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: