After 15-month process, Kaua`i JFFG Panel recommends environmental testing and health monitoring to close information gaps and modernize Hawaii`s pesticide regulations.
The state-funded Joint Fact-Finding panel dedicated to studying the impacts of the agrochemical industry on Kaua`i (the JFFG) has issued its final report. The report makes recommendations to the state and county for environmental testing and health monitoring to close information gaps and modernize Hawaii`s pesticide regulations.
Specifically, the Report recommends:
- Statewide pesticide buffer zones
- Statewide mandatory and thorough disclosure of pesticide use (both restricted use and general use)
- Collection of more accurate health data that helps scientists identify links between pesticides and health impacts on children, babies and families
- Air, soil and water testing
As, news coverage of the reports findings makes clear, "Hawaii needs to do a better job of determining the health and environmental effects of the chemicals that genetically modified seed and coffee companies spray on their crops," and we can only do that by being willing to work together for the well-being of our community.
A summary of the few changes made by the JFF Study Group in the final report:
- Noted that the Kaua‘i legislative delegation has already succeeded in securing $500,000 to commence monitoring and studies;
- Updated Appendix 1, which now contains the personal statements from JFF members who chose to write them;
- Revised the Executive Summary to make it shorter, clearer and more direct;
- Clarified some of the recommendations, especially those regarding buffer zone policies and future monitoring and data collection;
- Included more details on EPA’s approval processes, standard setting, and label making which has the force of law;
- Added additional information and citations; and
- Added information from Kaua‘i Dept. of Water's testing in March 2016 and the Kaua‘i legislative delegation’s recent resolution to seek additional funds to support some of the future actions recommended.
Peter Adler of the consulting firm Accord 3.0, hired by the State and County to facilitate the JFFG process, also published a 5-page statement written to Kaua`i Mayor Bernard Carvalho and state Agriculture Chair Scott Enright whose departnments funded the process:
So what is next?
Many of the recommendation from the JFFG report will be implemented at the state level. Governor David Ige said that he is open to all of the recommendations, but did not commit to any of them. However, the upcoming state budget does include $500,000 for state agencies to implement the report's monitoring and study recommendations.
Take action now to let the Governor know you want the recommendations of the JFFG report enacted!
As one expert in environmental conflict resolution put it, "it is vital that we don’t allow ourselves to remain paralyzed. We must find ways to merge our differing viewpoints and, together, advocate for a better future for the planet and all of its inhabitants. The JFF process is one of those ways, and we should support it."