January 17, 2018

Coalition Files Papers in Honolulu Court to Defend GE Initiative

A coalition of Maui and Moloka’i residents, farmers, and advocacy groups, represented by Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice, filed papers Friday in Honolulu federal district court to defend the County of Maui’s GMO crop safety initiative. That initiative won in the November elections, despite massive spending by huge corporations opposed to it. A legal challenge was almost immediately filed by those multinational chemical companies. Hawaii is being used an an outdoor lab for companies like Monsanto to test GE and GMO crops and the pesticides used on them.

GavelThe ballot initiative prohibits the “growth, testing, or cultivation of GE crops in Maui County until an environmental and public health study can show that the planning operations are safe for the community.” Nine days after the election, Monsanto and Dow sued Maui County, seeking to have the moratorium thrown out. Unfortunately, Maui County immediately agreed to an injunction against the initiative until March 2015.

George Kimbrell, senior attorney for Center for Food Safety said in a statement, “like the residents of Kaua’i county and Hawai’i counties before them, the people of Maui County decided they would no longer sit idly by as the State of Hawaii becomes a poisoned paradise of intensive genetically engineered crop production and its intertwined pesticide spraying. These chemical companies are again trying to trump the democratic process, and again, we stand by the communities and will vigorously defend the law.”

The opposition spend $7,970,686.12 on the race, or $362.22 per vote earned. Earthjustice managing attorney Paul Achitoff commented, “Maui County’s betrayal of its own people by agreeing to delay the moratorium without a whimper of resistance provides it cannot be trusted to properly defend our clients’ interests. The people of Maui, Moloka’i, and Lana’i have spoken, in the face of enormous industry pressure: They want the spraying and growing to stop until the impacts are properly studied.”

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