Pesticide Runoff from GMO fields Kauai

The World Responds in Outrage As Big Agrochemical Sues the Little Island Of Kauai

Now that Monday is here, the news is breaking worldwide that the world’s biggest Chemical Corporations are suing the little island of Kauai on Friday, for the ‘right’ to spray toxic restricted use pesticides (banned in most countries) right up to the property line of schools, hospitals and homes.

Syngenta,  Dow Agrosciences and DuPont / Pioneer all filed the suit, claiming that bill 2491, which creates safe buffer zones of a few hundred feet around schools, hospitals and home, is illegal. The fact that similar laws are on the books in numerous other places, where they have NOT sued is not mentioned in the suit. So why sue Kauai over a small law designed to protect children from pesticides? The question was answered in short – by Kirby Kester, of HCIA and Biotech Company representative. He said in testimony to Kauai County Council, that the reason the chemical companies opposed bill 2491 – was because their worst fear is that ‘other’ counties would follow suit and do the same if the bill passed. See the video below:

The fact is, that laws very similar to 2491 have been on the books in other places for a while, however Biotech’s concern that other places would copy Kauai is already happening – as a few weeks after bill 2491 was passed, the Big Island of Hawaii BANNED all new GMO crops, and similar 2491 legislation was introduced in Maui County – with Oahu’s Mayor announcing a voluntary measure similar to 2491 on his island. It was only a month later that the first few states on the mainland passed GMO labeling laws.

Why does Kauai have so much power to inspire people worldwide? We think it is because so many people visit this beautiful island on vacation, they consider it a ‘second home’ or at least a place that their heart feels at home in. Most tourists were shocked at the infiltration of biotech into Kauai as the stories of bill 2491 broke worldwide, and as they watched the people of Kauai unite and stand together as one to fight the chemical corporations, it was an inspiring vision that reminds others that we are not powerless against these monsters. Kauai is a bright shining light, a jewel in the ocean… and it’s a jewel that the Chemical Corporations consider their treasure to plunder.

So, now that the news has broke that BioTech has filed a lawsuit against the loving, Aloha people of Kauai, against the families with children who are sick from pesticides, against the people who have lost family members to cancer, and against an island that represents LOVE in Aloha – the world is OUTRAGED.

This was probably the WORST public relations move ever by biotech. Suing a small island in the middle of the Pacific who is only trying to protect their children from toxic pesticides, is not going over well in the world media. Words like ‘outrage’, ‘shame’, ‘bullies’ and ‘thugs’ are words the media is using to describe Syngenta, DOW, Pioneer, Dupont and their conglomerate organization, HCIA.

Biotech may have thought that filing a lawsuit against a community suffering with children demonstrating rare birth defects and cancers was a ‘smooth move’ on their part… however public relations wise, the move is turning out to be a ‘smooth move’ of the ‘overdosed on ex-lax’ kind – as a diarrhea of foul press and outrage is flooding the blogosphere and news outlets, directed (justifiably so) at the chemical corporations that are bullying Kauai with a frivolous lawsuit.

They have successfully now not only united an entire island against them in solidarity, but the entire world is standing with Kauai at this time – and praying that justice prevails for her people, her children and land.

FROM ECOWATCH – The biotech companies mainly grow seed crops on the island, including soybean, canola, rice and seed corn—which is Kaua’i’s number one crop. But they also have trial plots where they test genetically modified seeds for pesticide resistance. Hawaii’s warm climate allows for three corn crop harvests in a year, which makes it a perfect place to experiment with seeds. The companies say Kaua’i’s climate gives them the “the invaluable opportunity to triple or quadruple the pace of development of GM crops.”

It’s this “triple or quadruple pace of development of GM crops” that has been of increasing concern to many islanders and what led to the passage of the bill in the first place.

Many residents, especially those living on the west side of the island where most of the biotech companies’ fields are located, are deeply concerned about the health and environmental impact of the large volumes of pesticides used these fields. Three-to-four crop harvests a year, they say, means a tripling or quadrupling of the amount of pesticide used—way over what’s used in fields, GMO or otherwise—on typical farms. Many local doctors and nurses, teachers and parents are especially worried that exposure to pesticides is harming children.

On several occasions between 2006 and 2008, students and teachers at Waimea Canyon Middle School, which is near a Syngenta field, complained of noxious odors. In one instance the school had to be evacuated and some children were sent to the hospital. Some doctors say the region seems to have unusually high rates of asthma, cancer and birth defects. However, there have been few studies investigating these allegations and the cause of the students’ ill health. (The lawsuit uses the lack of health impact studies to claim that Ordinance 960 is not “based on sound scientific data or a thorough risk assessment”).

Kaua’i Councilman Gary Hooser, who co-authored the bill, says it was drawn up because despite repeated requests from residents the companies either withheld information, or outright lied, about their agricultural practices.

“I expected it and I didn’t,” Hooser said on Saturday, referring to the lawsuit. “In a way, I expected them to honor the democratic process also. It should have been predictable given their history of being corporate thugs around the world, but I tend to optimistic.” He said a team of environmental lawyers, including attorneys from EarthJustice and Center for Food Safety, who’ve promised to fight the case for the council pro bono, “are confident that the law is defensible and solid.”

Paul Achitoff, a Honolulu-based attorney with EarthJustice, says the lawsuit’s arguments aren’t legally sound. “They have a very long list of complaints. Basically they’ve thrown everything up against the wall hoping something would stick,” he said. “Of course you never know, a judge might buy one of the arguments.”

On Saturday, some Kauaʻi residents expressed frustration that while the companies acknowledged the benefits of business on Kauaʻi, they have been unwilling to address people’s concerns.

“As a west side resident who is surrounded by the test fields of these companies, it is my basic human right to know what they are exposing me and my family to on a regular basis. Their actions prove that they do not value the health and well-being of our community, and are only interested in their corporate profit,” Malia Chun, a local educator and community activist, said in a statement.

The full article on EcoWatch can be read here:


  1. Sharks eat and mate and damned little else. This is how they are designed. Corporations make money and do damned little else. This is how they are designed. If people want this nonsense to stop, the entire system needs to change. Corporations must be “encouraged” to do the right thing by making sure the wrong thing means financial death. Furthermore, the very legal status of the corporation needs to be modified so that they have less power, and the owners are not as insulated from legal proceedings.

    1. Thank you for trying to get people concerned. I think the people of Kauai should all say NO to the use of GMO seeds and certain pesticides. I consider myself kamaaina and know that there are a lot of ignorant people in PARADISE. They have had many bad ideas foisted on them ( cane roads, mongemongeese.)

    2. I agree. Mahalo. And get corporations out of election campaigns – before I die, I’d like to see the recognition by global people that democracy is a lie especially in the U.S.A. That would be a critical awakening in knowing the sick enemies of life. We could at least have the courage to make a sustainable future beyond this generation. Kaua’i is torn with military occupation on the part of the U.S.A., over development and foreign corporation of poison. As with all of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Kaua’i is globally significant.

    3. Well-put, James – thank you. And I understand that corporations are required to be incorporated somewhere and that one of the guidelines is that the corporation does beneficial actions for the community. If not, then it should be! Some industrial pig farms in PA had their corporate charters revoked due to massive pollution from animal waste and the smell and downstream problems. I wonder if that can happen here in Hawaii state. Does anyone know about the nature and function of “corporate charters”?

  2. ugg they are starting to be yesterday’s news. biotech is soooo out! Natural is in and living sustainably and symbiotically. Anyone trying to promote biotech is ONLY in it for the money…. look at all these crooks selling out for the dollar. sad to see so-called ‘hawaiians’ in that group. They should pack their bags and leave with them because they don’t belong in Hawaii either with that mindset. All those politicians are taking bribes… it’s more than obvious!

      1. no you dont, really 3 crops a year with heavy spray for testing??? no body needs this not in todays world, i hope they can stand together and tell the companies to fuck off

    1. Biotech is by no means out. It’s those agricultural technologies that allow a world with such a large population to feed itself, and even then a lot of people go hungry. Try natural living (whatever that means), and see how far it goes.

      I’m not saying big corporations should spray chemicals wherever they please, but I am saying biotech is as necessary as any other modern innovation. We are well passed the olden times when you could feed a populace with 18th century farming techniques. That’s been gone for a long time now. Modern agriculture is no less sophisticated than modern computers. There’s no going back.

      A fertile island like Kauai could sustain itself with old and more conventional methods, but much of the rest of the world couldn’t grow a weed if it wanted to, and those millions of people deserve to eat too.

      1. Dave – NONE of the GMO crops grown on Kauai are for human consumption. Not one. No starving children are being fed from these crops. Additionally the whole ‘feed the world’ – marketing ploy is just that – a ploy to make people buy into more and more chemicals. These are CHEMICAL companies, not AG companies. They are interested in selling chemicals – and creating seeds that require more chemicals, they are not interested in feeding the world – only profits. The problem of ‘feeding the world’ is one of logistics, not resources. There is already more than enough food to feed the world, if it were distributed properly – the amount we spend on the military /war in one year in the United States, has been estimated to be enough to end all starvation worldwide. It’s that easy. The question you should be asking is WHY are we not doing it? Additionally, if these companies are so humanitarian as to have the ethical goal of ‘feeding the world’ – would they not care about the local communities they are poisoning and carry the same ethical and moral goals? They don’t care about what is happening to the children and local community here in Kauai – and they don’t care about feeding the world. Period.

      2. (Dave-) There is no merit in your argument to continue the push for 2,4-D and other pesticide applications 3 times a year ANYWHERE on the planet. The food items you mention that are GMO, raised with increasing amounts of pesticides, are 1) not meeting projected crop yields, 2) the only reason for abnormal increases in pesticide resistance, and 3) are not qualified to considered as sustainable food crops “to feed the world.” The corporations involved in this destructive practice continue to try and sue their way into domination. People are agitating and protesting this everywhere. We will prevail, even in the climate of lawsuits and all of the money being given to the youth and educational systems to try and inoculate the next generation to follow this misguided path.

      3. Dave biotech has lied to millions about their products that has nothing to do with helping people & everything to controlling markets & people..If you stop drinking their kool-aid you can salvage what is left of a mind of your

      4. Most of what you write is being demonstrated as inaccurate, Dave. Numerous examples of better and bigger and less-expensive crops from non-GMO and integrated crop systems can now be found, and the claim that GMOs would eliminate the need for pesticides could not be further from the truth: The big GMO companies that are experimenting with DNA also manufacture 75% of the world’s toxic pesticides, and the GMOs actually need the pesticides lots! I encourage you to check into Professor Hector Valenzuela’s research at UH Honolulu – He has collected and publicized hundreds of references about this after finally being un-gagged by the University recently.

      5. Thanks, Dave, for “A Word from your Corporate Sponsors”… It’s getting easier all the time to spot corporate shills in the ‘blogosphere’.

      6. Living in a bubble dear Dave? Why should millions of people be exposed to the poisons that big corporations spray onto monocrops. Sustainable growing and living is becoming more and more part of modern day living and it is very easy to feed everyone without them having to eat and drink all the chemicals that is used on our “food” Press that google button on your modern computer and inform yourself! – that is if your brain hasn’t been fried by all the crap that you obvioulsly eat!

      7. yes your right they deserve to eat but what are they putting towards it, money is a made up lie the best you can get is this cow is equal to x amount of food
        if you cant put towards a better future then well your an oxegen thief really

      8. Dave, your comments are bull shit. The worlds population can fit in Australia on 1 acre lots. Leaving the rest of the world to grow food. The problem is not growing food…it is greed and distribution. There is plenty of land and ocean if we quite destroying with with ‘progress’ like pesticides and nuclear reactors…

      9. If you think that Biotech food production is about feeding the world you are sadly mistaken and naive….Biotech is all about controlling food supply and ofcourse money…for gods sake wake up and smell the coffee!!

      10. That is a joke dave. The yeilds from biotech crops are worse and up the toxic anti every year as super strains of weeds develop. Toxic chemicals should be NOWHERE near food. Even the chemical companies know this as their cafaterias serve organic natural food.

  3. Saying “We don’t believe we are doing any harm” is just a statement of denial.I would call this a frivolous lawsuit wasting the taxpayers money and time. Take your crops and go home. Oh , wait, you dont have a home because no one wants you. The buffers at Pole hale are sometimes quite close to the roads and there is no real grass buffer. I’ve have always wondered why the horse is tied to the side of certain fields , can someone tell me that

    1. It has been said that only Organic, Non-GMO food is served in the cafeterias on the Monsanto St. Louis campus… They’re not as stupid as we might think.

  4. As consumers we have the power .. but we need to stand together and ban any products … including throwing out any products that have been made by these companiesin our homes… bombard the dumps with there products… hit their pockets until they are empty.. and don’t compromise or let up .. make it Americas lastest fade and all other countries will for sure follow.. run this kind of thinking and behavior out of the camp.. banish them for life…

      1. Katrina, Dupont removed the link you posted about their products services. Anyone have a list of products to boycott?

  5. these companies are poisoning our planet,, polluting our oceans, and are backed by greedy govts who wish to support corporations over people, to ensure that they profit, and without regard for the peoples health and welfare.

  6. I worked and lived on Kaua’i back in the ’70’s, and I know the lay of the land. The western fields were the most productive of the whole state – exactly where the foto shows their pesticide experiments are being done. Ancient Hawai’ian motto: “The Life of the Land is Perpetuated by Living Right by It!” Pesticide tests do not do that. Thanks, Kaua’i, and Mau’i and Hawai’i and Oah’u – for objecting to those tests, make them go away.

  7. Do you know what is going on in maui ? Right before the Pali is a beautiful beach but its water is dirty and smells…. no run offs around.

  8. The pure stupidity of whatever seed company that sprayed by the Waimea school is what brought this all to a head. Don’t bitch now because residents took action. Look deep within yourselves seed companies, you started this mess, go sue the seed company that made the big screw up and put them out of business. They are the one’s that caused this mess. I don’t agree with everything in this bill but I sure don’t agree with you suing Kauai over their efforts to protect their kids.

  9. These corporate thugs are the same A-holes that convinced earlier generations to quit using hemp for paper and cut down pristine forests of trees for this purpose-solely because it takes their chemicals to create tree paper. Corp. 1 % here also brought us agent orange-who made their billions
    during the Vietnam war-spraying and contaminating not only the jungle-but American troops and local population as well. This is treason-ecocide-genocide-and cancer-causing. Of course-they are married to the big pharma-who capitalize on sick people. These truly reckless greedy people should have their wealth confiscated and they should be interred on the very places they desecrated over the years-including fossil-fuel mongers who keep available free clean energy and real earth medicine like medical cannibis just out of reach from a world hungry for change-and dont forget the war-mongers who create enemies and wars for the sake of trillion dollar weapons contractors and their deception -oh and dont forget paid-off politicians.

  10. Big corporations STOP screwing up the most beautiful place I have ever lived. You want to poison and ruin…..go to the fuc*ing moon. Leave Kaua’i and it’s great people alone.

  11. I love that the island that stands for LOVE is going to be the one to start the shut down of these shameful chemical companies. One in 3 people are now being diagnosed with some form of cancer. The chemicals they use are toxic and have been proven to cause cancer. It is an outrage that they have gotten away with this as long as they have. The island of LOVE is going to show that Love wins!

  12. First of all, thank you again and again everyone who supported Bill 2491!! We are the real Heroes!! Yes, our tiny Island filled with people who have pure Aloha will be the reason these corporate monsters will have to leave, they are their own worst enimies and the world knows it. Thank you Jerry Jenkins for the info you shared & thank you Elaine Wilson for the idea of sending them to the moon, (made me laugh for a moment). Just want these companies gone from our beloved islands & labeling on all gmo foods so we can choose to eat healthy or foolishly.


  13. I was shocked the last couple times I went to Polihale and saw all the new corn and other crops the chemical companies have planted. Just in the last couple months…sine 2491 PASSED!!! What is going on and is anyone else noticing? I have been photographing all the new crops. Who is in charge?

    1. Aloha Amy, it may be that the fields in that area were fallow – we seem to recall testimony from several chemical company reps that said they were ‘between seasons’ in the fall and that most of their fields were fallow. They may also be gearing up, trying to expand as much as possible before any more restrictions on their expansion might come up again for legislation. (Like a ballot initiative). Mahalo for taking photos of this and documenting, it takes a village! Perhaps go to the GMO free Kauai GROUP if you are a member and share them there for the community input, also the more photos we have the better all around. Mahalo again for your continued effort, they need to know we are watching, and the whole world is watching!

  14. I find it incredible that these companies were allowed to come to Kauai and legally be allowed to saturate the land with toxic chemicals and pesticides in the first place. WHO WERE THE PEOPLE THAT AUTHORIZED THIS MADNESS IN THE FIRST PLACE? What politicians were involved? Who were the business persons who profited from this venture? Is this land leased? They need to be expelled as soon as possible, and any toxic residues removed. As a former resident of Kauai, I find it incredulous that any resident thinks this is right and proper to pollute and contaminate this priceless jewel. The Biotech companies are a danger to public health. They need to relocate to Texas or Louisiana, where the pollution is overlooked or completely ignored by their state government in preferring the Almighty Doillar to the health of the people and their environment. This is like taking a bowel movement on the face of Madame Pele, to let these people do this in Hawaii.

  15. I completely agree with James, We need to start holding these chemical companies accountable and big pharmacy even more. Start paying doctors when we are healthy not when we are sick. Then they have a reason to cure us. Can we as a community with the world watching come up with a law to stop the greed of large corporations in their tracks. Something to break up the corporate political empire built by the Elite and give the power of a healthy country and a multiple party system back to the people and out of the hands of the corporate lobbyist? Why do we need big name lawmakers to dictate our laws? Can we not come up with something ourselves that is not a couple thousand pages long and catering to the special interests of the corps? With enough money anybody could get a seat of power. With enough people speaking up they have to listen. We have to act and what better time than when we are being attacked by the greed of these companies first hand.

  16. and if the local government (made up of citizens) refuses to take part in a lawsuit? Perhaps the government should take the property by eminent domain, kick the companies out and transition the land to organic farming/seed development. Any jobs lost now would be replaced by the new tenants.

  17. Big corporations goal is to make as much of the almighty dollar as quick as possible, got to take care of the stockholders. And apparently the stockholders don’t seem to have a problem with it, haven’t heard anything from them. So, the way I see it, both (the companies and stockholders) have no problem sacrificing the health of not only the land, but also the health of the people of the land.
    On the pesticide use issue, has anyone requested to view the pesticide use logs (required by federal law to be kept) as to whether MAXIMUM USE RATE/YEAR (since they are producing 3-4 crops/year) is being exceeded?

  18. First there were the original inhabitants with their built world the harmonized with the nature . They also lived in harmony with that nature . Then there urban rats showed up and built hideous hotels and houses which disfigured the nature and resulted in visual toxicity . Now the GMO folks have arrived to complete what the urban rats started. Now the GMOs are planted and it’s too late to turn back the clock. If paradise is lost it began when urban rats contaminated the visual world with their lazy ,functional , cheap ugly buildings. The construction and tolerance of those vulgar hotels and giant glass windowed houses was a signal to the world that it OK to disrespect the environment.

  19. The War between the people and THEM? Is getting near and on what side are you goin to fight with and Fight against?? NO CULTURAL AND SPIRITUAL LAND SHOULD GO THRU ANY OF THIS WHITE MANS BS!! I Truly hope that the WORLD knows who is the Real

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