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    Stoppoisoningparadise press release   cok comments Stoppoisoningparadise press release cok comments Document Transcript

    • FOR  IMMEDIATE  RELEASE   www.StopPoisoningParadise.org       Mayor  and  Staff  Admit  Lack  of  Knowledge  on  Bill  2491   Presentation  Highlights  Ill-­considered  Analysis  and  Lack  of  Willingness  to  Act   LIHUE  -­  The  Kauai  County  Council  convened  today  to  hear  several  matters  related  to  Bill  2491,  the   will  re-­convene  on  Tuesday,  October  15.       In  addition  to  public  testimony,    a  majority  of  the  day  was  spent  on  a  presentation  by  Mayor   Carvalho  and  his  staff.  The  administration  took  the  position  that  the  implementation  and   said  that  he  was  meeting  with  the  State  Department  of  Agricu     County  response:  To  be  clear,  we  stated  that  the  timeframe  for  implementation  (6  months)  was    we  believe  this  is  so.    We  also   based  on  how  the  bill   is  currently  written.    We  also  offered  suggestions  on  how  it  could  be  amended  so  that  it  would  be  less   challenging  to  implement.    These  statements  are  taken  out  of  context  in  your  release  and  should  be   clarified  on  your  Facebook  post  and  with  others  to  whom  the  release  has  been  distributed.     lf  wanted   to  know  what  the  practical  operational  implications  and  impacts  were  surrounding  the   implementation  of  the  Bill.  While  the  legislative  branch  of  the  County  -­  the  County  Council  -­  is   empowered  to  enact  law,  i y  laws  passed.  It  is  not   uncommon  for  the  Council  to  request  presentations  by  the  administration  on  operational  impacts  of   proposed  legislation.       There  was  palpable  frustration  expressed  by  both  members  of  the  public  and  council  members  at  the   administration's  presentation.       County  response:   contained  in  the  presentation  the  body  as  a  whole  did  express  their  appreciation  of  the  breadth  of    attempt  to  provide  them  the  most  complete  information   possible  in  the  time  allotted.           Ill-­considered  analysis  of  Bill  2491   Council  Member  Bynum  asked  the  administration  why  enforcement  of  disclosure  would  be  so   complicated  if  the  companies  already  keep  very  detailed  records  about  what  they  do.  He  added,   went  out  and  did  it  at  night  illegally,  and  then  they  would  be  lying  not  only  to  the  County,  but  the   State       County  response:  This  was  very  troublesome.    Councilmember  Bynum  himself  later  in  the  meeting   certain  information  from  them.    As  with  any  ordinance  that  involves  enforcement  and  possible  
    • penalties,  it  would  be  irresponsible  for  us  to  limit  our  investigation  into  reported  violations  only  to   inquiries  with  the  alleged  violators.  Taking  this  logic  to  the  extreme,  should  the  police  allow  alleged   criminals  to  self-­report  as  to  their  guilt  or  innocence  and  leave  it  at  that?      Would  our  residents     especially  those  who  support  Bill  2491  and  oppose  the  seed  companies  -­  be  satisfied  with  that  level   of  inquiry?    This  bill  carries  with  it  significant  penalties  for  violations.    The  questions  we  have   raised  should  signal  that  we  are  taking  it  seriously  and  intend  to  enforce  it  as  best  we  can.  The   administration  has  painted  an  accurate  picture  of  what  enforcement  of  Bill  2491  will  look  like.       Andrea  Brower,  who  has  followed  closely  the  details  of  this  bill  since  its  inception,  said  that  the   -­time  staff   people,  several  consultants  and  extensive  technical  training  just  to  implement  disclosure  and  buffer   zones  is  simply  illogical.  The  administration  expressed  overwhelm  about  dealing  with  health   complaints,  but  there  is  nothing  in  this  bill  that  is  even  about  that!  There  were  glaring  inconsistencies   between  what  the  bill  would  actually  m     County  response:  The  buffer  zones  are  being  established  to  insure  that  residents  do  not  suffer  ill   effects  from  pesticide  use.    So  logically,  if  the  buffer  zones  are  being  properly  managed  by  the  seed   companies,  there  should  be  no  health  effects  on  our  people.    Once  the  bill  is  in  force,  if  someone   because  they  believe  a  seed  company  was  spraying  within  the  buffer  zone,  are  you  insinuating  that   we  should  not  investigate  that  complaint?    There  may  be  issues  that  Department  of  Health  should   address  in  this  scenario,  but  the  County  would  be  bound  by  this  ordinance  to  investigate  whether   pesticides  were  being  used  in  the  buffer  zones.    We  believe  such  complaints  will  be  made,  and  we  do   not  feel  that  we  will  be  able  to  (or  should)  ignore  them  if  the  bill  passes  as  it  is  currently  written.           Brower  added  that  to  suggest  that  the  County  would  need  nearly  $1.5  million  before  next  July  just  to   -­considered,  misleading  and  clearly  not  based  on  analysis  of  the       County  response:  This  figure  included  the  $1,000,000  that  the  Council  has  estimated  it  will  cost  to   complete  the  Environmental  Study  that  is  covered  in  the  companion  Resolution  to  Bill  2491.    And   this  was  clarified  for  Ms.  Brower  on  the  Council  floor  yesterday.    There  is  another  $100,000   precede  the  study.  So  78%  of  the  funding  we  included  came  from  the    estimate  and  request.     The  rest  would  cover  the  cost  of  personnel,  training,  IT  infrastructure  and  investigative  tools  that  we   believe  would  be  needed  to  provide  effective  implementation  and  enforcement  that  is  called  for  in  the   ordinance.    We  feel  these  costs  were  justified  in  the  presentation.    A  copy  of  the  presentation  has   been  attached,  and  we  ask  that  you  include  it  wherever  this  release  is  posted  or  sent.       In  regards  to  funding  concerns,  Hooser  reminded  the  administration  that  the  County  has  the  authority   to  charge  companies  for  regulatory  burden,  and  that  as  some  of  the  largest  multinationals  in  the   world,  the  companies  should  have  no  problem  paying  to  operate  on  Kauai.    Mr.  Hooser  also  pointed   out  that  the  County  Tax  Department  has  found  that  the  companies  owe  back  taxes  of  $130,000  -­  an   unbudgeted  amount  that  the  administration  could  use  toward  implementation  and  enforcement  of   Bill  2491.        
    • County  response:  It  is  not  correct  to  assume  that  back-­taxes  would  be  available  for  immediate  use.     These  taxes  are  billed  but  could  be  appealed,  and  as  such  may  not  be  available  before  they  are   needed  for  implementation.    In  the  short-­term,  the  only  way  to  provide  funding  for  these  new   expenses  is  to  take  them  from  other  areas  of  the  current  operating  budget.       Lack  of  knowledge  and  willingness  to  act  on  pesticide  concerns   -­ council  members  who  have  spent  the  past  months  working  very  hard  to  think  through  the  technical   de -­     County  response:  The  deferral  is  being  requested  specifically  so  that  the  County  can  work  with  the   Department  of  Agriculture  to  determine  if  enforcement  can  be  provided  by  that  agency  -­  which  is   assumption  is  that  the  Council  would  then  act  upon  the  bill  as  they  see  fit.       In  response  to  questioning  by  Council  Member  Bynum,  both  the  mayor  and  Mr.  Hue  stated  that   neither  had  looked  at  the  information  that  has  been  made  public  about  one  of  the  seed  companies   spraying  240  days  a  year.  Nor  had  they  read  testimony  by  agricultural  specialists  who  submitted   studies  about  the  effects  of  pesticide  spray  on  Kauai.  There  was  no  straight  answer  about  whether   their  implementation  concerns  were  influenced  by  conversations  with  the  companies.     County  response:   information  and  suggestions  on  how  the  bill  could  be  amended  to  provide  greater  chances  of   successful  implementation.    This  was  done  at  the  request  of  the  Council  Chair.    In  doing  so,  the   administration  was  taking  no  position  on  the  bill,  and  was  making  no  judgments  on  the  various   .           doctors  at  KVMH?  Have  you  talked  to  them  about  the  potentially  higher  rates  of  birth  defects  they       County  response:  Again,  we  made  it  clear  that  we  were  not  being  obstructionist  or  asking  the   Council  NOT  to  pass  the  bill.      We  were  just  providing  input  on  the  amended  draft  that  we  received   on  October  1,  in  an  effort  to  make  the  bill  easier  to  implement  once  passed.    That  includes  providing   time  to  work  with  the  State  to  determine  what  way  they  could  participate  in  the  implementation.           Local  attorney  Elif  Beall  stated  that  instead  of  deferring  a  vote  on  the  Bill,  the  administration  might   months  after  it  is  passed.    If  the  administration  needs  more  time  to  implement  the  Bill,  they  could   have  asked  for  the  effective  date  to  be  moved  out  a  few  months    instead  of  trying  to  stop  the   Council  from  even  considering  the  matter  during  a  2  month  deferr     County  response:  We  encourage  anyone  who  is  interested  in  this  issue  to  look  at  our  presentation.     The  bill  is  lacking  in  detail  and  needs  clarification  on  legislative  intent  in  order  to  insure  that  it  is   implemented  properly.    We  were  very  specific  about  the  amendments  that  we  proposed.    Those   amendments  will  hopefully  be  considered  before  action  is  taken.  
    • is  not  specific  enough    especially  when  significant  penalties   could  be  levied  against  violators.         Influence  of  companies  questioned   Nomi  Carmona  of  the  biotech  watchdog  group  Babes  Against  Biotech  testified  that  it  would  be  naive   to  defer  Bill  2491  in  the  hopes  that  the  state  regulatory  or  legislative  actors  would  somehow  step  in.   given  $1,000  on  the  same  day  in  2009  from  both  DuPont/Pioneer  and  Syngenta.  Then  another   $2,000  from  DuPont  as  recently  as  May  22,  2013,  just  after  the  State  legislative  session  ended.  This     County  response:  As  a  governmental  entity  we  feel  it  is  our  obligation  to  work  with  the  State  and  the   federal  government,  especially  on  matters  of  mutual  concern  or  that  involve  overlapping   jurisdictions.    Mayor  Carvalho  has  done  this  routinely  during  his  five  years  as  Mayor  of   i  on  a   variety  of  issues  with  a  great  degree  of  success.       County  Charter,  Section  23.15,  Cooperation  with  other   organizations provate  organizations  and  with  organizations  of  the  governments  of  the  United  State,  the  State,  and   any  other         If  discussions  with  the  State  fail  to  provide  additional  opportunities  to  address  these  matters,  we   fully  expect  that  deliberations  on  Bill  2491  will  resume  as  the  Council  feels  appropriate.       Other  testifiers  noted  that  the  disclosure,  buffer-­zones  and  impact  study  provisions  in  the  current  bill   are  not  things  that  the  State  has  policy  in  place  for,  and  suggested  that  if  the  State  wants  to  partner   with  the  County,  a  good  starting  place  would  be  in  enforcing  existing  regulations  that  it  has  been   negligent  on.     County  response:  The  specific  elements  in  the  bill  are  not  currently  provided  for  by  the  State.     However,  these  activities  are  currently  part  of  what  they  do.    It  could  be  a  relatively  simple  matter   contained  in  Bill  2491.       that  the  companies  have  had  a  strong  influence  in  pushing  the  administration  to  feel  so   -­makers  need  to  be  firm  and  bold.  We  cannot  let   the  companies  bully  us  into  believing  that  we  are  incapable  of  doing  anything.  Our  hands  are  not  tied         County  response:  The  administration  is  merely  trying  to  be  proactive  in  assisting  the  Council  with   passing  legislation  that  has  a  solid  legal  and  operational  foundation,  so  that  we  can  successfully   implement  when  it  is  passed.    We  are  not  questioning  whether  the  bill  should  be  passed.    We  are   merely  trying  to  provide  suggestions  on  the  most  effective  and  cost-­ intent.           ###   www.StopPoisoningParadise.Org