Hawaii bill would limit pesticides for GM crops
Hawaii legislators have approved a bill that would restrict the use of pesticides by companies developing genetically modified crops on the island of Kauai.
The Kauai County Council voted 6 to 1 on Oct. 16 to require seed companies to disclose the types of pesticides being used. The legislation would establish no-spray zones around schools, medical facilities, homes, public roads and waterways.
Originally the bill would have limited GM crop planting, but those provisions were eventually removed from the bill. Seed companies argued that the original bill would have forced them off the island completely, and they would have challenged the bill in court.
Despite deliberations, seed companies were not happy with the bill’s passage. According to the New York Times, Pioneer said it was disappointed and that the industry was already regulated by the state and federal governments.
“The bill focuses on a few seed companies, while overlooking the vast number of other business on the island that use the same products for pest management,” Pioneer said in a statement. “We believe that the bill is not legally defensible and we continue to evaluate all of our business and legal options.”
Due to its warm climate, Hawaii has become a place for many companies to breed new varieties of corn and other GM crops since three corn harvests can be done in a year, speeding up the trial process, as well as to produce seeds that are shipped to the mainland.
DuPont Pioneer, Syngenta, Dow and BASF grow corn on Kauai on land abandoned by sugar growers, according to the New York Times.