Agriculture released new pesticide regulations on Wednesday in response to the Kauai County Council bill. The new rules — which are strictly voluntary — apply to the four biotech companies effected by Bill 2491, as well as Kauai Coffee Co.
Under the new rules, setbacks between fields and public spaces are set at 100 feet and the companies are to disclose what pesticides they are spraying, where and in what quantities. The companies will also inform nearby schools and medical facilities before they spray pesticides.
The Department of Ag “may” post the following information on its website: the company, the volume of the restricted use pesticide that was sprayed and the total area covered.
The companies have verbally agreed to comply with the new rules, according to Scott Enright, deputy director for the Dept. of Ag, though they can opt out at any time.
You can read the regulations in full here.
The new rules were swiftly criticized by supporters of Bill 2491, who called them weak.
Civil Beat is at the Historic County Building on Kauai covering the hearing.