By JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER
HONOLULU (AP) - A federal judge has ruled that Hawaii County can't enforce a law restricting genetically engineered crops because it's pre-empted by state law.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren's order issued Wednesday is similar to his earlier decision invalidating Kauai County's law on pesticides and genetically modified crops.
Hawaii County Corporation Counsel Molly Stebbins says the decision is disappointing but not surprising given the Kauai ruling. She says the county is evaluating whether to appeal.
Attorney Margery Bronster says she's pleased with the ruling. She represents the group that sued to invalidate the Hawaii County law. The group includes Hawaii Floriculture and Nursery Association, Hawaii Papaya Industry Association and Biotechnology Industry Organization.
Kurren is also the magistrate for a similar challenge to Maui County's new law banning cultivation of genetically modified organisms.