Battle over GMO moratorium heads to court after Monsanto, others - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Battle over GMO moratorium heads to court after Monsanto, others file lawsuit

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Round two of Maui County's GMO battle heads to court.

Monsanto, Dow AgriSciences and the Maui Farm Bureau filed a legal challenge in Federal Court to the GMO moratorium approved by voters.

The measure halts GMO seed production and pesticide tests until scientific studies are conducted on their safety.

Despite an eight million dollar ad campaign against the moratorium, the Shaka movement rallied enough yes votes to temporarily suspend open air pesticide testing and GMO seed production.

Monsanto's VP of Business and Technology in Hawaii said in a statement, "This local referendum interferes with and conflicts with long established state and federal laws that support both the safety and lawful cultivation of GMO plants. For this reason, we believe it is invalid and should never become law." 

We asked Dr. Lorrin Pang, one of the Shaka Movement founders about the legal challenge. Pang responded, "When it goes to a vote, there's a general acceptance that when it wins, it wins. If you're going to sue, I guess you should have sued before it went to a vote."

The authors of the moratorium sued the county yesterday in State Court, to ensure the county implements the law after election results are certified.

This case has been assigned to Judge Barry Kurren, no stranger to the GMO debate. In August, Kurren ruled that a Kauai County law regulating genetically modified crops was invalid, because it was trumped by State law.

Monsanto likes its chances, saying "We have full confidence in the merits of our legal claims and that a rational outcome will block the referendum from taking effect."

The Shaka Movement says the people have spoken and call this a frivolous lawsuit. However, they fear a long legal battle against companies with deep pockets.

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