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Maui Mayor Signs Doc with Monsanto Requiring Disclosure

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   November 20th, 2013 · 40 Disqus Comments ·
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Monsanto’s Alex Mangayayam (right) explains the company’s drip irrigation system to  Nature Conservancy Moloka‘i staff members Russell Kallstrom (left) and Wailana Moses (center).   Photo courtesy,  Monsanto Moloka‘i.

Monsanto’s Alex Mangayayam (right) explains the company’s drip irrigation system to Nature Conservancy Moloka‘i staff members Russell Kallstrom (left) and Wailana Moses (center). File photo courtesy, Monsanto Moloka‘i.

By Maui Now Staff

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa announced that he has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Monsanto, “obtaining assurances from the company that they will engage in safe practices involving restricted-use pesticides.”

The MOU was reached earlier this month, and comes after bills were passed on Kauaʻi and in Hawaiʻi County, involving restrictions on the use of pesticides, the mayor’s announcement said.

According to officials with the mayor’s office, the county decided to approach Monsanto, while watching the developments in other counties, seeking “disclosure of the company’s restricted-use pesticides and all information about related practices.”

According to Mayor Arakawa, Monsanto, which operates farms on Maui and Molokaʻi, “readily complied,” and signed an agreement being referred to as the “Maui County AG Oversight Agreement.”

Monsanto Community & Government Affairs Manager Carol Reimann commented on the new agreement saying, “Monsanto has a company-wide pledge to dialogue and respect, and we strive every day to be a good neighbor and manage our business responsibly.”

“We are pleased to have engaged in the mayor’s ‘Ag Oversight Agreement,’ as it is a reflection of our sincere desire for positive dialogue and improved understanding of our farming practices. We appreciate the mayor’s strong leadership and commitment to the community,” said Reimann.

The mayor’s office released details of the agreement, which state that Monsanto must do the following:

Mayor Arakawa said, “the AGOA will help provide some much-needed information to the public without putting financial burdens on taxpayers or opening the county up to costly lawsuits.”

“Responsible use of pesticides is a concern for us all, especially for those of us who grew up on these islands when sugar cane and pineapples were our main exports,” said Mayor Arakawa in a press release statement issued this afternoon.

“There must be safeguards and a sharing of information, and I believe the AG Oversight Agreement is a proactive step we needed to take in providing both for our community.”

Similar MOU agreements are also being developed by the County of Maui with Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company, according to the mayor’s announcement.

For more on the GMO ban passed by Hawaii County Council, and why the ban is legally problematic, see: ANALYSIS: GMO Ban a Poorly-Crafted Invitation for Lawsuits courtesy of our news team on the Big Island.

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  • Natural Food

    I still don’t trust Monsanto…remember that Monsanto is not a food company but rather a chemical company developing chemical resistant crops so they can sell more chemicals.

    I’ve heard rumors of Monsanto corn being the crop to replace sugar in the years to come, can anyone substantiate this?

    • PaiaGirl

      That would be crazy if they want to make ethanol since corn has no net savings of fossil fuel whereas sugarcane ethanol does. However, Monsanto is trying to buy or lease more and more land and HC&S wants to bank their land so they can pay low ag taxes and release it a little at a time for development which is their primary business. So leasing to Monsanto might be in the cards….unfortunately.

      • No Can

        I heard that the boiler that HCandS uses is going to blow up in 2 years and to replace it will be more than it’s worth. After that the only thing they can do is sell their land. Does Monsanto have the money to buy it. Hell yeah. Personally I’d buy all the sugar cane land and grow hemp but I don’t have the cash. Anybody want to loan me some?

        • PaiaGirl

          I don’t think that is true. What is true is that one of the boilers is 1952 and all the boilers use inadequate emissions control. EPA has just now found out about HC&S burning COAL and not using proper emissions control (which means Wailuku and Kahului kids are getting far more toxic coal emissions than they should)

          HC&S has grown sugarcane long after it became economically infeasible simply because it allowed them to operated their coal-fired boilers to generate electricity (9% of Maui’s electricity) WITHOUT MEETING THE EMISSION STANDARDS. That’s because the 5 U.S. sugarcane plantations convinced Congress to make a special rule exempting sugar boilers from the pollution control standards that other boilers use.

          However, none of the 4 other sugar operations SELL ELECTRICITY and BURNS COAL.

          I have a feeling HC&S will get serious about replacing sugarcane with another crop once the EPA tells them to get with the 21st century and put adequate pollution control equipment on their ancient boilers.

        • unutsbrah

          Wow, the tank is going to blow in two years? Oh my God, save us. And you say you want money to feed your hemp habit?

          • No Can

            Ho cuz you nuts eh? First off you must think I want HC&S to fail. WRONG. Plenty family that work at the mill and the cane smoke ain’t no big thing to me. But I’m telling you, whether you support the sugar cane industry or not that boiler is gonna blow. I don’t think its dangerous but I know that it ain’t worth replacing and if they don’t replace it the sugar cane operation stops. That said, what the hell is A&B gonna do with all that land now that they’re not growing sugar cane? If they don’t grow other crops then maybe they gotta rezone from agriculture and start developing. I know all these anti GMO freaks think Monsanto is evil but I rather see them buy the cane field lands and grow their crops than see buildings pop up all over the place. BTW hemp is not the part of the plant you smoke (not that I know, I get asthma so I don’t smoke nothing) but I heard it might be a good crop on Maui. Anyway the point is, if you want our island to stay green pray either the boiler holds or we find something else to grow out there in the fields. Aloha.

      • Natural food

        I don’t think they want to grow corn for ethanol…Monsanto is growing corn for breeding and selling chemical resistant seeds. Because of Hawaii’s growing seasons they can accelerate breeding programs and cut the time in half. It’s been quoted elsewhere that the seed industry in Hawaii is roughly a $250 million industry, and soon to grow..

      • aloha and bye, bye

        Hey, Monsanto buy the land and do away with sugar cane. That’s what all you cry baby’s wanted. Oh the smoke. Oh the ashes the fall out. Now’s your chance. Hah, you guys just want to nag. Go some places else to live. Go buy your own island be your own president, governor, mayor, police, you’ll be more happy that way.

    • BusGirl

      Monsanto split off about 14 years ago from the chemical side of the company. The ‘new’ Monsanto has a good track record of responsibility and transparency.

      • TSL

        Small kine edit,The new monsanto has a no good track record of erresponsibility and non transparency.

      • Natural Food

        It doesn’t matter if they “split off”,the “two” companies have many of the same employees, officers, etc. They are one and the same, the spin-off that occured in 2000 was a legal move to distance them from their past liabilities.

        How can you say that they aren’t a chemical company when they sell Roundup and other pesticides?

      • jazzfeed

        You are kidding yourself!

    • you for_______

      As just rumours. Listen to the facts. That’s the problem with you people. You listen to anything and every thing even if it’s not true. Let them buy the land. Book more smoke and fall out.

  • kanakamind

    Sounds
    like an attempt to cut us off when it comes our time to demand the same
    as Big Island and Kauai. Their way of saying that they already are
    taking measures. DEMAND CHANGE.

    • jazzfeed

      Very astute kanakamind. Monsanto and the other chemical vendors may have come up with this idea themselves at their damage control meetings during and after the Kauai result and pro-actively (more accurately: pre-emptively) presented it to Maui’s mayor. I see it as non-binding political theatre to reassure the low- and medium-information people (I’m guessing that covers most Maui), and does not bode well because it could make real progress more legally complex.

      Mr Arakawa: Are you encouraging the County Council to take the same action as Kauai? Why not? Is it because our CC doesn’t have the compassion and conviction as Kauai’s? Because the mayor himself has priorities that value human health as something other than #1? Both? Now you (everyone) ask him and keep asking.

  • Maui_Mike

    The term appeasement comes to mind, Monsanto wants to appear to be a benevolent good neighbor, but their agenda is really a financially motivated monopoly on the world food supply, they are not what they profess to be, their dark history is evidence of this.

    • Brenda Diederich

      Do you have any idea how much money Monsanto donates to schools? To various communities and their projects? Please Please Please look up the positives of GM crops—and not just Monsanto. GM does not equal ‘evil’.

      • Maui_Mike

        Of course they give money, this is how they make the politicians indebted to them, it is a form of lobbying, make no mistake, corporate greed and significant control of crop seed are the goal of Monsanto, the same nice folks who brought us agent orange…..

  • BW

    Too bad the voters on Maui are too stupid to ever even bring up a measure like they did on Kauai. It’s always the same thing here on Maui, If you don’t like it here you should leave. Even if it was proven that HC&S and Monsanto were causing health and environmental issues most of the voting population is too naïve or drugged up to care. Someday Maui will wake up but for now it’s a 3rd world county. I like how the county brings this up just when HC&S is maxing their cane burns this month. There’s no pollution there, come on. Cane blowing over both Kihei elementary schools this weeks. Pathetic.

  • PaiaGirl

    Is there a link to this MOU? Can we read the actual agreement?

  • John R. Hall

    Really?…obtaining assurances from the death merchants that they will engage in safe use of their child-killing chemicals?…Really? How much did Monsanto donate to Mayor Arakawa’s campaign fund? How much cash did Monsanto throw at the new Maui police/prison complex which now guards the gates of their evil lair? Monsanto wants us to believe they are our good neighbors with this pack of bu11$h1+ and lies. They are in the process of taking over control of the earth’s food supply, and they want to sell their poisons which are necessary to grow their frankenseeds. The crimes against humanity committed by Monsanto are so vast and perditious that their mere presence here on Maui is a slap in the face and the worst of possible insults to those of us who value our home. Tell Arakawa to give back the bribes and grow a spine. No aloha for Monsanto! And yes, this is my real name.

    • No Can

      John R. Hall, aka Federal Reserve Brown hahahahaha

      • jazzfeed

        No Can aka No Can Think
        (good thing you can laugh)

        • No Can

          Try laugh brah, you’ll feel better

  • MauiShadow

    No way in the world are these criminals to be trusted! Would they allow for independent testing and verification for the amounts and types of chemicals?
    The elephant in the room is that in order to develop pesticide resistant crops,Monsanto has to saturate their tests fields with these deadly chemicals to see just how “resistant” their crops are. This naturally means that they will be experimenting with levels of use far exceeding what is described in the labeling of their pesticides. To get around this, they use a “research” license which means they can spray as much as they want and still be within the law. Their MOU will simply say “We here at Monsanto are acting according to regulations.” …and they’ll be telling the truth, but still legally poisoning us and the land that nourishes us. We are being used as nothing more than a test-tube for Monsanto’s poisons.

    • FederalReserve Brown

      lest not forget these scum of the earth pretty much OWN the regulatory agencies.. so it is a double INSULT.

    • boo hoo

      Just to bad. If you don’t like it. They made the guide lines. ” restrictions”. Now as long as their with in their guide lines they can do what they want.

      • MauiShadow

        What’s your point? You’re happy they can continue to poison us, just because it’s within the guidelines? You do realize that we all have to breathe the same air right? Next time they’re spraying why don’t you take a nice jog through the fields… remember to breathe deep.

    • Brenda Diederich

      Wow. You have no idea what you are talking about. GM fields are far safer than organic fields that spray their unregulated chemicals….numerous times.

      • MauiShadow

        I have no idea what I’m talking about? Name just one “unregulated chemical” that is sprayed on an organic farm… just one. You are so woefully ignorant, it’s amazing you’ve been able to live this long. Certified Organic farms are certified specifically BECAUSE THEY ARE THE MOST REGULATED FORM OF AGRICULTURE!!! Keep breathing in all that round-up, it’s doing wonders for your IQ. Moron.

  • michael

    how disappointing that Carol Reinmann sold out to Monsanto. I used to have much respect for her when she was at MHLA.. I thought she had ethics, but to think she would stoop so low to work for Monsanto, with their despicable record? How sad. :-((

    • Hoonani

      I’ve known Carol for many, many years, and she is an intelligent, awesome human being who cares a lot about this island and our community. Did you read her op-ed? She took the time to learn about Monsanto before accepting the position, because she wanted to make a positive difference. To diss her just because she openly chose to work for a company you don’t like is shallow and narrow-minded.

      • michael

        What tripe. How do you make a positive difference working for a corrupt organized crime syndicate? People hate Monsanto. The World hates Monsanto. What kind of person devotes their services to a company who places profits ahead of the wellbeing of our planet? One that does not have compassion or ethics, that’s for sure…. In this day and age we need to heal the world. Corporations are BAD and are the reason the world is suffering. How’s the money Carol? Was it worth it? No honey for you, you need to learn how to respect those bees.

      • dorothy

        i recall she was an advocate for HC&S which is a bit hypocritical when her role at MHLA was supposed to be looking after the best interests of the hotels and indirectly the tourists. HC&S is still fouling up the air quality enough to make tourists complain and not return.

  • FederalReserve Brown

    Alan Monsanto Arakawa has been a snake for Monsanto & always will be… greed beyond all comprehension is this disgusting mans creed…. he is a 1 man environmental disaster and Monsanto biggest gift….. he is a RAT and your kids are in DANGER from his behavoir.

  • John R. Hall

    Maui and Kauai need new mayors. When is the next election?

    • go away

      Then run for the seat. Or run to the airport and go elsewhere.

    • PaiaGirl

      What we need is a “City Manager” which will require a charter amendment. In many areas the City or County Council hires a professional manager with training and experience in MANAGING.

      If we had a professional, maybe we wouldn’t have a Director of Planning who is a scofflaw. Maybe decisions wouldn’t be made with an eye to popularity and appeasing developers so there will be lots of donations for the next mayoral election.

  • AustinObserver

    There is no “Responsible use of restricted use pesticides,” they kill the soil, aina, and reefs. You been hoodwinked, Mayor Arakawa.

  • Hillary Palmer

    The best solution for Hawaii residents is to kick Monsanto out of Hawaii and take their chemicals with them cause they’re killing us!


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