Hawaii GMO Seed Companies Win Big In Appeals Court Rulings

Monsanto, Syngenta and other seed companies that farm in Hawaii won a significant victory after a federal appeals court ruled that counties can’t regulate pesticides or genetically modified crops.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concluded Friday that Hawaii state pesticide law is comprehensive, and that the Legislature intended it to be “uniform and exclusive of additional, local rules.”

That means county ordinances governing agriculture that were overturned by a federal judge in 2014 and 2015 will not go into effect.

They include Bill 2491 on Kauai, which would have required large companies to disclose what pesticides they apply and where, as well as abide by buffer zones; a law on the Big Island banning new genetically modified crops; and a voter initiative in Maui County that sought to impose a moratorium on genetically engineered farming.

Bennette Misalucha, who leads the local trade group for seed companies, said in a statement that the decision “is good news for local agriculture in Hawaii.”

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By ANITA HOFSCHNEIDER
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