HONOLULU — In support of Hawaii’s potential ban on chlorpyrifos and of stricter pesticide rules, several Kauai people added their voices to dozens who gathered at the capitol for Monday’s Keiki First Rally.
The goal is to encourage the Senate to support SB3095, the pesticide bill that unanimously passed the House of Representatives last week. About 80 people attended the Monday event.
“While I wholeheartedly believe that even stronger protections are required to protect our keiki, I am here today to support SB3095 and its passing as the first step to establishing protective regulations,” said Fern Holland, who spoke at the event.
The bill would be the first mandating statewide disclosure and buffer zone protections for schools, and supporters tout it as the first step to establishing protective regulations in the industry.
Friday, the House of Representatives passed the disclosure bill, which bans all use of restricted use pesticides within 100 feet of schools during instructional hours and phases out chlorpyrifos over a three-year period.
While Representative Jimmy Tokioka chose not to comment on the passage of the bill, both Representatives Dee Morikawa and Nadine Nakamura spoke in support of SB 3095 after the vote.
“This bill is the best compromise, and I think it’s something that’s finally time we pass,” Morikawa said on Friday.
She said she supports the safe use of RUP pesticides, and a bill aimed at protecting the state’s children is important.
Nakamura pointed out that the bill incorporates part of the good neighbor program, increases funding to the Department of Agriculture for pesticide education and investigations, and bans all RUPs within 100 feet of schools during instructional hours — all of which she said she can support.
“This bill attempts to find a middle ground to move forward,” she said on Friday.
Holland maintains that with the 100-foot buffer zone around schools and a ban on chlorpyrifos, Hawaii is “making a step in the right direction toward providing tangible protections for public health and our precious environment.”
Activists from around the islands gathered Monday to rally at the capitol, carrying signs that said things like “Got Autism? Got ADHD? Got agricultural pesticides?” Speakers from across the islands added their manao to the conversation.
“This is a clean and straightforward bill,” said Gary Hooser, Kauai resident and president of Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action. “I believe the House has actually “threaded the needle” and balanced the needs of the various stakeholders well. I am hopeful that Senator Kouchi will also offer his support and thus ensure passage of this historic bill through the Senate and into law.”
A date hasn’t been released for the Senate’s consideration of the pesticide bill, SB3095hd1, but Wednesday Virginia Rauh, professor of public health at Columbia University, will provide a briefing for legislators at the State Capitol at 10 a.m.