A federal judge has struck down Kauai County’s ordinance requiring more disclosure from biotechnology companies about pesticide use and genetically engineered farming practices. The court ruling is a setback for the growing movement against biotechnology companies in Hawaii, where seed corn is the biggest export crop.
Judge Barry M. Kurren ruled Monday that the Kauai County ordinance known as Bill 2491 or Ordinance 960 unlawfully preempts state law governing pesticide use.
“This decision in no way diminishes the health and environmental concerns of the people of Kauai,” Kurren wrote. “The Court’s ruling simply recognizes that the State of Hawaii has established a comprehensive framework for addressing the application of restricted use pesticides and the planting of GMO crops, which presently precludes local regulation by the County.”
The ruling calls into question the future of anti-GMO regulations in other Hawaii counties. Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi said Hawaii County attorneys are analyzing its applicability to an ongoing case that challenges the Big Island’s ban on any new genetically modified crops. The Big Island passed the ban, which exempts GMO papayas, about a month after the Kauai bill passed.
Meanwhile, Mayor Alan Arakawa of Maui County said that the court decision may be instructive for residents who will vote on a county ballot initiative this fall to ban genetically modified crops.
He said Maui County attorneys are also reviewing Monday’s ruling and that he’ll publish an advisory to Maui residents if they determine that the ballot initiative may be illegal.
Read full original story: What does invalidation of Kauai’s anti-GMO law mean for the rest of Hawaii?