Sunday, June 23, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Saturday, November 18, 2023
Enviros Call for Rules to Stop Invasive Bugs
By News Release @ 11:00 AM :: 1239 Views

Hawai‘i Needs Rules to Prevent Destructive, Invasive Pests From Spreading Across State, Letter Says

Little Fire Ants, Other Pests Imperil Species, Agriculture

News Release from Center for Biological Diversity, Nov 17, 2023

HONOLULU— Two dozen community organizations today urged Hawai‘i Gov. Josh Green to direct the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture to amend state rules and prevent the spread of destructive invasive species. These species include little fire ants, coconut rhinoceros beetles, hala scale and other pests that could wreak havoc on Hawaiʻi’s food security, environment, cultural practices, economy and quality of life.

The letter sent today is endorsed by the Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club of Hawai‘i, the Conservation Council for Hawai‘i, Kuaʻāina Ulu ʻAuamo, the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement among other groups.

“Our islands are facing a biodiversity crisis and the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture’s foot-dragging in implementing these essential rules only worsens the threat,” said Maxx Phillips, Hawai‘i director and staff attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The department must prioritize preserving our unique ecosystems and native species. It has to recognize that the cost of inaction is far too great for our environment and future generations.”

Despite having the authority, the state Department of Agriculture has never adopted rules to prevent the intra-island sale of plants, soil, compost and other plant and garden products infested with these pests. Such sales may confound community efforts to prevent establishment of these pests, such as the fight to stop the spread of little fire ant across Oʻahu. In one example, an Oʻahu business was recently found to be knowingly selling little fire ant-infested plants.

Proposed rule amendments to require infested commodities to be quarantined and treated before they are moved or sold were approved for a public hearing in February, after their review by the Advisory Committee on Plants and Animals, the Board of Agriculture and the Small Business Regulatory Review Board. Eight months later, a public hearing still hasn’t been held and rules appear no closer to being enacted.

Today’s letter asks Green to end the delay and ensure a public hearing takes place and rule amendments are passed.

“This is not just an environmental issue, or an agriculture or native species one,” said Jonee Peters, executive director of the Conservation Council for Hawaiʻi. “Doctors, teachers, cultural practitioners, businesses — they all understand how much of an impact invasive pests like the little fire ant and coconut rhinoceros can have on nearly every aspect of life in our islands.”

The state Department of Agriculture submitted a proposal for the Nov. 17 Advisory Committee on Plants and Animals meeting to abandon those much-needed rules. Instead, it plans to restart the rulemaking process with a new proposed rule that lacks any mention of the little fire ant, or any provision to prevent the spread of invasive pests through on-island sales. The rulemaking process can take months or even years.

The committee will decide whether to recommend that the new, watered-down rule proposal be moved in lieu of the much stronger protections it had previously reviewed and approved at the beginning of the year.

"The Department of Agriculture needs to pull its head out of the ground, recognize the profound harms that have already been inflicted on farms, families, and ecosystems on Hawai‘i Island, and do its job,” said Wayne Tanaka, director of the Sierra Club of Hawai‘i. “The Plants and Animals Advisory Committee needs to demand that the department pass the full set of rules it reviewed in February — not this half-baked proposal that will frustrate community efforts protect our islands from more invasives.”

Sen. Jarrett Keohokālole expressed his concern about undue industry influences on the department’s decision-making.

“Director Sharon Hurd stated, in writing, that they were not hearing these rules because of objections made by the nursery industry. Such complete deference to private business interests at the expense of our food security, our culture, and our community is deeply frustrating," said Keohokālole.

The coalition called on the public to pressure the state Department of Agriculture to prioritize the protection of Hawaiʻi's fragile ecosystems.

“It’s going to take all of us to have a chance to stop this thing from spreading across Oʻahu, and across the other islands,” said Joe Wat, KEY Project Community Development Coordinator, who has been going door-to-door to detect and eradicate the little fire ant in Kahalu‘u. “It's all-hands-on-deck time, and that includes the governor and his Department of Agriculture.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.


SA: Agriculture Department to move forward with public hearings on invasive-species rules

CB: State Ag Agency On Track For Stricter Control Of Invasive Pests - Honolulu Civil Beat


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together


Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii