The long debate over agricultural pesticide regulation in Hawaii is far from over – but it has reached a crucial moment.
Compromise has been rare in this argument – with both sides predicting dire and even fatal consequences if their side does not prevail.
But the state House seems to have found a reasonable middle ground – offering more protection for the public, especially children, while allowing the ag industry plenty of tools to tend to their crops.
The House proposal first of all would ban a dangerous pesticide called Chlorpyrifos. This was a chemical the Obama administration was prepared to ban – a decision reversed by the Trump EPA. Hawaii would be one of the first states to ban this pesticide – but others are expected to follow.
The house also sets reasonable buffer zones around schools – and only during school hours. It also increases reporting requirements for farmers which are needed to continue management of these chemicals.
It now the senate's turn to step to the plate and strongly consider accepting this reasonable measure, which has taken an unreasonable time to develop. So far it is unclear whether the state senate will accept this compromise.