UPDATE: SHAKA Calls on County to Defend GMO Law
By Maui Now Staff
Members of the SHAKA Movement (Sustainable Hawaiian Agriculture for the Keiki and the ‘Āina) are expressing outrage at a recent Maui County decision to take “no position” on defending the moratorium on GMO cultivation in Maui County.
SHAKA’s legal counsel said in a statement issued Feb. 4: “The county’s latest actions to take “no position” in the case further frustrates the will of Maui voters and is directly contrary to the county’s duties under the Constitution. It is time for the county to step forward and defend the law that Maui voters demanded and override the interests of big corporate interests led by Monsanto.”
The statement also expressed outrage at the county’s justification of its decision to stand aside in order to allow SHAKA to defend the GMO law.
“To correct the record, SHAKA in no way wanted or encouraged the county to stand aside in the federal lawsuit. To the contrary, SHAKA has encouraged and invited the county to defend the Ordinance as it is obligated to honor the wishes of Maui voters.”
Maui County announced its position in a court filing on Friday, Jan. 30, addressing the lawsuit brought by Monstanto, Dow AgroSciences, and several Maui County businesses and organizations taking a stand against the GMO law.
Residents concerned with the potential health risks of expanding GMO fields and associated pesticide use upwind from local homes and schools helped to gather 9,062 signatures in the citizens’ initiative that passed in November. The moratorium was approved by over 23,000 voters in the Nov. 2014 election.
The resulting bill institutes the strongest local GMO restrictions in the nation, temporarily banning all genetically modified crop production and experimentation until studies prove they are safe for cultivation.
SHAKA and its legal team will be speaking about the lawsuit together with the Center for Food Safety during a meeting at the University of Hawai‘i Maui College campus on Feb. 5, 2015 at 6 p.m. The public is invited to hear about the status of the lawsuit and SHAKA’s efforts to enforce the GMO moratorium.