GENET archive


6-Regulation: Hawaii bill on 10 year moratorium on GE taro and coffee advances in legislation process

                                 PART I
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TITLE:  Hawaii Senate Lawmakers Advance Limits on Genetic Modification
SOURCE: Associated Press, by Tara Godvon
DATE:   02 MAr 2006

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Hawaii Senate Lawmakers Advance Limits on Genetic Modification Research

HONOLULU (AP) - State senators have advanced two bills putting limits on
the genetic modification of taro and coffee, crops that are key to
Hawaii's identity. The bills that passed out of a dual committee meeting
Wednesday would ban until 2011 the field testing of strains of both
plants that have been engineered or spliced with the genes of other
organisms. The modified plants could, however, be grown in greenhouses.
The taro bill also would place a five-year ban on genetically modifying
Hawaiian varieties of the plant, whose roots are made into poi, one of
the state's best-known foods. In Hawaiian folklore, taro is considered
to be a sacred ancestor of Native Hawaiians, linking them to island
soil. Coffee, particularly from the Big Island's Kona region, is a point
of pride for the islands, which are home to the only U.S. commercial
coffee plantations. The original bills called for a decade-long
moratorium on raising and testing genetically modified varieties of both
plants. Amended versions now head to the full Senate. Last year,
senators tabled a group of measures seeking to address farmers' fears of
potential crop contamination by the pollen of genetically modified
varieties. Nancy Redfeather, co-director of Hawaii Genetic Engineering
Action Network, said the bills' passage at the committee level was a
positive sign that the Legislature is addressing questions about
genetically modified crops. C.Y. Hu, associate dean and associate
director for research at the University of Hawaii College of Tropical
Agriculture and Human Resources, said the limits would tie researchers
hands in the event a virus strikes island crops. Genetically modified
seeds were credited with saving Hawaii's $14-million-a-year papaya
industry when it was struck by a ruinous virus in the late 1990s. Sen.
Gary Hooser, a Democrat and lead sponsor of the bills, said lawmakers
hoped to allow science to proceed while protecting farmers.

On the Net:
College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources:

                                 PART II
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TITLE:  10-year ban proposed for genetically modified agriculture
SOURCE: KHON2, USA, by Gina Mangieri
DATE:   25 Feb 2006

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10-year ban proposed for genetically modified agriculture

Field testing and growing some genetically modified Hawaii crops could
be banned for 10 years, according to bills making their way through the

Supporters say a moratorium is the only way to protect organic crops
from genetically modified experiments. But opponents of the ban say it
puts coffee and taro in great danger of succumbing to diseases.

Taro is one of Hawaii's oldest crops. But it's at the heart of debate
about modern genetically modified agriculture.

"Any abuse or disturbance to this sacred plant and family member is
nothing short of genocide," said Una Greenaway, an organic coffee grower.

Two state Senate committees vote next week on bills that would ban most
testing and all growth of genetically modified coffee and taro for a
decade. Supporters applaud the protection of authentic crops.

"There are unexpected genetic changes that could occur that could have a
drastic effect upon our health," said bill supporter Apolei Kahai Bargamento.

But opponents say it leaves Hawaii agriculture vulnerable to diseases
genetic modification could counter.

"There are some very nasty coffee diseases out in other places in the
world that are not here," said John Stiles of biotech agriculture
company Integrated Coffee Technologies. "I don't think it's a matter of
them never getting here, I think it's a matter of when they get here and
are we prepared for them?"

Genetic modification is credited with saving Hawaii's papaya industry
from the ringspot virus.

"We believe all farmers should be able to freely choose their preferred
growing methods, which could include using the tools of modern
biotechnology as one way of improving plant varieties," said Adolph Helm
of Dow Agroscience on Molokai.

Regulations already are enforced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
But ban supporters say regulation doesn't give full protection from
cross-pollination, or factors that might not yet be known.

"Nothing less than a moratorium on gm coffee is needed to create a safe
haven for our crop," Greenaway said.

While the bills could help organic farmers, others say it could cripple
Hawaii's biotech industry -- and set the stage for more restrictions.

"This will cast a pall over the development of high-technology
biotechnology jobs in Hawaii," Stiles said. "If it's coffee and taro
today, what'll it be tomorrow?"

The bills' sponsors are leaning toward allowing coffee experimentation
up to the greenhouse level only. Also, they're considering allowing pre-
existing university experiments on taro to continue. No open field tests
on either crop would be allowed under the ban.

                                 PART III
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  SB 2751: Provides a 10-year moratorium on testing, propagating,
        cultivating, growing, and raising genetically engineered coffee
        and taro
SOURCE: Hawaii Legislation, USA
DATE:   accessed on 02 Mar 2006

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for related bills go to:
Provides a 10-year moratorium on testing, propagating, cultivating,
growing, and raising genetically engineered taro.
Provides a 10-year moratorium on testing, propagating, cultivating,
growing, and raising genetically engineered coffee and taro.

to read more about the introduced bills dealing with GMOs in Hawai' go to:
and search the current bill and resolution texts for "genetically"

Report Title:
Genetically Modified Organisms; Coffee and Taro; Moratorium

Provides a 10-year moratorium on testing, propagating, cultivating,
growing, and raising genetically engineered coffee and taro.

S.B. NO.

relating to genetically modified organisms.


SECTION 1. Growth in genetically engineered agricultural production has
been swift and pervasive throughout the nation. The quick acceptance of
the new technology, however, may pose serious consequences for the
health and safety of our citizens. Further, because of an exchange of
genetic material between genetically modified crops and conventional
crops, wild plants, and organisms is known to occur, genetically
modified material and any adverse characteristics it confers or promotes
could be irreversibly dispersed into the wider environment.

In Hawaii, the coffee and taro-growing industry are both widely known
around the world and deeply imbedded in our culture. The legislature
finds that commercially experimenting with the genetic engineering of
these two crops without examining and evaluating the adverse effects of
this process is careless and may have far-reaching, irreversible, and
unintended consequences.

The purpose of this Act is to create a ten-year moratorium on testing,
propagating, cultivating, raising, and growing of genetically modified
coffee and taro.

SECTION 2. Chapter 321, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a
new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"321-   Genetically modified organisms; moratorium; coffee and taro. No
genetically modified coffee or taro shall be tested, propagated,
cultivated, raised, or grown in the State.

As used in this Act:

"Genetically modified" means alterations to a life form or its living
progeny at the nucleic acid level, using the techniques collectively
referred to as recombinant DNA technology.

"Recombinant DNA technology" means the transfer of genes, regulatory
sequences, or nucleic acid between hosts by the use of vectors or
laboratory manipulations and include the insertion, excision,
duplication, inactivation, or relocation of specific genes, regulatory
sequences, or sections of nucleic acid. This term does not apply to
material or an organism developed exclusively through traditional
methods of breeding, hybridization, or nondirected mutagenesis."

SECTION 3. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2006 and be repealed on
June 30, 2016.

European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

Hartmut MEYER (Mr)
news & information

phone....... +49-531-5168746
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