Business/In Brief • Aug. 2, 2013

Debate over GMO regs draws crowd

LIHUE – The debate over a bill allowing Kauai County to regulate pesticides and genetically modified crops drew about 600 to the Kauai Veterans Center in Lihue, with hundreds more gathered outside.

The Kauai County Council held the public meeting Wednesday on the bill that would force corporations on Kauai to make public the application of restricted or experimental pesticides, if use exceeds 5 pounds or 15 gallons within a year, KITV reported.

It would also require all GMO fields or storage facilities to be identified by geographic location and tax map key. And, it would establish buffer zones of 500 feet near schools, hospitals, homes, public roadways as well as streams and shorelines.


Energy company gets federal grant

LIHUE – A Hawaii energy company owned by three of the state’s largest landowners has been awarded a $5 million federal grant to develop systems to produce and process biofuels.

The U.S. Department of Energy said Thursday that the award for Hawaii BioEnergy is part of $22 million in investments in projects to develop cheaper algae fuels and make biofuels easier to distribute. Besides Hawaii, grants were awarded in California, Ohio and New Mexico.

The department says Hawaii BioEnergy will use its grant to develop an open pond system to produce algal oil.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said the goal is to make clean energy cost-competitive with gasoline, giving drivers more options.

Hawaii BioEnergy is owned by Kamehameha Schools, Grove Farm Co. and Maui Land & Pineapple Co., which combined own more than 10 percent of the land in Hawaii.