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Letters for June 15, 2014

• Ordinance 960 would protect health on Kauai • Gabbard correct on Iraq’s civil war  • County failed to explain signature rules

Ordinance 960 would protect health on Kauai

The Department of Health’s findings of pesticides in Kauai’s watersheds will require further investigation. Numerous canals and watersheds drain the seed crop fields of Syngenta, Dow, DuPont (Pioneer) and BASF into sensitive coral reefs. However, only some watersheds were tested and only once. Yet, with only this single snap shot, the level of Atrazine found at the drainage canal leading to the Kikiaola boat harbor was four times higher than levels found by U.S. Geological Survey scientists in 2010 to impact reproduction in fish. Metolachor was detected at four sites downstream of seed crop fields.

The U.S. EPA has directed Syngenta to conduct frequent (up to twice monthly) testing of 40 impaired watersheds on the Mainland. The findings are striking. Atrazine will spike to more than a 100 times higher following field applications, exceeding EPA’s water criteria to protect wildlife and human health. Only frequent testing revealed the seriousness of the Atrazine contamination. As a result, EPA now works with states to implement management programs to reduce Atrazine runoff. 

For 30 years I served as a senior health scientist with U.S. EPA assessing the health risks of toxic chemicals discharged by chemical companies. I have seen Kauai’s seed crop fields, their close proximity to irrigation ditches, and discharges to near shore, sensitive coral reefs. I am concerned.

DOH and the EPA should direct the seed companies to conduct twice monthly testing of Kauai Westside canals and watersheds, including following major rainfall events. Passing the Charter Amendment and maintaining Ordinance 960 (2491) will also help ensure that human health, coral reefs and wildlife are protected from unnecessary exposure to pesticides.


Milton Clark, Ph.D.


Associate Professor

University of Illinois School of Public Health

Gabbard correct on Iraq’s civil war

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard took a heroic stand this morning on MSNBC when she clearly and firmly declared that the civil war in Iraq is an Iraqi problem. 

Tulsi, with her Iraq war experience, understands that the U.S. military should not be squandered on the empire dreams of a megalomaniac.


John Zwiebel


County failed to explain signature rules

Kauai Rising has been circulating petitions seeking a Kauai charter amendment to require regulation of firms offering genetically modified organisms. The group has successfully obtained over 4,000 signatures, about double the amount required under the charter. The group consulted with and obtained from the Office of the County Clerk a seven-page guideline which sets forth the requirements and recommendations of that office.

The effort involved many man hours of work for the group’s volunteers and considerable expense.

On June 5, the group received a notification from the clerk’s office that all the signatures were invalid because of claimed failure to comply with Section 24.01 B of the Charter.

The requirements of that section were not adequately set forth in the county clerk’s guideline.

It is an outrage that our citizens cannot rely on the completeness and accuracy of material given them by county officials as the information required and recommended for inclusion in the petitions. The failure of the county clerk’s office to obtain the review of and approval of the content of the guidelines by the county attorney’s office is inexcusable. Also, when the “revised” petition form was returned to the Kauai Rising committee, no mention was made that their names were required to be listed at the top of the petition page. The seven-page guideline used the term “recommended” not “required.”

The county clerk could easily have told us in March that this listing of names on the top of the petition was now required, not recommended, but he didn’t. And then, as late as June, the question was raised, “Is it a cat or a dog?” (meaning a charter amendment  or a ballot initiative ?) This question could have been raised in March. It’s painfully obvious that an attempt is being made to derail this significant amendment.

It seems quite clear that our county government lacks the decency to provide helpful information. We, the people, are not your children. You are not our parents. You, the county officials, are our employees!  Stop obstructing and start serving!


Elaine Valois



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