Two Maui County seed companies say more than 500 jobs and millions of tax dollars could be lost if a moratorium on the cultivation of genetically engineered organisms passes.
The Maui News reports Monsanto has 540 employees on Maui and Molokai. Its county tax bill was $3.5 million last year. Dow AgroSciences affiliate Mycogen Seeds employs more than 90 people on Molokai.
A proposed ballot initiative calls for the suspension of all "genetically engineered operations and practices" in Maui County until companies prove the activity is safe.
The county council has until Aug. 5 to adopt the proposal. The initiative will appear on the Nov. 4 general election ballot if the council doesn't adopt it.
Monsanto government affairs manager Carol Reimann says a ban could devastate the company's operations.