North Coast Voices: Monsanto spinning so hard that its head faces backwards?

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Monsanto spinning so hard that its head faces backwards?

On 23 July 2008 the Molokai Dispatch published an editorial titled Monsanto Could be its Own Worst Enemy: Using too much water could force the company to downsize.

This editorial pointed out that:

Last November, General Manager of Monsanto Molokai Ray Foster said that the company was sensitive to the island’s water needs and that Monsanto had a water conservation program for times of drought.

Last month however, amidst a 20% water cutbacks mandated by the Molokai Irrigation System (MIS), Monsanto is requesting an increase to its water use. However with water supply levels in the Kualapu`u reservoir over 60 million gallons short of where it was this time last year, many are left wondering where the water will come from?

The MIS was built for the Hawaiian Homesteaders which is why the law reserves two thirds of its water for Hawaiians. As the MIS becomes short on water due to dilapidation and drought, Hawaiian Homesteaders are beginning to feel the pressure.

Non-homestead ag-users like Monsanto currently account for 84% of MIS water consumption. Monsanto itself is using almost twice the amount of water of all 209 homestead users combined.

In a previous article titled Homesteaders Confront MIS:Water scarcity and increasing demands raise concerns the newspaper had reported that:

Water demand continues to increase, while supplies plummet. In one month, the Molokai Irrigation System (MIS) reservoir has dropped 50 million gallons, from 19 feet to 17 feet. Despite the Hawaiian homesteader’s two-thirds right to water, roughly 80 percent of MIS supplies are allocated to non-homesteaders.

If the reservoir drops another two feet, a mandatory 20 percent conservation reduction will be issued to all non-homestead users. An advisory board would consult the DOA, which manages the MIS, on how to handle homesteader restrictions.

In an attempt to bypass this cutback, corn-grower Monsanto has proposed to pay for increased MIS pumping from Waikolo Valley. Presently, the DOA is checking into the viability of this proposal by conducting hydrology reports and assessing permit restrictions.

Randolph Teruya, DOA asset manager said Monsanto has increased its producing acreage and water usage in the past year. He also said the DOA will ask all non-homesteaders for a water conservation plan for the upcoming summer, but the agencies hands are tied because conservation enforcement is a county responsibility.

MIS board member James Boswell motioned for the MIS to send a letter to Monsanto to stop watering with a cannon during the day, where most of the water evaporates in the hot sun and wind. The MIS will request watering be done at night for efficiency and conservation.

In the Monsanto & Co. blog Monsanto According To Monsanto on 8 September 2009 when accusing a recent The Guardian U.K. article of selectively quoting the Molokai Dispatch editorial the company blithely did what it allegedly so abhorred in the post Monsanto a Water Bully? Not So.

Nowhere in this Monsanto spin was there any mention of the biotech corporation’s desire to increase its water consumption in 2008 and the blog’s denial of the existence of a new aquifer is used to deflect from this request to use additional water.

Water which is ultimately sourced from a combination of stream water, spring water and at least one well (sunk into an existing aquifer) within Kalaupapa National Park’s Waikolu Valley.

Nor does the company blog mention that it sought to expand land under production during the prolonged drought and asked the Hawaii Dept of Agriculture to service this land with irrigation access.

A request which was denied by the department in July 2008 according to the newspaper, which also pointed to the fact that Monsanto had yet to implement a water conservation plan at that time.

Might I recommend that Monsanto employees acquaint themselves with an excellent little book Straight and Crooked Thinking by RH Thouless, with special attention to the thirty-eight dishonest tricks which are commonly used in argument.

North Coast Voices: Monsanto spinning so hard that its head faces backwards?

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