The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Fight Continues Over Moratorium of GMO Crops on Hawaii’s Big Island
The battle to protect Hawaii’s Big Island from genetically engineered (GE) crops continues.
Hawaii has become ground zero for the battle over GMOs. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
On Aug. 1 Center for Food Safety (CFS), Earthjustice and local farmers filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit to defend the County of Hawaii’s Ordinance 13-121, which places a moratorium on expanding GE crops on the Big Island and regulates the organisms to prevent harm from associated pesticide use and the contamination of non-GE crops.
“Hawaii County, like every county, has the right to protect its farmers and native environments from genetically engineered crops,” said George Kimbrell, CFS senior attorney. “Having GE-free zones is critical for the sustainable future of U.S. agriculture, and to protect Hawaii’s unique ecosystems.”
The lawsuit is driven largely by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the trade association representing companies like Monsanto. It aims to open up the island for expansion of GE crop production by rolling back the 2013 ordinance. Due to Hawaii’s climate, it has become a world center for experimental GE seed production.
“Hawaii is one of the most biologically diverse, as well as spectacularly beautiful, places in the world, but the chemical companies have been turning the islands into experimental laboratories, unleashing a fountain of pesticides and genetically engineered material into the air, land and waters,” said Paul Achitoff, Earthjustice managing attorney based in Honolulu. “We stand with the people of Hawaii Island who are trying to protect their island from being transformed into another toxic waste dump.”
The Big Island is not the only Hawaiian island facing such legal battles. Kaua’i was sued by three big agrochemical companies in January to block Kaua’i County’s genetically modified organism (GMO) regulatory law. Hawaii has become ground zero for the battle over GMOs, with growing grassroots opposition to the five big biotech companies expanding their operations there: Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont, Dow Agrochemicals and BASF.
“In Hawaii, we believe that our seeds, crops, and foods should remain free of contamination from genetically engineered plants,” said Big Island farmer and agricultural educator, Nancy Redfeather.
You Might Also Like
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Jessica Taft
Fifteen kids from a dozen countries, including Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, recently brought a formal complaint to the United Nations. They're arguing that climate change violates children's rights as guaranteed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a global agreement.
Susan Vineyard / iStock / Getty Images Plus
By Justin Mikulka
Increasingly, U.S. shale firms appear unable to pay back investors for the money borrowed to fuel the last decade of the fracking boom. In a similar vein, those companies also seem poised to stiff the public on cleanup costs for abandoned oil and gas wells once the producers have moved on.
Top officials at the Department of Housing and Urban Development confirmed to lawmakers last week that they knowingly — and illegally — stalled hurricane aid to Puerto Rico.
It appears Jane Fonda is good for her word. The actress and political activist said she would hold demonstrations on Capitol Hill every Friday through January to demand action on the climate crisis. Sure enough, Fonda was arrested for demonstrating a second Friday in a row Oct. 18, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Only this time, her Grace and Frankie co-star Sam Waterston joined her.
Switzerland's two Green parties made historic gains in the country's parliamentary elections Sunday, according to projections based on preliminary results reported by The New York Times.
By Jeff Turrentine
The coal industry is dying. But we can't allow the communities that have been dependent on coal to die along with it.