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Maui seed companies say GMO moratorium could kill jobs

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 02:41 p.m. HST, Jul 01, 2014

WAILUKU >> More than 500 jobs and millions of tax dollars could be lost if a moratorium on the cultivation of genetically engineered organisms passes, two Maui County seed companies say.

Monsanto has 540 employees on Maui and Molokai, The Maui News reported. 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 said a ban could devastate the company's operations and could potentially lead to job losses.

The initiative was spearheaded by the nonprofit SHAKA Movement. SHAKA is an acronym for Sustainable Hawaiian Agriculture for the Keiki and the Aina.

"Are we always willing to trade off our health? Our lives? For low wages now?" said SHAKA official Mark Sheehan in an email.

Sheehan said that the seed companies should find temporary work for their workers if the initiative is passed and studies mandated. If studies show that their crops and chemicals used are harmless, "then no problem."

Opponents of the measure say pesticides used already are heavily regulated and that genetically modified crops have been a part of farming for years.

"The moratorium is making mountains out of molehills," Ken Findeisen of Hawaii Grower Products said at a hearing held by the county council's Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee on Monday.

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eoe wrote:
Monsanto needs to move their operations to a location where there are fewer hippies, trust fund babies, and anti-science nut jobs. Of course these people don't care about 500 jobs - just like they didn't care about the 300 jobs lost in the last "Existential Threat To Humanity In General And The Hawaiian Islands Specifically," also known as the Superferry.
on July 1,2014 | 11:58AM
dontbelieveinmyths wrote:
"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." Really? What about all other food production? Prove they are safe also. How do you do that anyway?
on July 1,2014 | 12:29PM
kiragirl wrote:
Why don't you push for what you believe in and see how many supporters you have?
on July 1,2014 | 01:47PM
islandsun wrote:
The "jobs" scare again.
on July 1,2014 | 01:07PM
honopic wrote:
It's typical of the big chemical companies Monsanto and Dow to threaten the loss of jobs and tax revenue so they can continue making millions from the cultivation of their Frankenfood. Of course, they don't say how many of those 630 jobs on Maui and Molokai are menial, minimum-wage labor, and how many tax breaks they get to keep their total tax bill down. Nor do the say how much is spent on advertising and PR to convince people that GMO's are safe, which they would have to prove if a ballot initiative passes. Why not let the voters of Maui county decide, not be cowered by a Monsanto "government affairs manager." Doesn't that title reek of back-door dealing?
on July 1,2014 | 01:08PM
entrkn wrote:
Monsanto and Dow bullied, intimidated, and destroyed a lot of farmers, seed companies, and people who took exception to their products and practices. Now it's their turn.
on July 1,2014 | 02:17PM
PMINZ wrote:
Monsanto and Dow only care about their bottom line 'The Benjamins!' Not really about the survival of nature.
on July 2,2014 | 03:21AM
Bully wrote:
The seed companies have more money then the counties, they will sue and win.
on July 1,2014 | 02:32PM
st1d wrote:
seed companies have science on their side. they will win in court.
on July 1,2014 | 03:56PM
usahwn wrote:
Can someone explain how genetically modified corn affects human? I was under the impression the corn was bred for uniformity in height,maturity,and sugar content,etc. It is not chemically altered in the field except for normal pest control.
on July 1,2014 | 07:14PM
serious wrote:
usahwn, correct, this debate on GMO is like me watching the World Soccer games--I don't understand the rules. But with 1/2 of Hawaiian population on welfare the only ones who care are the workers and the governments who will lose revenue. It's like the Jones Act, everyone is against it except the few who prosper----and they have the purse strings.
on July 2,2014 | 03:15AM
PMINZ wrote:
GMOs rapidly modify a product when the surrounding Nature is not adapting to accept the rapid changes and Nature will wilt as a result. When the powerful new Poisons (IE "Roundup") are applied the GMOs ignore, But the surrounding plants and animals can and will not quickly adapt to survive. Natural plant changing allows the slow nature adaptations to occur. GMOs are likened to a Disease.
on July 2,2014 | 03:16AM
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