KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – A majority of Democrats participating in the Hawaii County party convention in Kona on Saturday want to see government put an end to the spraying of the glyphosate herbicide, also known as Roundup, in public places.
The Big Island Democrats voted in support of a party resolution that will “encourage elected public officials to pass legislation prohibiting the use of toxic herbicides such as glyphosate for spraying on public property.” The resolution has no lawful power, unless it gets carried forward as a proposed ordinance by elected officials.
County councilwoman Margaret Wille, who has taken an oppositional position towards GMO crops and pesticide use in the past, served as chair during the voting session. The resolution was introduced by North Kohala resident Lisa Andrews and began as a ban on spraying roundup along public roadways. The resolution was amended to include other public places like parks.
Government officials see Roundup as an inexpensive way to control weeds but many residents have growing concerns over the toxicity of the herbicide, which has been debated in recent years. The herbicide is manufactured by the Monsanto agrochemical and biotech company.
The discussion before the vote was often heated, although it may have had more to do with parliamentary confusion than the substance of the resolution. Many of the participating Democrats were new to the convention culture, having been voted in to represent their district precincts under the wave of enthusiasm generated by the March Sanders-Clinton presidential preference poll. A few Democrats voiced concerns about the impacts such a herbicide prohibition would have on current agricultural practices, but they were reminded the resolution only dealt with spraying in public places, not private land.