Act 45 (formerly SB3095CD1) contains 6 main components:
1- A ban on the use of the RUP and neurotoxin chlorpyrifos. This ban takes effect immediately however temporary permits will be granted allowing continued use for up to 4 years, at which time no new permits will be issued and no chlorpyrifos will be allowed in the State of Hawaii. The practical expected impact of the ban’s 4 year implementation will be a gradual decline in use, culminating in a complete ban after 4 years. Though several have tried, Hawaii is the first State in the nation to have any type of ban whatsoever.
2- Mandatory statewide reporting of annual RUP use for ALL RUP USERs to the State Department of Agriculture (SDOA) that includes: RUP product used, amount of RUP used, and the date and location of the usage. Every single user of RUP’s in the state of Hawaii will be required to report their usage. This information is subject to HRS Chapter 92 (public records law). Prior to passage of this law, there was no State requirement for any RUP use reporting at all. In the future we will know what was sprayed, how much was sprayed, where it was sprayed and what day it was sprayed.
3- Annual Public Summary Reports of statewide RUP usage by County reporting the types, amounts and area of the applications.
4- A prohibition against using RUP’s within 100 feet of school grounds during school hours (excluding termite fumigation). There were zero buffer zones requirements in place prior to passage of this law.
5- The SDOA will conduct a pesticide drift monitoring study to evaluate pesticide drift at three schools within the State.
6- Approximately $700,000 in general funds are being added to the SDOA annual budget, plus two additional positions. These are intended to support the increased pesticide oversight and the drift monitoring studies. Historically the Department has been grossly underfunded and understaffed.
While many of us who have been working hard on this issue for the past years would have preferred various aspects to be stronger, it is without question that the sum total of the above components represent a strong and meaningful step forward in securing increased health and environmental protections.
The ban on chlorpyrifos alone will have tangible health implications and the statewide reporting provisions have the potential to generate long term, consistent data necessary for those seeking to research the issue to determine specific impacts.
The summary data by County will allow residents the information needed to make a more informed decision as to where they choose to live, work, play or go to school.
Clearly the 100 feet buffer zone around schools is inadequate and must be expanded in the future but it is more than we have in place now, which is zero.
The drift monitoring study if done correctly has the potential to yield much needed data but for its results to be credible will require significant forethought and careful planning. Of course the additional financial and personnel resources provided to the SDOA will be hugely helpful in their efforts to properly manage the use of RUP’s while protecting health and the environment.