HONOLULU – Gov. Neil Abercrombie, together with members of the Kauai Legislative Delegation, today announced that the state would be putting forth standards and guidelines for seed/diversified agriculture companies to voluntarily comply with certain health and safety requests of the community. The guidelines will include disclosure of aggregated usage of restricted use pesticides and implementation of a setback from schools and hospitals.
“Kauai legislators and members of my administration have been discussing current issues regarding agriculture on the island of Kauai, including residents being informed about activities in their immediate area,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “We collaborated with the Kauai Delegation and farmers about taking steps to address the concerns of the community, including providing disclosure of use of pesticides and creating buffer zones around schools and hospitals. Farmers will comply on a voluntary basis with temporary standards until such time as department heads and stakeholders can develop necessary rules or legislation for next session.”
Kauai Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho, Jr. and Kauai County Council Chair Jay Furfaro have been notified of these intentions.
Earlier this year, the Legislature passed House Bill 673, which the Governor in June signed into law as Act 105, requiring the state Department of Agriculture to post certain information regarding restricted use pesticides on its website. The act also requires the Hawaii Legislative Reference Bureau to conduct a study on other states’ reporting requirements for non-restricted use pesticides.
“We believe that this law, in addition to existing usage requirements posted on pesticide labels, will help to address the concerns raised as they pertain to pesticide use and transparency,” Gov. Abercrombie added. “In January, we can look into codifying law regarding disclosure and setback requirements in the context of protection of public health and safety.”
The Governor also stated that he would work with the Legislature to restore positions within and seek additional funding for the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health’s Environmental Health Administration, particularly for the neighbor islands, to address pesticide compliance and conduct inspections regarding pesticide contamination, and ensure that inspections are conducted in a timely manner.