Push to ban insecticide builds at Legislature
Hawaii lawmakers who oversee committees on agriculture and the environment indicated a new resolve last week to ban a commonly used insecticide that could be harming the brains of fetuses and young children, as well as farm workers. The issue arose following a decision by the new chief of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to continue allowing use of the chemical on food crops nationwide. Scott Pruitt, the new head of the EPA under the Trump administration, rejected the scientific recommendation of his own agency on Wednesday that the insecticide chlorpyrifos be banned on all food crops. The staff recommendation came after 10 years of scientific review spurred by a 2007 petition brought by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Pesticide Action Network to ban the product. Earlier this year, Hawaii legislators had introduced a bill that would have banned the insecticide statewide, saying the cause was all the more urgent now that President Donald Trump had assumed office and vowed to roll back environmental regulations. But the House measure failed to advance last month after Rep. Angus McKelvey, the former chairman of the Consumer Protection and Commerce Committee, declined to schedule a hearing on the measure. Agricultural interests had urged state lawmakers to await the EPA ruling. Now that the decision is out, Hawaii lawmakers have indicated a new urgency in moving forward on statewide restrictions. The chemical is widely used on fruits and vegetables, including seed corn, pineapple, melons and other produce grown in Hawaii. It’s also used on golf courses, tree farms,
It is frustrating that we are seeing a rapid rise in corporate influence in the decisions being made by the EPA, the FCC and other federal agencies that undermine the common good to allow a few companies to profit at the expense of the people.” Chris Lee
turf grown for sod and in nurseries, according to the state Department of Agriculture.
“It is frustrating that we are seeing a rapid rise in corporate influence in the decisions being made by the EPA, the FCC and other federal agencies that undermine the common good to allow a few companies to profit at the expense of the people,” said Rep. Chris Lee, chairman of the House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee, who has pushed bills increasing oversight of pesticides.