Pesticide Buffer Zones

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A common sense Safeguard for the environment and public health

On August 25, 2014, the federal district court for Hawaiʻi vacated Kauaʻi County’s Ordinance 960, which imposed mandatory disclosure of certain pesticide use and the cultivation of genetically modified crops (GMOs). The law also imposed buffer zones prohibiting the use of certain pesticides within varying distances of neighboring properties. The Court’s ruling is important because it is the first major decision to address a county’s ability to regulate GMO cultivation and pesticide use.

The court vacated the law finding that Hawaiʻi state law preempted the County Ordinance. Syngenta Seeds, Inc. v. Cnty. of Kauai, No. 14-00014 (D. Haw. Aug. 25, 2014). YPDA Hawaiʻi supports legislation at the state level aimed at reinstating these buffer zones across all four counties. In California, 1/4 mile buffer zones around schools were put in place in two of the state's agricultural counties (Tulare and Kern) when local residents documented contamination in school air using PAN’s Drift Catcher.  The communities worked closely with Californians for Pesticide Reform to mount an effective campaign and win the protective buffer zones.

2017 BILLS WE SUPPORT

SB 778 / HB 252: Makes an appropriation to implement the recommendations of the joint fact finding study group's report on pesticide use by large agribusinesses on Kauaʻi. Testify on this measure.

SB 779 / HB 254: Expands the membership of the pesticide advisory committee to include a representative from the DOE, each county mayors' office, a medical expert, and a non-governmental organization scientist. Expands the duties of the pesticide advisory committee to include establishment of state standards for chronicity, recommendation to the legislature of specific changes to the State's pesticide laws and regulations, expansion of the good neighbor program, and establishment of a comprehensive buffer zone policy for the State. Testify on this measure.

HB 790: Establishes disclosure and public notification requirements for outdoor application of pesticides in various sensitive areas or by large-scale, outdoor commercial agricultural operations. Testify on this measure.

HB 1571: Establishes disclosure and public notification requirements for outdoor application of pesticides in various sensitive areas or by large-scale, outdoor commercial agricultural operations. Establishes a pilot program that creates a vegetative buffer zone around five selected schools near a commercial agricultural production area. Testify on this measure.

HB 1282: Prohibits the application of neonicotinoid insecticides and glyphosate herbicides after December 31, 2019, without a license or permit from the state or federal government. Testify on this measure.

Additional Resources 

From Sugar to Monsanto

The Kauaʻi Cocktail

The ghost in the GMO machine