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[genet-news] GMO-FREE REGIONS & REGULATION: Bill banning GMO taro introduced in Maui County (USA)



                                  PART 1


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TITLE:  BILL BANNING GMO TARO INTRODUCED BY COUNCILOR

SOURCE: Maui News, USA

AUTHOR: 

URL:    http://www.mauinews.com/page/content.detail/id/516826.html

DATE:   04.04.2009

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BILL BANNING GMO TARO INTRODUCED BY COUNCILOR

County Council Member Bill Medeiros has introduced a bill banning genetically engineered or modified taro in Maui County.

The proposal received strong support Friday from Native Hawaiians, taro farmers and critics of GMO technology when it was introduced at the regular Maui County Council meeting. It was referred to committee for future discussion.

Proponents of developing genetically modified taro have said research could help the plant resist modern pests and diseases.

But critics said genetic experimentation still hasn?t been proved to be safe, and natural strains of the plant could be contaminated through pollination. They also point out taro?s cultural and spiritual significance to Hawaiians.

?That?s sacred,? said taro farmer Alex Bode. ?Leave our taro alone.?

The environmental issues affecting taro farmers won?t be solved by genetic modification, he added.

?It?s a sacred, perfect food,? said advocate Angie Hoffman. ?It just needs good soil and water.?

She added that there haven?t been enough studies done to show genetic modification is safe.

Maui Nui Botanical Gardens Executive Director Lisa Schattenberg-Raymond said developing genetically modified strains of taro would create a ?Pandora?s box? because farmers couldn?t prevent the new types from cross-pollinating with their pure, traditional varieties.

?Any genetic modification of kalo (taro) is a threat to Native Hawaiian resources,? she said.



                                  PART 2

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TITLE:  MOLOKAI BILLS STAY ACTIVE IN THE HAWAII SENATE AND HOUSE

SOURCE: The Molokai Dispatch, USA

AUTHOR: Sean Aronson

URL:    http://www.themolokaidispatch.com/send/send/3030

DATE:   23.03.2009

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MOLOKAI BILLS STAY ACTIVE IN THE HAWAII SENATE AND HOUSE

There continues to be legislation that will have an impact on Molokai in the Senate and House. Issues that range from GMO?s to fisheries to Molokai Ranch have all seen the light of day in the past few weeks. Here?s a run-down of the action.

GMO?s

There are two separate bills addressing the use of genetically modified organisms, commonly known as GMO?s. One seeks to ban their use, while another hopes to take away the power of the legislative bodies to prohibit their use.

House Bill 1663 would ban the use of GMO?s for taro only. It ?prohibits the development, testing, propagation, release, importation, planting, or growing of genetically modified Hawaiian taro in the State.?

HB 1663 has cleared three readings in the house and was amended to say ?Prohibits certain activities related to genetically modified non-Hawaiian taro?. It is currently before the Energy and Environment Committee (ENE). The ENE was scheduled to have a hearing on HB 1663 last Tuesday.

HB 1226 states that ?no county regulatory action shall ban or otherwise regulate the planting, growing, testing, advertisement, labeling, packaging, handling, transportation, distribution, use, notification of use, certification, or registration of any genetically modified plant organism.?

Last week the Maui County Council voted unanimously to oppose HB 1226.

In supporting HB 1226, officials from the Maui County Farm Bureau, Monsanto Co. and University of Hawaii, Manoa, spoke in favor of GMO crops and the state?s burgeoning biotechnology industry. Genetically modified plants are more resistant to disease, grow more plentiful, have a spotless safety record and provide a much-needed competitive edge to Hawaii agriculture in a global economy, they said.

?GMO crops are safe and well regulated,? said Harold Keyser, UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources county administrator, who said he was speaking on his own behalf. ?The accumulated area planted since 1996 (in 25 countries) now exceeds 2 billion acres, again with a perfect safety record.?

GMO opponents said the science is in its infancy, but Keyser said that wasn?t true, and that 647 published government- and industry-sponsored scientific studies all say genetic modification is safe.

Walter Ritte joined other Molokai residents in criticizing the state bill. They worried about the effects of accidental cross-pollination between conventional and GMO crops.

[...]


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