Testimony on SB586HD2 relating to exempting gmo and large agribusiness infrastructure – Oops! Must have been a freudian slip…the actual title is Relating to Agricultural Building Permits

This measure SB586HD2 is scheduled for today Thursday April 18th. I am supporting the HD1 because it allows the Counties discretion to exempt only small structures on small farms.

Aloha Conference Committee Members and Legislators,

I respectfully ask you to look closely at SB586HD2 that exempts agricultural structures regardless of the nature of their purpose or their location, from complying with County building codes and permits.

Yes, this measure is framed around helping small farmers install green houses, shade house, small sheds and indigenous Hawaiian Hale “which by their nature or location pose little risk to life or property”.

In reality though, SB586HD2 mandates that the Counties extend the exemption from building codes and permits to an extremely wide array of improvements that will include pesticide storage and delivery systems, facilities that house experimental genetically modified organisms and other large industrial agricultural infrastructure. These exemptions are broad based and translate to mean that multimillion dollar agrochemical corporations will not only be exempted from obtaining building permits, but will not even be required to comply with County building codes.

While existing language states “storage of hazardous materials shall comply with any and all applicable statutes, regulations, and codes” – It is unclear whether this means “all other codes and statutes except County building codes and permits”.

In addition, this provision does not apply to the storage or deliver systems of pesticides, nor does it apply to experimental genetically modified organisms or imported non-native species of algae, fish or other marine species that may be involved in aquaculture activities. Structures and infrastructure serving these operations would be exempt from County building permits and code, regardless of the nature or location of their operations.

SB586HD2 does not provide any discretion whatsoever to the Counties. So whether or not a proposed structure will pose a risk to life or property – it does not matter as the structure will be exempt without any oversight that would normally occur via the County building permit process.

Please review closely SB586HD2 and consider adopting the HD1 instead. The HD1 supports the intent and directs the Counties to adopt an exemption list, but allows the counties discretion in determining what type of structures are to be included and in fact unlike the HD2 does allow the Counties to craft specific exemptions so they will protect “life and property”.

In conclusion, I must formally object to the lack of public notice given by the House CPC Committee on 4/3/2013. The record indicates that after deferring the measure on 4/01/13 SB586HD1 was scheduled for re-consideration of decision making at 2:15pm on 4/3/13. I am signed up for the online “automatic hearing notifications” and received my electronic notification only minutes prior to the 2:15pm meeting. It is my understanding that this lack public notice does not meet the State of Hawaii constitutional requirement for public decision making by a legislative body.

Gary Hooser

Councilmember – Kauai County


About garyhooser

This blog represents my thoughts as an individual person and does not represent the official position of any organization I may be affiliated with. I presently serve as volunteer President of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (H.A.P.A.) www.hapahi.org I am the former Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. In another past life, I was an elected member of the Kauai County Council, a Hawaii State Senator, and Majority Leader, and the Director of Environmental Quality Control for the State of Hawaii - in an even earlier incarnation I was an entrepreneur and small business owner. Yes, I am one of the luckiest guys on the planet. Please visit my website AND sign up for my newsletter (unlike any email newsletter you have ever gotten, of that I am sure) - http://www.garyhooser.com/#four “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We’re afraid.” “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We will fall!” “Come to the edge.” And they came. And he pushed them. And they flew. - Christopher Logue (b.1926)
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1 Response to Testimony on SB586HD2 relating to exempting gmo and large agribusiness infrastructure – Oops! Must have been a freudian slip…the actual title is Relating to Agricultural Building Permits

  1. elaine says:

    That was a good piece of testimony, Gary Hooser.

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