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Monsanto files suit in effort to block Maui’s GMO moratorium

    In this photo taken Sept. 10

Monsanto on Thursday filed suit seeking to delay enforcement of the Maui County voter-approved moratorium on genetically engineered crops and ultimately to have it declared unenforceable.

The lawsuit was filed in Honolulu federal court by the St. Louis, Mo.-based agriculture company, which operates two farms in Maui County, and by local individuals, groups and other businesses including the Maui Farm Bureau and Dow AgroSciences.

“This local referendum interferes with and conflicts with long established state and federal laws that support both the safety and lawful cultivation of GMO plants. For this reason, we believe it is invalid and should never become law,” said John P. Purcell, Monsanto of Hawaii’s vice president of business and technology.

“We are confident in the safety of our products and practices, which have been reviewed and approved by both state and federal agencies in accordance with appropriate regulations that already govern our products,” Purcell said in a statement.

 “We have full confidence in the merits of our legal claims and that a rational outcome will block the referendum from taking effect,” he said.

On Wednesday, supporters of the Maui initiative filed a suit in Maui Circuit Court asking for a ruling on the enforceability on the initiative. The suit by the Shaka Movement and five of its leaders, also seeks to force the county to take “proper measures” to implement the new law, including adopting appropriate rules, obtaining the necessary funding and consulting with the plaintiffs.

This morning, Monsanto issued this statement in response:

“While we are continuing to review the action filed yesterday, it appears this suit is inappropriate for the courts to decide as it seeks remedies that courts cannot provide. It is very likely we will promptly move to dismiss it. The legal validity of the ordinance under existing state and federal laws is the real issue; and that issue will be decided by a federal court in a different suit that actually reviews the merits of the ordinance.”  

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