An ordinance meant to regulate the use of pesticides and genetically modified organisms in Kauai has been struck down.
The ordinance required companies to indicate what pesticides are being used and also to create buffer zones near public places like hospitals, schools, and parks. The heart of the problem is the concern for the amount and type of pesticides used on GMO crops.
GMO crops are engineered to better tolerate pesticides and therefore the chemicals are able to be more freely used on crops. There was mixed reaction to the law being knocked down. Agribusiness is happy not to have the new regulations in place but many who are concerned about the use of pesticides are hoping for another shot at further regulating their use.
“These are toxic chemicals, there are no questions about that, and we can debate the legality of it, but people’s health is at stake. The reason this ordinance was passed is the state has not stepped up to protect people as they should’,” says Paul Achitoff, attorney for EarthJustice.
Supporters of the ordinance are looking into appealing the decision. Meanwhile they are urging state lawmakers to act at the state level to further regulate GMO and pesticide use. Agribusinesses feel the right protections are already in place.
"This is a major victory for Hawaii's agricultural industry and for farmers everywhere who use accepted and standard farming practices," says Bennette Misalucha, executive director of the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association.
A public hearing on the proposed pesticide/GMO rules scheduled for Tuesday, August 26, on Kauai has been cancelled due to today's ruling. Supporters of the restrictions vow to continue the fight.