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6,000 Demand Senate Rescind Monsanto Lobbyist Appointment

On Thursday at 3pm, organizers will deliver a petition asking Senate President Donna Mercado Kim to rescind her appointment of Monsanto Lobbyist, Alan Takemoto, to the Water Commission nominating committee.

The appointment of an employee of the controversial Monsanto corporation angered organizers who point out that Monsanto has been turned down twice for bigger shares of Oahu and Maui water allotments. Organizers are concerned that another pro-Monsanto Water Commissioner could tip the balance of power towards Monsanto next time they ask for a bigger water allotment.

"It is inexplicable that with respected UH professors, literally hundreds of trained geologists and watershed experts, that the Senate would appoint a partisan multinational corporate lobbyist instead," said organizer, Karen Chun.  "Here on Maui we have rationing and our county controls only about 9% of our water with a lion's share being taken by large agricultural corporations like Monsanto. Ag corporations know how to USE water - they are not experts in the skills required to manage and protect water supplies."

Nomi Kaheaonalani Carmona, who will present the petition added, "Our ethics laws need strengthening. It is beyond belief that a corporate representative with a clear agenda of wanting more water would have a voice in who serves on the Water Commission.  What was the Senate thinking?"

The petition is located at

Readers may not be aware that Monsanto and other GMO/AgChem companies have picked Hawai’i for their experiments.  The thinking is that if something goes horribly wrong, the effects will be confined on a small chain of islands 2,400 miles from any continent.

Of course the residents of Hawai’i are not so happy to be the guinea pigs.

Hawai’i has seen a 12% decline in rainfall in the last 20 years and Big Ag (Monsanto and sugar plantations) has siphoned the majority of water at a time when populations are increasing.  This creates water shortages.  Add that to the contamination of many of the Oahu and Maui aquifers from agricultural chemicals (used mostly on pineapple and a lesser extent on sugar) and the water situation is critical.

The state Water Commission, a board appointed by the Governor, controls water allotments.  Just recently Monsanto was turned down in their requests for more water on Maui and Oahu in two separate decisions.  But it was a squeaker. If the two new water commissioners, slated for appointment by a nominating committee containing a Monsanto lobbyist, favor Monsanto, that decision will go the other way in the future.

To put things in perspective, the County of Maui controls only about 9% of the water on the island of Maui – Big Ag controls the rest.

Enter Senator Malama Solomon, Big Island state senator and recipient of thousands of dollars of Monsanto campaign donations.  As chair of the Water and Land committee, the Senate President asked her guidance in appointing a member of the nominating committee.  She choose a Monsanto lobbyist – singing his praises for having “expertise.”

Yeah – expertise in creating agricultural chemicals like those which poisoned a large number of Hawai’i aquifers.  Expertise in taking and using water.  But in watershed management? Hydrology? Geology? Ecology?  Not so much.

Hawai’i imports over 90% of its food despite its ideal growing conditions.  One reason is that both major agricultural corporations grow for export: sugar and GMO seeds.  Putting representatives of these rapacious corporations on the water board is an ethics violation that anyone outside of Hawai’i would instantly recognize.

But in Hawai’i ethics means playing ball with the big land owners.  That’s a subject for a future post, though.

Originally posted to Karen from Maui on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 08:30 AM PST.

Also republished by EcoJustice and Community Spotlight.

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