Kauai hearing on GMO bill draws thousandsUPDATED 7:30 PM HST Jul 31, 2013Video Transcript
Paula Akana. Today's public hearing was a chance for both sides of the GMO debate to air-out their grievances. KITV4's Andrew Pereira has been following the meeting. He joins us with tonight's top story. Kenny, Yunji... the bill would restrict the use of certain pesticides and require GMO companies to disclose their crop locations. A community divided over genetically modified organisms. PAT GEGEN: "IT'S ALL ABOUT THE RIGHT TO KNOW, BILL 2491." KEITH HORTON: "IT TAKES AWAY THE RIGHTS THAT WE HAVE TO FARM THE LAND THAT WE FARM." A blue t-shirt means you support Kauai's GMO industry. A Red shirt... means you're opposed. The fuel feeding the controversy is Bill 2491, which supporters say would reel-in the GMO industry, or perhaps send it packing according to detractors. 2,000 showed up ... about 3- percent of Kauai's population! SCOTT McFARLAND: "WE'RE JUST THRILLED WITH THE TURNOUT HERE TODAY AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO A POSITIVE DISCUSSION, A GREAT PATH FORWARD." FERN ANUENUE ROSENSTIEL: "I BELIEVE IT IS A JUST LAW THAT OUR COUNTY NEEDS TO PROTECT OUR HEALTH AND SAFETY." The bill would force GMO corporations to make public the application of restricted or experimental pesticides if use exceeds five pounds or 15 gallons within a year. All GMO fields or storage facilities would be identified by geographic location and tax map key. And buffer zones of 500 feet would be enforced near schools, hospitals, homes, public roadways as well as streams and shorelines. GARY HOOSER: "AT THE END OF THE DAY WHEN THIS PROCESS IS DONE COUPLE WEEKS FROM NOW, I'M HOPEFUL THAT WE'LL HAVE A BILL, A NEW ORDINANCE THAT SATISFIES BOTH SIDES." Open air testing of experimental pesticides would also be banned under the bill, as well as the cultivation of experimental GMOs. There's also an environmental impact statement, that would lead to a permitting system and a temporary moratorium on any new GMO production or experimentation. GMO supporters say it could send some companies packing. SCOTT McFARLAND: "IT'S BEEN GREAT TO SEE THE COMMUNITY TURN OUT AND REALLY BRING FORWARD TO THE COUNCIL A MESSAGE ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF JOBS IN OUR COMMUNITY; THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD, SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE." The bill needs to pass another committee vote before going to the full Kauai Council for final approval. The measure was sponsored by councilmen Gary Hooser and Tim Bynum, which means they only need two more votes for passage. Back to you.