Maui seed companies say moratorium could kill jobs

Maui seed companies say moratorium could kill jobs

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) - Two Maui County seed companies say more than 500 jobs and millions of tax dollars could be lost if a moratorium on the cultivation of genetically engineered organisms passes.

The Maui News ( reports Monsanto has 540 employees on Maui and Molokai. Its county tax bill was $3.5 million last year. Dow AgroSciences affiliate Mycogen Seeds employs more than 90 people on Molokai.

A proposed ballot initiative calls for the suspension of all "genetically engineered operations and practices" in Maui County until companies prove the activity is safe.

The county council has until Aug. 5 to adopt the proposal. The initiative will appear on the Nov. 4 general election ballot if the council doesn't adopt it.

Monsanto government affairs manager Carol Reimann says a ban could devastate the company's operations.

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