You read that headline right. The SHAKA Movement, along with five Maui GMO Initiative proponents, is suing the County of Maui, Monsanto and Dow Agrosciences over… something. Seriously, I have no idea.
See, this makes no sense because the pro-GMO Initiative forces won the election. That means the Initiative, which halts the growing of genetically engineered crops in Maui County until health studies are done on GMO foods, will soon become law. Usually, the people who win these elections (like the pro-GMO Initiative crew) bask in the glory of their victory and wait for the losing side (Monsanto, et al) to file suit to get the law overturned.
Which Monsanto has said they’ll do. But they haven’t done it yet.
So instead of waiting for Monsanto or whoever to sue to overturn the initiative (which won’t until the state Elections Office certifies the 2014 election results), SHAKA and other pro-initiative individuals decided to just go ahead and sue the county (which is legally bound to defend the initiative in court against legal challenges).
Here’s how Honolulu Civil Beat, which just broke the story, put it:
“Maui County residents Dr. Lorrin Pang, Mark Sheehan, Lei’ohu Ryder, Bonnie Marsh and Alika Atay have filed a lawsuit against the county, Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences seeking more influence on how the law is implemented and aiming to resolve the issue of whether the law is enforceable.
“The organization behind the moratorium, called the SHAKA Movement, is also a plaintiff in the case.”
If that still doesn’t make sense to you, here’s what the plaintiffs are seeking, taken directly from the lawsuit, which was filed today in Second Circuit Court (and posted on the Civil Beat site):
“Plaintiffs are entitled to a declaratory judgment that:
“A. The County is obligated to proceed forward to properly and timely implement the GMO Bill; such measures should include, but not be limited to, the following: (1) allocate adequate funding necessary to support all aspects of the GMO Bill; and (2) set up administrative rules and procedures necessary to execute the language of the GMO Bill.
“B. The County shall provide regular updates to the community concerning the progress and concrete steps the County is taking to implement the GMO Bill;
“C. Plaintiffs shall be permitted to assist and participate in the County’s implementation of the GMO Bill, and the County shall consult with Plaintiffs with respect to the GMO Bill’s implementation; and
“D. Such other declaratory relief as the Court deems just and proper.”
I reiterate: SHAKA and other pro-GMO Initiative individuals are suing the County of Maui to force them to defend them in court (which they’ve already promised to do) against a lawsuit or lawsuits that haven’t even been filed yet.
For their part, County officials had no comment.
“We just found out about this when the media called this afternoon,” County Communications Director Rod Antone told me. “We haven’t even been served yet.”
Photo of seed corn in Kihei: Forest and Kim Starr/Wikimedia Commons