To: senkouchi@Capitol.hawaii.gov, Scott.firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Subject: Stop the Drop' of 10+ TONS of RAT POISON on Hawaii's Lehua Island!
Hawai`i State Senator
Ronald D. Kouchi,
Governor of Hawai`i,
Chairman, Hawai`i Department of Agriculture,
If your state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) had its way, approximately 11.5 tons of anticoagulant 'restricted use' pesticide would have been aerially dropped by helicopter on August 8.
This decision by the Hawai`i Department of Agriculture has been delayed, but the FINAL PERMIT for this rat poison drop could be signed very soon.
The proposed drop site for the island and waters of Lehua is 18 miles away from Kauai, and ¾ mile from the island of Ni’ihau where a native Hawaiian subsistence community lives.
FACTS TO KNOW:
1. Lehua is a State Wildlife Sanctuary. DLNR’s proposed aerial drop violates its own stated mission to “protect… Hawaii’s unique and limited natural, cultural and historic resources held in public trust for current and future generations of the people of Hawaii nei, and its visitors…”
2. DLNR has no data or research on the effects of this pesticide on whales and dolphins (called “cetaceans”). Yet, they stated that there would be “no significant impact” to species or the ecosystem in this anticoagulant chemical drop.
3. DLNR is skirting the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Lehua island harbors federally listed, endangered monk seals, green sea turtles and three species of birds, all protected under the ESA. Rare coral systems, manta rays, dolphins, reef fish and seabirds are found in abundance there. All would be exposed to the poison, and all can eat poisoned prey, moving toxicity through the food web.
4. Fishermen, tour boats, and subsistence based Ni’ihauans depend on the pristine nature of Lehua’s waters for their lives. DLNR and other agencies have not made any provisions or funds available for the possibility of great harm that this aerial drop may cause to the environment and to people.
5. DLNR did this same aerial operation on Lehua in 2009 with the same active ingredient. Not only did it fail to kill all the rodents on the island, two whales and a large scale fish die-off followed within days of that operation. DLNR claims that those deaths are “inconclusive.”
6. There have been only 3 aerial large scale drops of anticoagulant in Hawaii, all followed by “inconclusive” deaths of either whales (Lehua and Mokapu island) and feral pigs (Keauhou). In a UH assessment report, the 2009 aerial drop has been described as “experimental.” This would also be the first large-scale drop with a new formulation of the pesticide, which just received its EPA label change approval on June 22, 2017.
7. There is no Lehua-specific research that even shows a level of rodent pressure warranting an aerial drop of 11.5 tons of poison.
8. A FOIA requested document shows that this operation was instigated by a 2011 proposition from a mainland consultant with ties to Bell Labs as the pesticide manufacturer, offering funding for the poison drop in Hawaii.
We respectfully request that you support the Native Hawaiians and other citizens of Kaua`i and deny the Department of Agriculture's permit for the application of any and all 'restricted use' pesticides/rodenticides on or around the Hawaiian island of Lehua Rock. Mahalo nui loa for your kokua.