Honolulu, Hawaii


RE: S.B. No. 779




Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Twenty-Ninth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2017

State of Hawaii




Your Committee on Agriculture and Environment, to which was referred S.B. No. 779 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


The purpose and intent of this measure is to expand the membership and duties of the Pesticide Advisory Committee in accordance with the recommendations of the Pesticide Use by Large Agribusinesses on Kauai report.


Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Education; Ohana O Kauai; Hawaii Center for Food Safety; Ka Ohana O Na Pua; Hawaii Nurses' Association, OPEIU Local 50; Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action; We Are One, Inc.; Hale Lea Medicine, LLC; Farm Lovers Farmers Markets; Montessori Hale OKeiki, Inc.; and one hundred six individuals. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Department of Agriculture; Hawaii Farm Bureau; Hawaii Cattlemen's Council, Inc.; Hawaii Crop Improvement Association; and Western Plant Health Association.


Your Committee finds that Ordinance 960, passed by the County of Kauai in 2013 relating to pesticides and genetically modified organisms, which was overturned in federal court in 2014, contained a provision to create a Joint Fact Finding Group (JFFG) to help address key environmental and public health questions related to large-scale commercial agriculture entities using pesticides and genetically modified organisms on Kauai. When the ordinance was struck down by the court, the Department of Agriculture and the Kauai County Office of the Mayor contracted an independent public policy group, ACCORD3.0 Network, to facilitate the JFFG project. The JFFG was charged with gathering accurate information on the lands used by the seed companies and Kauai Coffee, their pesticide usage, and evidence of any possible adverse health and environmental impacts.


Your Committee also finds that the JFFG issued its findings and recommendations on May 25, 2016, in a report titled, Pesticide Use by Large Agribusinesses on Kauai (Report), and arrived at the following conclusions regarding health and environmental impacts on the west side of Kauai:


(1) The Kauai health data examined is very limited and does not show a causal relationship between the pesticides used by the seed companies and health problems found on the west side or any other part of Kauai; and


(2) There needs to be additional data gathering going forward to continue to demonstrate the impacts of agricultural pesticide use.


Your Committee further finds that passage of this bill will implement many of the JFFG's recommendations. The Report recommends that the Pesticide Advisory Committee be expanded and its mission broadened to:


(1) Carefully establish new state standards for "chronicity" to account for low-level continuous and cumulative exposures to pesticides;


(2) Undertake a major update of Hawaii's pesticide laws and regulations;


(3) Revise and expand the Good Neighbor Program; and


(4) Establish a consistent and data-driven buffer zone policy and use "green screens".


Your Committee appreciates the concerns of the Department of Agriculture but believes this measure deserves further discussion and debate.


As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Agriculture and Environment that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 779 and recommends that it pass Second Reading and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Agriculture and Environment,