By AUDREY McAVOY
HONOLULU (AP) - A federal judge says the key question before her in lawsuits related to a Maui County ban on the cultivation of genetically modified crops is whether federal and state law trumps county law.
U.S. District Court Chief Judge Susan Oki Mollway said Monday she aims to rule on lawsuits related to the issue by the end of the month.
A lawyer for a citizens group that sponsored a Maui County ballot initiative creating the ban told Mollway the federal and state governments aren't regulating genetically engineered crops.
Michael Carroll says the county thus has the authority to regulate them.
An attorney for Monsanto and other plaintiffs in the lawsuit told Mollway the state and federal governments already regulate the crops and the county doesn't have the authority to do so.