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Action alert: stop county spraying of pesticides

From GMO Free Hawai’i:

Action Alert

On Tuesday August 4th, Hawai`i County Council Member Margaret Wille will introduce Bill 71, for the county to stop spraying herbicides on county property, including roads, parks, etc that the county maintains.

Please send testimony now to counciltestimony@hawaiicounty.gov ― even a quick email as simple as “I support Bill 71” ― to be received by Monday at 2:30 PM. Ask your friends, ohana, & visitors to send testimony too.

It’s probably most valuable to submit testimony, but you can also sign a petition

If you want to email individual councilors, their addresses are:

dru.kanuha@hawaiicounty.gov
margaret.wille@hawaiicounty.gov
karen.eoff@hawaiicounty.gov
maile.david@hawaiicounty.gov
greggor.ilagan@hawaiicounty.gov
valerie.poindexter@hawaiicounty.gov
aaron.chung@hawaiicounty.gov
daniel.paleka@hawaiicounty.gov
dennis.onishi@hawaiicounty.gov

You can also submit testimony in person at the Hilo Council Chambers (25 Aupuni Street) or via videoconference:

  • Waimea Council Office
  • Video Conferencing Site in the old Bank of Hawai’i Building in Kapa’au
  • Kona Council Chambers – West Hawai‘i Civic Center
  • Pahoa Neighborhood Facility
  • the Hawaiian Ocean View Estates Community Center

Background info from Margaret Wille

Bill 71 prohibits toxic herbicides on all County owned or maintained property.

At the Council’s May 2015 hearings for our County 2015 -2016 budget, the line items of greatest concern were that “Roundup” spray line items in the several department budgets, including those of Parks & Recreation and Public Works. At that time I promised to draft a bill to address the community’s concerns.

As drafted this bill would prohibit the use of toxic herbicides, such as those containing glyphosate (Monsanto’s “Roundup”), on County owned and maintained parks, roadways, waterways, and other county spaces.

The World Health Organization and other health organizations have recently brought forth more evidence concerning the negative effects of glyphosate on human health and to the environment. In my opinion it would be irresponsible to continue to ignore the cries of so many to find alternative means to deal with weeds that are less harmful to our people. To instead simply do another study or to only undertake some pilot project would be doing next to nothing. The proposed bill has an effective date of July 1, 2016 to allow time for the County to transition to alternative means of weed control.

Help stop this from continuing

Doctors Stephanie Seneff and Judy Carman present “Our Right to Health”

This newsletter is republished from GMO Free Hawai’i (GMOFHI):

Our Right to Health

GMOFHI is pleased to announce “Our Right to Health”, a speaking tour of two scientists to our islands, Dr. Stephanie Seneff and Dr. Judy Carman. They will discuss the results of health and safety studies concerning Glyphosate and GMO foods, respectively. This is a great opportunity to become more fully informed about the safety issues and to hear in detail some of the problems associated with these products, so commonplace in our lives and communities.

Dr. Stephanie Seneff, for 30 years, has been a researcher and scientist in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology links the research with the alarming rise in today’s diseases. Dr Senneff will be connecting the dots between the rise in the use of glyphosate, the active ingredient in the commonly used herbicide “Roundup,” and the link to the increase in obesity, allergies, autism, alzheimer’s (and more).

Dr. Judy Carman holds a PhD in Medicine, nutritional biochemistry and metabolic regulation; Dr. Carman conducted research on some of the first long-term, independent, animal feeding studies to investigate the safety of GMO crops in regards to human health. She will be talking about the safety of GM crops, including the research she has conducted with some of the first animal studies.

Please join us at one of these upcoming dates, for Pupus and an opportunity to meet our speakers:

EAST HAWAI’I ISLAND – Contact: Chandell 808-896-1686

Sat. July 25th – Waimea, 1:30 to 5 PM
Tutu’s House, 64-1032 Mamalahoa Highway, Kamuela

Sun. July 26th – Honoka’a, 6 to 9 PM
North Hawai’i Educational Research Center (NHERC)
45-539 Plumeria Street, Honoka’a

WEST HAWAI’I ISLAND – Contact: Sharon (808) 938-4807

Mon. July 27th – Kona, 6 to 9 PM
County of Hawai’i Civic Center
74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway,
Bldg B (above the harbor)

Road-side Herbicide Spraying

During a recent legislative annual budget hearing, the County of Hawaii Council heard a full day of community testimony on the subject of de-funding the county’s road-side herbicide program, and replacing it with safer alternatives. Many ideas were presented, and the director of public works, as well as many council members showed support for trying a different approach. If you have any ideas that you would like to share with the county, please contact Public Works Director Warren Lee’s office at (808) 961-8321 and politely present concerns and ideas for solutions (we realize having our children walk through road sides sprayed with Roundup is an emotional issue). There are many different climates on Hawai’i Island to content with, so providing road-side weed control solutions is bound to require varied approaches.

Here is a short list of solutions. Please email GMO Free Hawai’i with other ideas to continue to add to this list.

  • Vinegar
  • Steam
  • Physical removal- such as around specific areas like waterways, as well as part of a long term replacement program with other types of plants besides “weeds”. Large stretches of the Hilo/Volcano hwy, for example, were once maintained in such a way, along with a mowing program in the shorter term. Once weeds have been removed the roadside can be planted with native plants, especially those that attract pollinators.
  • Animal, via portable pens
  • Flaming
  • C-Cide Concentrate (Testing in Kapoho by Hawaii’s Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides)

If you haven’t signed and shared the petition to stop the county’s road-side herbicide spraying, please do!

Kauai’s ongoing battle against pesticide companies

Deep Green Resistance advocates a return to land-based food systems rather than the fossil-fueled and toxic war against nature that characterizes industrial agriculture. Many homesteaders and organic farmers have proven we don’t need to douse our environment in pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers; nor deploy genetically modified organisms to force monocrops onto the aina. This biotic cleansing of the earth to steal all its production must stop.

In some good news, residents of Waimea, Kauai have won a multi-year struggle to get justice for DuPont Pioneer poisoning them with pesticide laden dust. A Honolulu jury decided that the corporation must recompense the residents for property damage caused by its reckless behavior. Unfortunately, the health and environmental harms caused by the pesticides were not redressed.

Although this is a victory, it’s just a start. Kauai and most of the other Hawaiian islands are under assault by the agrichemical complex. Read more about this decision and the other threats to the aina and its people at Pulling Back The Curtain: Jury verdict unanimous, DuPont Pioneer guilty of harming Waimea Kauai residents.

Petition to Switzerland to stop Syngenta’s poisoning of Kaua’i

After Kaua’i residents passed an ordinance last November to provide limited protection from pesticide spraying, agrochemical companies including Syngenta sued to shut down even minimal steps towards the health of residents, including children and the hospitalized. The Hawai’i Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA) traveled to attend Syngenta’s annual shareholders meeting and request that the company apply to Hawai’i the same pesticide restrictions in place in Syngenta’s host country of Switzerland.

In Switzerland, the Kauaʻi delegation [also] met with local and national Swiss lawmakers resulting in the Social Democratic Party, the largest political party in Basel, issuing a Statement of Support, asking Syngenta to “honor the democratic process and protect the people of Kauaʻi.” These meetings also resulted in several articles in Swiss Newspapers, television news and Swiss Public Radio covering Syngenta’s activities in Hawaiʻi and the Kauaʻi residents’ concerns.

HAPA is pushing for 10,000 signatures on a support petition by this Thursday, when allies in Switzerland will present it to Guy Morin, President of the Government of Basel, Switzerland and to executives of Syngenta at a public meeting. Please sign and share widely!

Petition to Switzerland to stop Syngenta’s poisoning of Kaua’i

Background information: Kauai delegation delivers strong message to Syngenta, Swiss lawmakers

Testimony needed: don’t appoint developer to control our public lands

We posted a petition in January to oppose appointment of Carleton Ching, a lobbyist for developers, as head of the Department of Land and Resources (DLNR). Your testimony is needed to the State Senate Committee on Water and Land, during or before their hearing March 11, 2015 at 10AM in Room 229 at the State Capitol. Email the committee at WTLtestimony@capitol.hawaii.gov or submit testimony online.

The following information is from KAHEA, which with at least 22 other Hawai`i groups opposes the nomination of Carleton Ching as Director of DLNR:

DLNR’s critical mission is to “[e]nhance, protect, conserve and manage Hawaii’s unique and limited natural, cultural and historic resources held in public trust for current and future generations of the people of Hawai’i nei, and its visitors, in partnership with others from the public and private sectors.” Chronic under-funding of this important department has led to long-term staff shortages. These shortages, along with systemic failures to follow basic legal requirements in past decisions, contributed to multiple, major lawsuits against the department costing taxpayers millions of dollars.

The Director of DLNR chairs the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) and the Commission on Water Resources Management (CWRM), and is the chief historic preservation officer. The Director is responsible for ensuring DLNR follows all public hearing and disclosure requirements and satisfies all constitutional requirements under the public trust doctrine.

“The University of Hawai`i’s proposal to re-lease Mauna Kea summit lands under business as usual terms will soon come before BLNR. Later this year, CWRM will vote on designation of Keauhou aquifer as a groundwater management area, an action which KAHEA supported as prudent safeguards against the volume of water-thirsty development planned for North Kona. In these decisions, and others, we need an informed, experienced decision-maker at the helm.

In recent meetings, Ching failed to identify any vision or plan for DLNR, indicated he did not know what the public trust is, and recited the refrain of “balancing” in reference to competing water users. Hawaii’s water code, he then learned, imposes a hierarchies of best uses of water. Ching served on the Building Industry of America’s board, which sought to undermine the state Historic Preservation Division’s authority over historic properties, a stance that could endangering many Native Hawaiian cultural sites. Ching was president of Land Use Research Foundation (LURF), which lobbied to establish the Public Land Development Corporation (PLDC), to weaken environmental impact assessments, and against establishing an Environmental Court.

Again, email the committee at WTLtestimony@capitol.hawaii.gov or submit testimony online. It is crucial that they listen to our concerns:

  1. Carleton Ching lacks the knowledge, experience, and community ties necessary to the successful operation of DLNR.
  2. DLNR needs a leader with a deep understanding of the histories and struggles from which Hawaii’s obligation hold natural resources in trust arose, the political courage to enforce this public trust, and the vision to develop a plan to realize these crucial protections.
  3. Carleton Ching is not this leader.

After hearing all the testimony presented, the Committee will vote whether to recommend Mr. Ching be confirmed as Director of DLNR. Then a vote of the entire Senate will be scheduled to consider the Committee’s recommendation and make a final determination. You are encouraged to directly contact your Senator to express your concern about appointing Mr. Ching to DLNR.

Geothermal update – actions needed

Some news and action items regarding the geothermal drilling:

Night Drilling

Greggor Ilagan has actually been convinced to draft and introduce two resolutions:

Please email or call the Hawai’i County council members to ask them to support both resolutions:

valerie.poindexter@hawaiicounty.gov, aaron.chung@hawaiicounty.gov,
dennis.onishi@hawaiicounty.gov, greggor.ilagan@hawaiicounty.gov,
daniel.paleka@hawaiicounty.gov, maile.david@hawaiicounty.gov,
dru.kanuha@hawaiicounty.gov, karen.eoff@hawaiicounty.gov,
margaret.wille@hawaiicounty.gov

You can also contact Gov. David Ige, contact form or 808-586-0034, and Mayor Billy Kenoi, cohmayor@co.hawaii.hi.us or 808-961-8211.

If you can, please attend the Council meeting in Hilo on Wednesday, February 4 to support the resolutions.

And if you haven’t yet, please sign the petition against PGV night drilling.

Department of Health Hearing

The State DOH has agreed to hold a public hearing for PGV’s Clean Air Permit renewal. The date and location have not been announced yet. We are asking them to hold that hearing in Puna.

What you can do now is e-mail cab@doh.hawaii.gov and/or phone (808) 586-4200 (between 7:45 a.m. and 4:15 p.m) to thank them for having a public hearing and ask that it be held in Pahoa.

PGV Public Meeting Thursday

Puna Pono Alliance (PPA) could use support this Thursday if you can make it. PGV will hold a public meeting to answer questions Thursday 1/29/15 at 7:00 pm at the Pahoa Community Center. It would help if we get a lot of people there.

Lower Puna Neighborhood Public Nuisance Watch

PPA has created a google group to help document noise and other impacts of the PGV drilling. To join, send an email to paul@punapono.com from the email address you want to use for the group.

This group is for anyone who thinks they may have negative impacts (for example, noise, dust, vibrations, odors from the drilling or operations) or from anyone who wants to support efforts to encourage the State and County to regulate industrial corporations in residential areas.

Petition: don’t appoint developer to control our public lands

Another petition, this one to ask the Hawai’i Senate not to confirm the new governor’s pick for chair of the Department of Land and Natural Resources. This is a blatant example of the standard government “revolving door” of industry lobbyists and executives taking positions of power in the agencies meant to regulate those industries, then moving back to well-paying jobs in the industries they just served while in the government, then back to a regulatory agency…

After taking two minutes to sign the petition, please read Derrick Jensen’s “Time to dismantle the corporate state” and consider the scale of what we really need to do in response to our sham democracy. Signing petitions is a tiny start, but those in power routinely ignore the voice of the people. We need to step up our resistance.

Too often too many of us pretend we live in democracies, though most of us know that we actually live in democracy’s toxic mimic: something that has the form yet perverts the content of what it pretends to be.

I’ve asked thousands of people a simple question: Who, in their opinion, do governments take better care of — human beings or corporations? And most everyone laughs. It’s a stupid and obvious question. No one says human beings. When I ask whether these governments take better care of the real world — the source of all life — than they do the legal fictions of corporations, I’m often met with blank stares: such a notion is inconceivable to most people.

But for all our private understanding that we live in plutocracies (governments by, of, and for the wealthy), or more accurately, kleptocracies (governments which have as their primary organising principle theft — from the poor, from the land, from the future), we publicly speak and act as though we do live in democracies.

Petition against PGV night drilling

Puna Pono Alliance has launched a petition asking the governor of the state and the mayor of the county to enforce the night-time drilling ban against PGV. We, the people, haven’t had much success so far with asking those in power to do the right thing. But please take a moment to sign this while keeping in mind that more serious resistance may be necessary.

Oppose geothermal night-time drilling January 19

What: Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) community meeting
When: January 19, @ 6:30pm.
Where: Pahoa High School Cafeteria.
Why: PGV plans to drill without following the county ordinance that prohibits drilling between 7 PM and 7 AM

The county representatives for Puna are looking out for geothermal interests at the expense of community health. Following is an email alert from Bob Petricci of Puna Pono Alliance:

Geothermal Update

Drilling Alert

PGV has joined forces with Puna Council reps Greggor Illigan and Danny Paleka to actively campaign against the night time drilling ban we enacted to protect our community from PGV’s previous impacts due to 20 years of poor drilling practices.

Specifically, Paleka and Illigan support PGV’s stated intention to drill 24/7 in violation of the night time drilling ban.

Several major accidents and missteps at the PGV power plant last year resulted in harm to our community again, and both DOH and EPA cited PGV last year for numerous violations of their permits.

In discounting and essentially disregarding what this community has endured at the hands of PGV, both council members Illigan and Paleka have said publicly they support PGV intention to drill at night regardless of the law. That of course is in direct conflict with the communities best interest. These council reps are doing this with no legal experience to speak of and without even bothering to ask for a legal opinion from the Corporation Council. They instead are relying on a special interest (PGV) to interpret the law. This is an example of how bad government works to the detriment of the community, we should shine a light on this type of improper behavior by our our elected officials. In this case corporate interest have clearly been put ahead of the public interest by these 2 elected officials to benefit a special interest at expense of our community.

I went to Danny’s office to talk to him about this and ask for a copy of corp council’s opinion, he told me he never talked to them. He then promised to do so promptly, but don’t hold your breath. We will probably have to do that as well.

I also spoke with Council member Aaron Chung (an attorney), who told me he disagrees with Paleka, Illigan, and PGV. In fact he agrees with PPA and the community – the law applies to PGV as written. He based his opinion as do we on reading the law and the permit requirements that “PGV obey that law and all county laws.

In my opinion it is dangerous and unfortunate that Illigan and Paleka appear to be playing fast and loose with the best interest of our Puna community to benefit a special interest (PGV). I see no valid reason for them to fight for PGV against the community on this law. It is a sad commentary on the state of our county government.

Puna Pono Alliance needs your support now, this is our chance, let PGV know how you feel about the planned drilling now – before it starts.

Background

On January 19, next Monday, Puna Geothermal Venture is holding a community meeting. At that meeting they will be discussing upcoming drilling, currently scheduled from late January until March. During that drilling, PGV does not plan to comply with a county ordinance that requires drilling activity to stop between 7 PM and 7 AM.

This intended action is an insult to the community and to those who must bear the personal cost of PGV actions. If you live close to PGV, we ask that you come to the meeting in a show of solidarity in which we say you must stop placing community families second. If you live elsewhere we ask that you show your support for our neighbors that are being sacrificed to corporate convenience.

Thank you again for your past support in helping us defend our neighborhood from industrialization. We passed a law, now we need to let them know we intend to see the law enforced.

PPA Noise Committee

As you may have heard, PGV is planning to begin drilling a new well on January 25 and they say they expect it to go on for 3 months. The last time they drilled a well, it went on for 5 1/2 months and it made life miserable for people near the plant.

Despite a Hawaii County ordinance which bans nighttime drilling from 7 pm to 7 am, passed by the Hawaii County Council in response to PGV’s last drill , PGV says they will drill day and night because–they say–the ordinance does not apply to them.

We need the help of those that live close to the plant because if we don’t step up, PGV will continue to drill day and night–and they drill new wells every few years.

Paul Kuykendall and Suzanne Wakelin are working to document the noise and its impact on neighbors to force the county and state to address it as a health and quality of life issue.

The good news is that we live in an age where we can capture data via crowd-sourcing that will build our case with some very cool, high tech tools. We are going to use NoiseTube to collect and collate data using mobile phones which we can later analyze and show on google maps to quantify the noise impact.

To learn more about NoiseTube, please read this short Scientific American article

Or visit the NoiseTube webpage for more information:

We need your help to be successful. Please support us by doing the following:

1. Email lists@punapono.com with your phone number and consent to receive email updates on this project.

2. Please meet us at HAAS this Tuesday January 20 at 3:30 pm (before the usual Puna Pono Meeting) for a 30 minute training on how to use the crowdsourcing App

Please be prompt because we will only have 30 minutes.

3. If you can, please download the free app to your mobile phone by following the link below. It has instructions on how to download to an Iphone and an Android phone. If you do it before the training, we can show you how to use it.

4. Please share this email with friends and neighbors who could be negatively affected by the drilling noise.

If you want to help us stop PGV from illegally drilling at night, we need help this Monday,

If you want to connect with PPA, please come to the 4 o’clock meeting this Tuesday at HAAS School.