When a hyper-controversial measure like Maui’s GMO Initiative passes by a hair (50.2 percent to 47.9 percent), you can expect immediate litigation. But three lawsuits? Sure, why not.
First out of the gate was the suit filed by the SHAKA Movement–the initiative’s backers–against the County of Maui (apparently to secure a seat at the table to implement and defend the initiative) as well as Monsanto and Dow (possibly because they threatened to sue to overturn the initiative, but who knows) in Maui’s Second Circuit Court. Next, Monsanto and a few other entities filed a suit in U.S. District Court to overturn the initiative. That second suit led to Judge Barry Kurren imposing a temporary injunction against the initiative that’s good until March (Kurren previously invalidated a measure on Kauai that regulated GMOs and is hearing arguments on another GMO measure on the Big Island).
And now we have a third suit, filed on Nov. 21 in U.S. District Court by Earthjustice and the Center for Food Safety. That suit, according to a Nov. 21 Center for Food Safety press release, is “to defend the County of Maui’s recently passed genetically engineered (GE) crop safety initiative from a legal challenge by multinational chemical companies.”
“Maui County’s betrayal of its own people by agreeing to delay the moratorium without a whimper of resistance proves it cannot be trusted to properly defend our clients’ interests,” said Earthjustice managing attorney Paul Achitoff in the news release. “The people of Maui, Moloka’i, and Lana’i have spoken, in the face of enormous industry pressure: They want the spraying and growing to stop until the impacts are properly studied. Since Maui County won’t defend the law, we’ll have to do its job and make the arguments in court.”
For the record, the GMO Initiative lost in every Molokai and Lanai precinct. But who says we have to let that get in the way of a good lawsuit?
Photo of Prince Kuhio Federal Building in Honolulu: W Nowicki/Wikimedia Commons