Meeting to discuss pesticide report

LIHUE — More information on the findings of a recent Kauai Joint Fact-Finding report on pesticide use by agribusinesses will be available soon at a public meeting in Lihue.

“I think many members of the community will take interest in hearing JFF members talk through some of the issues they worked so hard on and better understand the findings, conclusions and recommendations,” said Peter Alder, who facilitated the study.

Adler is scheduled to be at the meeting, as well as members from GMO-Free Kauai, members of the fact-finding group itself, and Kauai councilmember Gary Hooser.

The $100,000 report, released at the beginning of March, included several recommendations relating to pesticide use on the island, including making pesticide disclosure mandatory for the largest users and putting into place pesticide buffer zones in sensitive places like schools.

“My main concern moving forward is that the agrochemical industry on Kauai and their partners at the State Department of Agriculture will be aggressively pushing to weaken these provisions,” Hooser said. “Our community has been calling for increase pesticide disclosure and buffer zone regulations fro the past three years and the JFF report fully supports and validates those actions.”

Jeri Di Pietro, president of Hawaii SEED, said her hope is that the study’s recommendations stay intact and are strengthened instead of diminished. She pointed out that the “biotech industry was a part of this balanced committee” and that Hawaii SEED expects the fact-finding group to stand up for their recommendations.

She also said there is a need for more research on pesticides and their effects on Kauai’s population.

“There are too many questions about health and environmental concerns that are not answered,” Di Pietro said. “Obviously there needs to be more genuine and collaborative research done on what is making people closest to these experimental sites sick.”

The meeting will be at the Kauai Veterans Center from 7-9 p.m. on Monday, April 4. It’s not a public hearing, where testimony is taken, but there will be time for questions and comments from the audience, as well as a briefing on the report and some background from Adler.

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