Lawmakers in Kauai, the oldest of the main Hawaiian Islands, have passed a highly-contentious bill that will force agri-biotech companies to share information about pesticide and GMO crops on the island.

The debate leading to a final “yes” for Bill 2491 has been as heated as the volcanoes that helped form the island of Kauai millions of years ago  – before its passing this week, the bill was preceded by months of protests, debates, and even a veto from the Kauai mayor before the city council finally voted to override the mayor’s veto.

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However, with the bill’s victory, companies that farm conventional crops in Kauai will need to disclose the type and amount of pesticides they spray on crops. In addition, spraying locations will need to be shared, along with buffer zones between GMO crop areas and public places such as parks and schools.

Gary Hooser, a councilman who co-introduced the bill in June of this year, said the push for the bill was about transparency: “At the end of the day all we are asking for is disclosure of pesticides used and locations of GMO fields, not trade secrets or a total ban on GMOs. All we are trying to do is to protect the health of our community.”

Following the recent failure of Washington’s GMO labeling attempt, this news might be a way to encourage others to keep up the fight against GMOs.

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Image Source: grantzprize/Flickr