Pulling Back The Curtain: Jury verdict unanimous, DuPont Pioneer guilty of harming Waimea Kauai residents
It has taken years for Waimea residents to finally hold DuPont Pioneer accountable and it is still not over. However yesterday a jury in Honolulu unanimously ruled that this company must pay for the damages caused by their irresponsible actions.
According to the Honolulu Star Advertiser story which is behind a paywall: http://tinyurl.com/p2r9oqt
You can also find the story here for free: http://tinyurl.com/nlsbpr7
“The verdict said DuPont Pioneer failed to follow generally accepted agricultural and management practices from Dec. 13, 2009, to Dec. 31, 2011, and that the “seriousness of the harm to each plaintiff outweighs the public benefit of Pioneer’s farming operation.” ”
The court action focused on property damage caused by the vast amounts of pesticide laden dust that has blown on to these homes and residents for years.
However, if the dust is bad enough to cause property damage then it surely must be causing damage also to health and environment.
To be clear, this lawsuit is unrelated to the Syngenta led suit against the County of Kauai now under appeal. The existence of the DuPont Pioneer lawsuit was early evidence that when combined with many other factors, precipitated the introduction of Bill 2491 and the attempt to regulate this industry on Kauai.
Credit for victory goes entirely to the perseverance of Waimea Town residents.
The façade presented through the “Good Neighbor” persona created by the community relations and media guru’s of these companies is quickly evaporating.
No amount of money or industry PR can erase the fact that a unanimous jury decision found them guilty of harm.
The curtain is being drawn back for the whole world to now see the hypocrisy of DuPont Pioneer calling themselves a “good neighbor” while continuing to cause damage to local residents for years after the initial complaints were filed.
Meanwhile another self proclaimed “good neighbor” Syngenta continues to use and sell highly toxic Restricted Use Pesticides on Kauai and through-out Hawaii (atrazine, paraquat and 4 others) that are illegal to use in their own country.
What kind of good neighbor uses toxic pesticides by the ton in their neighbor’s yard but yet uses zero of these chemicals in their own yard back home in Switzerland because their laws will not allow it (all the while telling you how safe it is)? Syngenta will deny and obfuscate this fact. But if you have doubts, read this recent New York Times article http://tinyurl.com/m4qkma6 about how Syngenta misrepresents the truth with regards to the use of atrazine in their own country.
What kind of good neighbors sue their local government for merely requiring modest disclosure and basic buffer zones around schools, hospitals and homes?
It will be interesting to see how the industry spins this one.
These companies are harming our community. They consistently misrepresent themselves, the nature of their actions and the negative impact of their actions on our health, environment and yes on our property as well.
Community members who live near the fields and have to deal with these companies up close and personal know this. Those of us who have been involved in this battle for the past few years know it as well.
I am increasingly hopeful that more and more residents of Kauai and all Hawaii will begin to see and understand the nature and urgency of our efforts and join with us in demanding accountability.
Mahalo to those residents and community leaders who have persevered and are responsible for this win. Auwe to those government and industry leaders who have failed in their duties to support these good people.
Note: On April 28th, in the city of Basel Switzerland, I attended and spoke at the annual shareholders meeting of the transnational corporation and chemical giant, Syngenta. Detailed account of trip is on the Hooser Blog http://tinyurl.com/m67khzk
2 minutes and 45 second video of the FIRST part of my remarks to the Syngenta shareholders: http://tinyurl.com/m77votm
1 minute and 33 second SECOND segment as security attempts to prevent the recording: http://tinyurl.com/muz6p8y
A 4 minute video of history of movement in Hawaii: https://vimeo.com/125756488
If you are not familiar with my background or with the background concerning Bill 2491 and Kauai’s battle against the 4 largest chemical companies in the world, you might find this video interesting and informative. Please skip the first 3 minutes of the introduction if you like: http://tinyurl.com/qff9tlr