Tags: maui | gmo | ban | blocked

Maui's GMO Ban Blocked as Federal Judge Weighs Challenging Lawsuit

By    |   Monday, 17 Nov 2014 09:20 AM

Maui's voter-initiated GMO ban was blocked Friday by a federal magistrate in order to give him more time to evaluate a lawsuit against the measure.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren gave both sides a Dec. 1 deadline to make arguments on a lawsuit filed by Monsanto and others, which challenges the ban on genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, according to KHON2.com.

Earlier this month, Maui narrowly passed the ban in what the Honolulu Civil Beat called one of the most heavily financed political campaigns in state history. The first ballot initiative targeting global agriculture companies Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences drew nearly $8 million from opponents, the newspaper noted.

Despite the major financial backing, the measure just narrowly passed — 50 percent to 48 percent, a difference of just 1,077 votes.

Kenneth Robbins, an attorney representing Monsanto and groups against the moratorium, told KHON-TV that he will have to show how the law would cause irreparable harm if it goes into effect.

Michael Carroll, an attorney representing people supporting the ballot initiative, said he plans on asking the judge to hold on deciding the federal case until Maui state court can decide on claims filed Wednesday to implement the law.

When the measure was first passed, Ashley Lukens, who heads the Hawaii chapter of the Center for Food Safety, told the Civil Beat that Maui residents became educated about GMOs and got involved in the campaign against them.

"I think that this is a really strong message to the entire agrochemical industry in the state of Hawaii that we are no longer going to sit idly by and watch them expand their operations without the kinds of regulations that ensure the health and safety of people across Hawaii," Lukens told the newspaper.

In an email to supporters, Tom Blackburn-Rodriguez, of Citizens Against the Maui County Ballot Initiative, stood behind efforts to strike down the initiative, claiming to it would harm the island's economy.

"We are deeply concerned for the 600-plus workers and their families, local businesses, farmers and taxpayers that will be negatively impacted by the passage of this scientifically unjustified, deeply flawed and irresponsible proposal," Blackburn-Rodriguez wrote.

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Maui's voter-initiated GMO ban was blocked Friday by a federal magistrate in order to give him more time to evaluate a lawsuit against the measure.
maui, gmo, ban, blocked
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2014-20-17
Monday, 17 Nov 2014 09:20 AM
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