Push to ban in­sec­ti­cide builds at Leg­is­la­ture

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - LOCAL & BUSINESS - By So­phie Cocke scocke@starad­ver­tiser.com Chair­man, House En­ergy and En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Com­mit­tee ———

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.

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