POSTED: 12 APRIL 2008 - 10:00am HST

Tainted GMO Taro Bill

by Chris Kobayashi on 10 April 2008

First of all, I want to say a big big Mahalo to all those of you who have supported this effort to protect Haloa, protect kalo in Hawaii. Thank you for your testimonies, for personally testifying, for making critical phone calls and for emails and for your thoughts because I know we all are so extremely busy in these days we live in. Things are happening at a rapid rate and we must be alert and always ready. This issue with kalo is connected to and represents every facet of our lives in Hawaii. It is the example of our ability to be sustainable.

As you know, the amended version of SB 958 got "killed" on the House floor on Tuesday. Mele Carrol, chair of the Hawaiian Caucus, was going to do a floor amendment and reintroduce the original 10 year moratorium bill that protected ALL varieties of taro. Mina Morita worked really hard to talk to her fellow representatives for support. House AG chair Clift Tsuji probably knew that his amended bill would not pass, so he took it back and had it recommitted to his committee. In essence, killed the bill, because there is no time to have any further hearings on it.

Our original bill simply asked for a 10 year moratorium on any testing, growing cultivating of ALL varieties of taro in Hawaii.

In order to protect a variety of taro, all taro must be equally treated and protected. Contamination knows no boundaries. A moratorium is a much needed "time out" to be cautious before testing GE taro out in the open fields and introducing them into our taro patches, our water and soils and then people consuming it without knowlege. Once GE taro is released into the environment, there is no turning back. There is no recall or clean up because these are lifeforms that will continue to live and reproduce. And what would they be reproducing or mutating to? But all this science aside, it is even simpler if we as citizens in Hawaii would deeply acknowlege that no one should tamper with kalo, with Haloa and that to do so is disrespectful to a people, a culture who live and breathe as one with Haloa.

The amended bill (the now dead bill):

• provided for a 5 year moratorium on testing, growing cultivating of HAWAIIAN varieties of taro only.

• provided for a 5 year moratorium on importing Hawaiian taro that was Genetically Engineered (GE) outside of the state of Hawaii.

• prohibits the banning or restricting of Genetic Modification of non Hawaiian taro and other non taro plant organism.

• prohibits the banning or restricting of testing, growing planting of any non Hawaiian taro or other non taro plant organism.

• preempts a county ordinance, charter provision, rule, permit condition, or executive or administrative directive or order from banning or otherwise
regulating 1) the GM of any plant organism and 2) planting, growing, testing, advertisement, labeling, packaging, handling, transportation, distribution, use notification of use, certification, or registration of any GM plant organism...."

See also the attached bill fyi. So this bill is clearly not just about taro. They have amended it so that there would be no banning or restricting of testing and growing of ANY GMO plant and that prempts counties regulations. The dark hand of the biotech industry has shown itself as wanting to govern and rule our state. Sadly, our elected legislators as well as many government agencies and research institutions are going with the $.

Thank you all, Eat organic, Plant your own Garden, Know your farmer. There still is good food. We just need to Malama and spread the word about the Good Food.



POSTED: 7 APRIL 2008 - 12:30pm HST

SB 958 kalo amendments are bad
URGENT, call or email to kill the bill NOW

image above: "Taro Field Fighters" by Sid Campbell at

by Chris Kobayashi on 7 April 2008

URGENT - You need to call or email them today as they will likely be hearing this bill tomorrow, Tuesday, April 8.

On April 3, Clift Tsuji and his Agriculture committee (with Speaker Calvin Say sitting in), made the following amendments (below) to SB 958, our 10 year moratorium on any GE research, planting, growing of ANY variety of taro in the state. The votes were 9 in favor of amendments ( Yes -Clift Tsuji, Tom Brower, Jerry Chang, Robert Herkes, Joey Manahan, Ryan Yamane, Kyle Yamashita; Yes with Reservations - Glenn Wakai, Corinne Ching) and 3 against (No-Lyla Berg, Faye Hanohano, Colleen Meyer).

Basically what they did was:

• Grant a 5 year moratorium on only HAWAIIAN varieties.

• Grant a 5 year moratorium on any GE Hawaiian taro that was developed outside of the state of Hawaii.

• PROHIBITS any state statute, rule, permit condition, or executive or administrative directive or order that bans or restricts the (1) genetic modification within the State of any non-Hawaiian taro or other non-taro plant organism; or (2) testing, planting or growing within the State of any genetically modified non-Hawaiian taro or other genetically modified non-taro plant organism. Prohibits county regulation of any genetically modified plant organism. Provides that the Act is not severable. Takes effect of 7-01-08.

You can see that these amendments no longer cover only taro but all other plants. You can see the dark hand of biotech regulating and our legislators are so blind and s----d enough to allow this. What kind of state have we come to. And to prevent county home rule?!! I have been told that Monsanto is so deep in the legislative regulation that they now have bills like this passed in 16 states!! Are we going to let biotech companies rule our state and counties? It is time for all of us to act and voice what we know is wrong and right.

This bill needs to be killed. And everyone needs to call all the reps and senators and let them know AOLE! NO!

You can also email all of them at

se alsoe:
Island Breath: Save the Kalo - SB958 4/4/08
Island Breath: Is the enemy of taro desease 3/20/08
Island Breath: Kalo - The staple Food
Island Breath: Taro reseach protested 8/15/07
Island Breath: The Kalo Crisis on Kauai 8/3/05
Island Breath: Backyard Taro Growing 5/24/05