Kauai Mayor Vetoes Pesticide and GMO Disclosure Bill

Nick Grube/ Civil Beat

In the latest volley in a tense battle over a recently passed bill that would require biotech companies to disclose details about their pesticide use and farmers to acknowledge their genetically engineered crops, Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho vetoed it on Thursday

“I have always said I agree with the intent of this bill to provide for pesticide use disclosure, create meaningful buffer zones and conduct a study on the health and environmental issues relating to pesticide use on Kauai,” the mayor said in a statement. “However, I believe strongly that this bill is legally flawed. That being the case, I had no choice but to veto.”

UPDATE: Carvalho said that the bill ran afoul of a number of laws in an interview with Civil Beat, including the Right to Farm Act. He said that it preempted the state's role in regulating pesticides and genetically altered crops and violated the county charter by allowing the county council to assign new functions to his department. "That's not their role," the mayor said, noting that only he has that power.

Reaction was swift. "I'm really flabbergasted," Kauai County Councilman Gary Hooser told Civil Beat. Hooser, who co-introduced the bill with Councilman Tim Bynum, added that, "It's just unfortunate that the mayor did not see the urgency, the value and the need for this to pass."

The county council is expected to convene a new hearing to vote on whether to override the mayor's veto in the coming weeks.

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