Maui Business

Temporary Injunction Granted in Monsanto Lawsuit Challenging GMO Initiative

November 15, 2014, 2:05 PM HST
* Updated November 19, 8:15 AM
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Monsanto rally on Molokaʻi, April 3, 2014. Courtesy image.

Monsanto rally on Molokaʻi, April 3, 2014. Courtesy image.

By Wendy Osher

A federal judge granted a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit filed by Monsanto Hawaiʻi against the County of Maui, preventing the recently passed GMO initiative from taking effect until the court considers its legal merits further, company representatives said.

According to company representatives, the opinion also postpones “the significant negative consequences this initiative, if enacted, would have on our employees, the local economy, Hawaiʻi agriculture and business in Maui County.”

“As a longtime community member, we are proud of our operations and of our contributions to the islands. We are also consumers who are committed to developing products that contribute to safe and nutritious food choices for everyone – including our own families, neighbors and friends,” a company spokesperson said in an email communication.

“We’d like folks to know that we’ve heard the concerns some people have about GMOs and our farming practices, and we’re here to answer them. Our commitment to ongoing dialogue with our neighbors continues as we work within the federal court to overturn this flawed initiative,” a company representative said.

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Monsanto Hawaiʻi joined other individuals, groups and businesses including the Maui Farm Bureau and Dow AgroSciences in filing the lawsuit earlier this week to challenge the measure that would place a moratorium on GMO cultivation in Maui County.

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Company executives say the suit seeks to delay any enforcement of the measure and ultimately to have it declared unenforceable.

The lawsuit come on the heels of a newly passed referendum approved by Maui voters during the Nov. 4 general election that calls for environmental and public health impact studies, public hearings, and a two-thirds vote and a determination by the Maui County Council that operations meet standards.  The initiative also calls for the establishment of criminal and civil penalties to be adopted and established for the County of Maui.

The lawsuit also came a day after proponents of the measure filed a lawsuit of their own to assure transparency and proper implementation of the newly passed initiative.

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