Bill Text: HI HB687 | 2015 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: County Authority; Genetically Engineered Organisms; Pesticide Use

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 3-0)

Status: (Introduced - Dead) 2015-01-28 - Referred to AGR, EEP, CPC, referral sheet 2 [HB687 Detail]

Download: Hawaii-2015-HB687-Introduced.html

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

687

TWENTY-EIGHTH LEGISLATURE, 2015

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

relating to agriculture.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


     SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that an increasing number of large-scale, outdoor commercial agricultural operations are using extremely high volumes of pesticides on their fields in the State.  Many of these commercial agricultural operations cultivate genetically engineered organisms for the production of crop seed.  They also cultivate these genetically engineered organisms for the development of experimental genetically engineered organisms that are not approved for human consumption or release into the open environment.  The legislature further finds:

     (1)  The rapid, long-term, and unregulated growth of commercial agricultural entities that are engaged in the testing and production of genetically engineered organisms and their extensive use of pesticides on their properties in Hawaii threaten the stability and growth of Hawaii's agricultural economy, the health of its citizens, and the overall environment;

     (2)  The cultivation of genetically engineered crops can have serious effects on the environment.  For example, in 2013, ninety-three per cent of all soy grown in the United States was engineered to be herbicide resistant.  In fact, the vast majority of genetically engineered crops are designed to withstand herbicides, and, therefore, promote indiscriminate herbicide use.  As a result, genetically engineered, herbicide resistant crops have caused 527,000,000 pounds of additional herbicides to be applied to the nationís farmland.  These toxic herbicides damage the vitality and quality of our soil, harm wildlife, contaminate our drinking water, and pose health risks to consumers and farmworkers;

     (3)  Many pesticides used in large-scale, outdoor commercial agriculture in the State are classified as restricted use pesticides by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.  Restricted use pesticides are pesticides that the Agency has determined likely to cause "unreasonable adverse effects on the environment" if they are used without additional regulatory restrictions.  Many restricted use pesticides used in large-scale, commercial agriculture in the State are known to be toxic to humans, animals, bees, and other insects.  Many of these pesticides are known to contaminate groundwater or persist in the environment.  Some of the pesticides used in the State are subject to limited local use or total bans in other states and in other countries;

     (4)  Pesticide-laden dust and drift from both restricted use pesticides and general use pesticides is often inevitable and results in long-term exposure to toxic chemicals harmful to Hawaii's residents, wildlife, and endangered species, and are sources of pollution to the natural environment of the State;

     (5)  Increased use of herbicides in genetically engineered agriculture has resulted in the rapid development and proliferation of previously unknown herbicide-tolerant superweeds.  The proliferation of these superweeds threatens to overtake the habitat of native flora and fauna in uncultivated lands and forces farmers to use increasingly toxic and expensive herbicides to remove them from cultivated lands;

     (6)  Insect-resistant genetically engineered crops pose a high risk of fostering rapid evolution of pests resistant to organic pesticides, to the detriment of organic farmers, and they also facilitate agriculturally and environmentally harmful monoculture, such as growing corn continuously on the same field year after year;

     (7)  Due to its export value and contribution to the State's employment and food security, agriculture is a vital component of Hawaii's economy;

     (8)  Organic production of crops and food is a growing sector of the agricultural economy in Hawaii. The organic sector relies on maintaining its reputation for high quality organic and conventional crops.  Preserving the identity, quality, and reliability of Hawaii's agricultural products and exports is critical to its economic well-being;

     (9)  Transgenic contamination can and does occur as a result of cross-pollination, comingling of conventional and genetically engineered seeds, accidental transfer by animals or weather events, and other mechanisms.  Transgenic contamination results in genetically engineered crops growing where they are not intended;

    (10)  Currently, no mechanisms exist to guarantee that transgenic contamination will not occur;

    (11)  The contamination of agricultural products with genetically engineered material can have myriad significant impacts.  Organic and many foreign markets prohibit genetically engineered crops, and even a single event of transgenic contamination can and has resulted in significant economic harm when the contaminated crops are rejected by buyers.  Farmers and other parties who lose markets through no fault of their own as a result of transgenic contamination may not find adequate legal recourse.  Further, contamination causes the loss of the fundamental right to choose, for the farmer and the public, to sow crops that are not engineered;

    (12)  The genetic engineering of plants and animals often causes unintended consequences.  Manipulating genes via genetic engineering and inserting them into organisms is an imprecise process.  The results are not always predictable or controllable.  Mixing plant, animal, bacterial, and viral genes through genetic engineering in combinations that cannot occur in nature may produce results that lead to adverse health or environmental consequences;

    (13)  Independent scientists are limited from conducting safety and risk-assessment research of genetically engineered materials due to industry restrictions on research of those materials; 

    (14)  The rapid development and introduction of genetically engineered crops, combined with inadequate regulatory oversight at the state and federal levels, have left the citizens of Hawaii with significant concerns regarding the long-term safety of genetically engineered crops. The United States Food and Drug Administration does not require or conduct safety studies of genetically engineered foods.  Instead, any safety consultations are voluntary, and genetically engineered food developers may decide what information to provide to the agency.  Market approval of genetically engineered food is based on industry research alone.  There have been no long-term or epidemiological studies in the United States that examine the safety of human consumption of genetically engineered foods;

    (15)  The department of agriculture does not have an adequate regulatory structure in place to monitor genetically engineered crops and pesticides or to aid in the understanding of the impacts of genetically engineered crops and pesticides on the local agricultural economy, environment, or public health. The direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts on Hawaii regarding the long-term intensive cultivation of genetically engineered organisms and their associated agricultural practices, including pesticide use, have not been properly or independently studied;

    (16)  Residents of the State have no choice but to live, work, and commute daily in close proximity to areas where genetically engineered crops are being cultivated and where pesticides are being sprayed.  Residents are growing increasingly concerned about the direct and long-term impacts that the large-scale use of restricted use pesticides has on the land, on the natural environment, and on their health; and

    (17)  Hawaii's county governments and any other political subdivisions as established under article VIII, section 1, of the Hawaii constitution, have the right to respond to the concerns of their constituents and promulgate regulations regarding genetically engineered organisms and their associated pesticide use.

     The purpose of this Act is to address the health and welfare and environmental concerns of Hawaii's residents relating to the use of agricultural genetically engineered organisms and pesticides, particularly the role of the counties in addressing those matters.

     SECTION 2.  The Hawaii Revised Statutes is amended by adding a new chapter to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"Chapter

counties; regulation of genetically engineered organisms and pesticides

     §   -1  Purpose.  The purpose of this chapter is to:

     (1)  Affirm the right of any county government or other political subdivision in the State of Hawaii to promulgate and enforce local laws, regulations, or the like, relating to the use of genetically engineered organisms within its jurisdiction;

     (2)  Affirm the right of any county government or political subdivision in the State to promulgate and enforce local laws, regulations, or the like, relating to the use of pesticides within its jurisdiction; and

     (3)  Preserve the right of any county government or other political subdivision in the State to protect the health and welfare of its citizens, its agricultural economies, and its natural environment from the harms attributed to genetically engineered organisms and pesticides.

     §   -2  Construction.  The provisions of this chapter shall be construed liberally so as to effectuate the purpose of this chapter.

     §   -3  Definitions.  As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the following meanings unless the context shall indicate another or different meaning or intent:

     "Defoliant" means any substance or mixture of substances intended for causing the leaves or foliage to drop from a plant, causing or without causing abscission.

     "Desiccant" means any substance or mixture of substances intended for artificially accelerating the drying of plant tissues.

     "Genetically engineered" means produced from an organism or organisms in which the genetic material has been changed through the application of:

     (1) In vitro nucleic acid techniques that include, but are not limited to, recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) or ribonucleic acid (RNA), direct injection of nucleic acid into cells or organelles, encapsulation, gene deletion, and doubling; or

     (2) Methods of fusing cells beyond the taxonomic family that overcome natural physiological, reproductive, or recombination barriers, and that are not techniques used in traditional breeding and selection such as conjugation, transduction, and hybridization.

"In vitro nucleic techniques" include, but are not limited to, recombinant DNA or RNA techniques that use vector systems, and techniques involving the direct introduction into organisms of hereditary materials prepared outside the organisms such as biolistics, microinjection, macro-injection, chemoporation, electroporation, microencapsulation, and liposome fusion.

     "Organism" means any biological entity capable of replication, reproduction, or transferal of genetic material.

     "Pest" means any insect, rodent, nematode, fungus, weed, or any other form of terrestrial or aquatic plant or animal life or virus, bacterium, or any other microorganism, except viruses, bacterium, or any other microorganisms on or in living humans or other living animals, which the administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency determines to be a pest pursuant to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.

     "Pesticide" means:

     (1)  Any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest; and

     (2)  Any substance or mixture of substances intended for use as a plant regulator, defoliant, or desiccant.

     "Plant regulator" means any substance or mixture of substances intended, through physiological action, for accelerating or retarding the rate of growth or maturation or for otherwise altering the behavior of plants or the produce thereof, but does not include substances to the extent that they are intended as plant nutrients, trace elements, nutritional chemicals, plant inoculants, and soil amendments.

     §   -4  Local authority; regulation of genetically engineered organisms.  (a)  Any county or any other political subdivision established pursuant to article VIII, section 1, of the state constitution may, through authorities and powers established in its governing charter, choose to regulate genetically engineered organisms consistent with this section.

     (b)  It shall be within the jurisdiction of any county or political subdivision established pursuant to article VIII, section 1, of the state constitution to determine the parameters of its regulation over genetically engineered organisms, which may include regulations on the production, use, advertising, sale, distribution, storage, transportation, formulation, packaging, labeling, certification, registration, propagation, cultivation, raising, growing, testing, notice, disclosure, or reporting, or recordkeeping of genetically engineered organisms.

     (c)  Nothing in Hawaii's existing laws governing plant pests, plant quarantine, noxious weeds, or seed genetic purity shall preempt or prohibit any county or political subdivision established pursuant to article VIII, section 1, of the state  constitution from regulating genetically engineered organisms.

     (d)  Nothing in this section shall authorize or empower a county or any other political subdivision established pursuant to article VIII, section 1, of the state constitution to adopt a local law, regulation, ordinance, or policy that is less stringent than any laws of statewide applicability, any requirements established by the United States Department of Agriculture, or any other federal laws in existence at the time when the local law, regulation, ordinance, or policy is adopted, or that is adopted for statewide or federal applicability after the local adoption.

     §   -5  Local authority; regulation of pesticide use.  (a)  Any county or political subdivision established pursuant to article VIII, section 1, of the state constitution may, through authorities and powers established in its governing charter, choose to regulate pesticides consistent with this section.

     (b)  It shall be within the jurisdiction of any county or political subdivision established pursuant to article VIII, section 1, of the state constitution to determine the parameters of its regulations over the sale or use of pesticides, which may include regulations on the sale, use, recordkeeping, disclosure, notification, or reporting of pesticides.

     (c)  Nothing in Hawaii's existing statewide pesticide regulations, codified chapter 149A, shall preempt or prohibit any county or political subdivision established pursuant to article VIII, section 1, of the state constitution from regulating the local sale, use, recordkeeping, disclosure, notification, or reporting of pesticides.

     (d)  Nothing in this section shall authorize or empower a county or political subdivision established pursuant to article VIII, section 1, of the state constitution to adopt a local law, regulation, ordinance, or policy that is less stringent than any laws of statewide applicability, any requirements established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, or any other federal laws in existence at the time when the local law, regulation, ordinance, or policy is adopted, or that is adopted for statewide or federal applicability after the local adoption.

     §   -6  Enforcement.  Any county or political subdivision established pursuant to article VIII, section 1, of the state constitution that chooses to regulate genetically engineered organisms or pesticides, or both, may establish terms of violation and penalties violation.

     §   -7  Severability clause.  If any provision of this chapter or the application thereof is held to be invalid, the remainder of its application to other situations or persons shall not be affected."

     SECTION 3.  This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2015.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

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Report Title:

County Authority; Genetically Engineered Organisms; Pesticide Use

 

Description:

Authorizes counties to regulate genetically engineered organisms and pesticide use to the extent that the regulations are more stringent than state or federal laws.

 

 

 

The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.

 

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