From Civil Beat article today: Will Hawaii Restrict Pesticides, Require More Disclosure From Big Ag?

"Rep. Angus McKelvey said he isn’t inclined to give any of the pesticide-related bills that have been referred to his committee a hearing.

McKelvey said he’s not planning to call a hearing for any of the three pesticide-related bills referred to his committee on consumer protection. They propose a ban on chlorpyrifos and a call for a change in the membership of the pesticide advisory committee.

The representative said he was told by Souki that the measure sent to Yamane, House Bill 1282, is the “vehicle” for pesticide-related proposals in the House, which means it’s the preferred measure for approval.

McKelvey thinks whittling the bills to fewer measures makes sense because it’s less confusing.

“We’re just too overloaded and there’s so many different versions floating around,” he said.

Even though he’s not going to call hearings on the measures, McKelvey is hopeful that the House will pass some version of a bill to regulate pesticides this year, although he doesn’t think it’s fair to focus entirely on farmers.

“I think there’s a very good chance if we can focus on one vehicle and have one encompassing discussion,” he said. “I think the chances diminish quite considerably the more bills you have floating around.”

Bennette Misalucha, director of the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association, the local trade group for the seed industry, said she supports the governor’s stance.

“We are in favor of providing additional resources to the Department of Agriculture,” she said, noting that the industry supports “whatever the Hawaii Department of Agriculture and Department of Health feel is appropriate. … The biggest problem really on pesticides is the fact that we need to educate our regular homeowners on the issue of pesticides.”

That rings true to Rep. Lynn DeCoite, a farmer from Molokai. She fears more regulation will make it harder for her and other farmers to earn a living, and lists other issues like second-hand smoke, sewer overflows and homeowner pesticide misuse as more pressing.

Like McKelvey, DeCoite believes that if the Legislature is going to demand pesticide use disclosure, it shouldn’t be limited to agriculture.

The Department of Agriculture deals with many instances of misuse of pesticides by homeowners, but there are also problems with farmers and large seed companies misusing chemicals. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking to fine Syngenta $4.8 million after several farmworkers got sick last year."

[note: Rep McKelvey has received campaign contributions from: Monsanto, Syngenta, A&B and Dupont]