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UPDATE: Hawai‘i Pesticide Bill Becomes Law

June 13, 2018, 10:34 AM HST (Updated June 14, 2018, 6:40 AM)
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Gov. David Ige signed SB3095 Wednesday, June 13, 2018. PC: Office of the Governor

UPDATE: June 13, 2018, 4:25 p.m.

Gov. David Ige signed SB3095 Wednesday, June 13, 2018, which completely bans the use of pesticides containing the potentially harmful chemical chlorpyrifos starting in 2023. Hawai‘i becomes the first state in the country to prohibit the chemical.

Starting Jan. 1, 2019, users of pesticides containing chlorpyrifos or other restricted use pesticides will be required to report annually to the state Department of Agriculture; will be prohibited from using the chemical within a 100-foot buffer zone around schools during school hours; will be prohibited from applying pesticides with chlorpyrifos without a temporary permit, until 2023 when it will be completely banned.

In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency recommended that chlorpyrifos be banned from all food crops.

The Department of Agriculture has already restricted the use of chlorpyrifos in its proposed pesticides rule, and the use of the chemical has declined drastically.

“Protecting the health and safety of our keiki and residents is one of my top priorities. We must protect our communities from potentially harmful chemicals. At the same time, Hawai‘i’s agriculture industry is extremely important to our state and economy. We will work with the Department of Agriculture, local farmers and the University of Hawai‘i as we seek safe, alternative pest management tools that will support and sustain our agriculture industry for generations to come,” said Gov. Ige.

With the governor’s signature, SB 3095 becomes Act 45.

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ORIGINAL POST, June 13, 2018, 10:34 a.m.

Pesticide photo, Jake Malara.

One of the major accomplishments of the 2018 Hawai‘i Legislative session was the passing of Senate Bill 3095 SD1 HD1 CD1, which restricts pesticide use near schools, prohibits the use of the dangerous pesticide chlorpyrifos, and requires transparency and disclosure for the use of restricted-use pesticides in large quantities.

Gov. David Ige is scheduled to sign the bill into law with several lawmakers attending in support.

House Majority Floor Leader Rep. Dee Morikawa (Niʻihau, Lehua, Kōloa, Waimea) said the bill is a common-sense solution for protecting our children and families from possible negative effects from chemical pesticides and the need for agricultural businesses to use some pesticides on their farms.

“Lawmakers made history by passing the first measure in the nation to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos and to restrict the use of certain pesticides within 100 feet of schools,” said Rep. Morikawa. “In Hawai‘i, children and families come first and this law says that we truly mean it.”

Residents across the state have rallied in opposition to the use of dangerous pesticide, especially near schools. Exposure to pesticides can lead to developmental problems in children, and exposure to the pesticide chlorpyrifos has sent people to the hospital here in Hawai‘i.

Rep. Richard P. Creagan said the pesticide chlorpyrifos has already been banned by many other nations but has not been prohibited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“Becoming the first state to ban chlorpyrifos to protect public health sends a message to our residents that we will protect them and to other states that they need to step up and protect their residents,” said Agriculture Committee Chair Creagan (Naʻālehu, Ocean View, Capt. Cook, Kealakekua, Kailua-Kona). “We cannot stand by and do nothing when the lives of our children are at risk.”

Rep. Chris Lee (Kailua, Waimānalo) said it is critical for residents to know where and when pesticides are being used.

“Without basic information about where and when dangerous pesticides are being sprayed into the air there is no way to confirm which chemicals are causing the illnesses and developmental problems in our communities,” said Rep. Lee. “For more than a decade, pesticide companies have fought against being required to disclose where and when their chemicals are being sprayed, but this bill ensures reporting of restricted pesticide use so any impacts can be determined.”

The law will:

1. Place a prohibition on use of pesticides within 100 feet of a school during instructional hours. “School” is defined as any public or private kindergarten, elementary, or secondary school, excluding home schools and “normal hours” are from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

2. Totally ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos effective Jan. 1, 2019. The Department of Agriculture is authorized to issue exemptions through Dec. 31, 2022 to allow agricultural businesses time to adjust to the ban.

3. Provide a $300,000 appropriation from Pesticides Revolving Fund to effectuate the measure, including expenses for staffing, education and outreach.

4. Provide a $300,000 appropriation from general revenues to develop a pesticide drift monitoring study to evaluate pesticide drift at three schools within the state.

5. Require commercial agricultural entities to regularly report their pesticide use.

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