Kauai mayor vetoes controversial GMO bill

Kauai mayor vetoes controversial GMO bill
Published: Oct. 31, 2013 at 3:46 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 1, 2013 at 3:16 PM HST
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LIHUE, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - After years of controversy and protest, Kauai's Mayor has vetoed the controversial anti-GMO bill.

Mayor Bernard Carvalho said he still supports the bill but believes it would not hold up in court.

"I could not as mayor allow a bill to go across and become law knowing that there are legal issues and flaws in the document," he said.

That drew an angry reaction for the anti-GMO crowd.

"The veto is a clear betrayal of the people of Kauai," said Lihue resident Andrea Brower.

Nomi Carmona, president of Babes Against Biotech, called for an override of the mayor's veto.

"People are furious," she said.

"It's hard not to be outraged when your own leader who is supposed to support you and support the 6-to-1 vote (by the county council) and the days of camping out to testify and the 19-hour meetings."

The bill would have required Kauai's largest agricultural companies to disclose the presence and use of pesticides and genetically modified crops.

It also would establish pesticide-free buffer zones.

But the mayor said the county's corporation counsel recently determined that the bill would preempt the state's own pesticides law

"You have some gray areas at the end of the day, our legal opinion is that this is flawed," he said.

Attention now turns to the County Council, which needs five votes to override the veto. If the earlier 6-1 vote holds, that will be just enough since one of the member's term ends this week.

The council has about a month to discuss an override.

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