Long road to signing of pesticide bill

For over 11 years I have worked on this issue. I have (along side many, many others) fought consistently against the corporate greed and injustices waged on communities and environment by multinational chemical corporations. Over the last six years my effort has been, in my own backyard, on the county and state level where Hawaii remains an experimental research hot spot for these corporations.

There were incredible highs and lows over the last six years. We passed Bill 2491 with unprecedented community empowerment and grassroots action and a whirlwind of emotions and passion.

We were vetoed and crushed by Mayor Carvalho’s decision to do so, but picked back up by the council when they overrode the mayoral veto to pass Bill 2491.

Then we launched into years of federal court battles while Syngenta, Dow Chemical, BASF, Monsanto and their conglomerates sued the county of Kauai for the right to spray these poisons up to schools and homes without disclosure. The courts ruled against us and in the end it was upheld that it was “implied” that we were preempted because the law wasn’t clear we were not.

A devastating blow after years and years of effort by Counties of Hawaii to protect themselves in the face of utter negligence by the state and federal governments to provide any protection or accountability.

We picked back up and we sat back down at the drawing board and moved forward. Our networks have grown and the movement has changed but committed individuals from throughout Hawaii have kept the pressure on our state legislatures and governor to take action.

Wednesday, Gov. David Ige signed SB3095 into state law. This bill will (over a three-year period) phase out chlorpyrifos entirely from use in Hawaii. It will finally provide a statewide mandated disclosure process for users of highly toxic “Restricted Use” pesticides and it will provide a 100 feeet (minimal and unacceptably small) buffer around our schools during school hours.

It is not the beginning and it is certainly not the end of this movement, but it is a step forward in the right direction and a step towards accountability, disclosure and our communities right to know. It’s also a ban on a potent neurotoxin, one that is extremely dangerous to children both in and out of womb.

To all who have called and emailed, who have marched and taken action, to all who have furthered the conversation, engaged in the debates and been involved in the process that got us here, thank you. To the lawyers and groups who have represented and advocated for us and to the representatives and officials that have introduced and supported measures including SB3095, thank you! To my family, friends, bosses and colleagues who have supported me being a part of this, thank you!

Together we will continue to move this ship forward, to turn the tide on corporate greed and the mistreatment of our lands here in Hawaii and we will further bend the arch toward justice. For all of you I am forever grateful. We have lots of work to do, but what an incredible honor and experience it is to work from and be from a community so resilient, so empowered and so committed to a better and greener Hawaii.


Fern Holland is a resident of Kapahi.

  1. kauaiboy June 14, 2018 7:17 am Reply

    Fern Holland for public office!

    1. Amused June 14, 2018 5:23 pm Reply

      Kauai boy — don’t you remember? Fern already did run for office and she lost worse than Hooser.

  2. manawai June 14, 2018 7:32 am Reply

    I love it! The Fern says, “We were vetoed and crushed by Mayor Carvalho’s decision to do so, but picked back up by the council when they overrode the mayoral veto to pass Bill 2491.” What a fake statement! The Mayor, unlike you and your anti-corporate, anti-farm hippie Hooserites, understood that your bill was illegal. Hence its overturning by the courts! Get it? (Obviously not)

  3. manawai June 14, 2018 7:35 am Reply

    PS – You have succeeded in making food sustainability all the more difficult and unlikely in Hawaii as a result of your anti-GMO pogrom. Your severe lack of understanding of local farming economics is astounding. Good luck with your yardens.

  4. uamaukeeaokaainaikapono June 14, 2018 8:41 am Reply

    YES! A long time coming. Thanks to all the residents of Waimea who stood together and took Pioneer to trial . . . . . . the ridge is not caked with red dirt now, but covered with vegetation, the dust problem is much improved–no more drifts of chemicals! Thanks to ALL who have worked on this issue without wavering, no thanks to the politicians on Kauai who didn’t have our backs and denied our voices of concern! The work goes on—MAHALO, MAHALO AND MAHALO again to the believers of how badly pesticides affects the creatures of this planet. We have been heard and believed!

  5. Amused June 14, 2018 8:48 am Reply

    11 years? Come on, Fern. You weren’t even back on Kauai then. Also, you should disclose you work for Hooser’s HAPA and are paid to write this stuff.

  6. Amused June 14, 2018 8:51 am Reply

    Also, Fern, if you’re so concerned about chemical companies and a greener Hawaii why haven’t you ever complained about the pest control and termite companies? They use far more RUPs than ag! Right in people’s homes, shops, hotel rooms, neighborhoods.

  7. Amused June 14, 2018 8:53 am Reply

    “It will finally provide a statewide mandated disclosure process for users of highly toxic “Restricted Use” pesticides”

    Only ag users. You gave termite & pest control users a totally free pass!

  8. RILEY June 14, 2018 12:38 pm Reply

    Dear Amused. Hmmm. These half-dozen unspooled rants sound just like the bitter and self-serving BLOGGER on the payroll of Cornell’s GMO marketing campaign. Could it be?

    1. Amused June 14, 2018 5:20 pm Reply

      The only paying for unspooled rants is HAPA

    2. LMat June 15, 2018 8:33 am Reply

      Riley, if you’re referring to Joan Conrow, she has no qualms about using her full name on these comments.

      Fern’s letter reads like an unsolicited appeal for pats on the back. Don’t worry Fern, we won’t forget you were part of this sh*t show from the very beginning.

  9. Just Saying June 14, 2018 1:43 pm Reply

    Not a single word about what takes it’s place. Isn’t that a little bit strange? Do they even know? After all, the primary result of all this is that something else will take it’s place; something else that wasn’t good enough or safe enough to be number one!

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