Local connection: Kauai GMO - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Local connection: Kauai GMO

By: Rick Blangiardi

Kauai has been on a collision course over the regulation of genetically modified organism, or GMO, crops.

Over numerous hearings and debate, including a 14-hour hearing by the Kauai County Council on October 16, legislation to require disclosure of pesticides and GMO's by agri-businesses passed the county council by a 6-1 vote.

All eyes were then on Mayor Bernard Carvalho as he weighed a possible veto. Carvalho took his full 15 days to decide that the bill was legally flawed. On Halloween, he rejected it.

Carvalho rightfully agrees with the intent of the bill, which calls for full disclosure of pesticide use and setbacks for its use near schools and hospitals.

But he said bill 2491 is not legally defensible and the state department of agriculture, not the individual counties, control pesticide regulation. He also said the county would have a hard time declaring a farming operation a public nuisance.

The issue is not going to go away and Mayor Carvalho may face intense political fallout over his decision.

But the main point is to make sure that whatever rules and regulations are put in place, they can withstand legal challenge and protect the health and welfare of Kauai residents.

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