Hawaii Island’s Mayor Harry Kim recently vetoed (aka-squashed) the Big Island ban on GMO-taro & coffee– after the bill democratically passed through three county council hearings with overwhelming public support.
Urge the County Councilmembers to once-again stand with the people, override the Mayor’s veto!!
Click and send your letter to the Council!
Letters of support are due by Monday, Nov. 10th.
The Star-Bulletin’s report on why Mayor Kim vetoed, with commentary from KAHEA community-coordinator and pa’i'ai lover, Bryna:
Kim vetoes ban on gene-modified taro, coffee
By Rod Thompson
Oct 31, 2008
HILO » Big Island Mayor Harry Kim vetoed a bill yesterday that would make it a criminal violation punishable by a $1,000 fine to research or grow genetically engineered coffee or taro on the Big Island.
The bill was passed 9-0 by the Hawaii County Council on Oct. 8, meaning there are more than enough votes to override the veto.
Kim cited two general concerns: that police cannot enforce such a law and that the world needs research on genetically modified crops to ensure food supplies.
“How would the Police Department make a determination on which taro or coffee has been genetically engineered?” Chief Lawrence Mahuna wrote to Kim. The department has no equipment or personnel who know how to test for genetically modified organisms, and no money to upgrade its capabilities, Mahuna said.
Hmmm. If the police can’t detect the presence of GMOs, how will local people & pollinators be able to prevent spreading GMOs? Or unknowingly consuming them?
Maybe the feds should require that all GMOs must also be engineered to glow in the dark. Biotech can do it with jellyfish genes. Not sure what the longterm effect on the rest of the natural world would be though. Then again, at least those GMOs could be traced.
Kim added, “There is global demand for new, improved, safe and dependable plant genetics, and Hawaii is a special place for research because of its location and its year-round growing environment.”
Where is there a global demand for GMOs? I have never heard of rallies of people begging for GMOs, or consumer inititatives to support GMOs. Weird. I’ve only heard of international biotech corporations demanding laws to allow them to operate experiments & business without public informed consent. In fact, I dont think most americans even know what GMOs are, or that they are eating GMOs without labels or fair choice.
Over a thousand people wrote in support of this bill– to protect their local coffee and taro. How important are our local needs & demands to the Mayor?
There are many successful & emerging programs to develop sustainable farming practices and natural varieties of traditional plants to encourage drought resistancy, etc. Here’s a great example. No need for GMOs to feed the planet.
Council Chairman Pete Hoffmann scoffed at both statements.
In the case of a violation, scientists would report anyone undertaking forbidden research, and police would act on that information, Hoffmann said.
Regarding research on other crops, the bill does not impose a ban on them, and there is no intention of widening the ban to include other crops, he said.
Such a widespread ban has been the fear of opponents of the bill. On Oct. 8 the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce testified, “This bill is just the beginning of an anti-science agenda.”
Hoffmann called such fears “a bunch of nonsense.”
Indeed. It makes me sad when they say we hate science, cause really we don’t. I love science, especially agronomy & botany. Taro growers practice science for a living. We’re not stupid.
Its kind of like saying that spraying chemicals is science, so if you don’t want to inhale pesticides then you must be anti-science, and you must be against progress too!
Hoffman is looking into calling a special meeting of the Council to override the veto, since he anticipates public testimony would last all day, he said. Previous testimony was overwhelmingly in favor of the bill, he said.
Kim repeated a call for more public education about genetic modification, including the strict state and federal regulations it must meet.
Ok. Right, kinda. Education -around TRUTH- starts with labelling, consumer choice and political transparency. Those “strict” regulations were designed and put in place by the biotech industry itself with the purpose of reducing restrictions on their risky business. The biotech industry now corruptly influences the federal FDA & EPA. For example, they are allowing a 1500% increase (!) in approved levels of glyphosphate chemical herbicide applications, all for the recently developed RoundUp Ready GMO-sugar beets. That is not strict, that is simply special interest political favors.
Mayor Kim should know better. We’re still cleaning up heptachlor from the pineapple days… lets be careful about what these biotech chemical corporations may forget to tell us about exactly what they are doing to our ‘aina.. and our economy.
The only truly strict laws to protect food safety are those that regulate Organic certification. And no, GMOs do not qualify for Organic certification.
Representatives of the Biotechnology Regulatory Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and from the state Department of Agriculture have offered to discuss these matters with the Council, Kim said.
Will these powerful biotech-backed agencies be appearing at a public hearing? If what they have to discuss wasn’t or couldn’t be explained at the past 3 public hearings, then what are they up to?
Its not over yet, YOU can help! Please send the county council a letter of support for the GMO-ban today- its quick & easy! Take a minute to demonstrate your support for protecting Hawaii’s local agriculture, people, and culture from genetic modification.
Letters of support are due by Monday, Nov. 10th.