Thank you Mayor Billy Kenoi for signing Bill 113. Together we can, and today together we did, take an important step towards preserving and protecting our precious island — malama aina.

And as we share a common destiny, thanks to all who participated in this important island-wide conversation — regardless of the position taken.

These past six months, by way of the Bill 113 council legislation, we together took a big step towards sculpting our island’s future.

We are clearly moving in the direction of environmentally sensitive community-based farming with respect for the health of our soil and with respect for our watersheds and coastal waters, in a way that is pono and respectful of each other.

Our federal and state government officials have been lax. In 1992 our federal government established the absurd agricultural policy that GMO foods and crops are “substantially equivalent” to the corresponding non-GMO crops.

The result was no requirement of any pre-market health studies for GMO crops and foods.

Likewise there has been no requirement to assess the adverse impacts of the cultivation of GMOs on the health of neighboring property owners and on the health of our people especially those most vulnerable — the keiki now and those of future generations.

And to date our state legislators have followed the lead of their federal counterparts, and have not regulated these ag-chemical GMO corporations.

And instead our state government has catered to these seemingly all-powerful multinational corporations.

For this reason the last defense here and around the country, has been that of municipalities and counties taking a stand, based on the precautionary principle, to protect their people and their lands from becoming just one more GMO industry dominated location.

For these reasons our state legislators should take heed of the Kauai and Hawaii county legislation addressing the cultivation of GMO crops and related toxic pesticides.

Rather than seeking to undermine these neighbor island efforts, our state should set an example by embracing the wisdom and farsightedness of these efforts.

About the author: Margaret Wille is a Hawaii County Councilwoman for Council District 9, which consists of North and South Kohala.

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