A Hawaiian law that would have required farmers to register if they grew genetically modified crops was put on hold late last week.
Hilo Circuit Court Judge Greg Nakamura granted a temporary restraining order in favor of John Doe, an unnamed plaintiff, two days after the deadline for farmers to comply with the county’s registration program, the Hawaii Tribune Herald reported.
The restraining order prevents the county from enforcing the registry of GMO crops and disclosing the information it already has received.
Plaintiff lawyers argued that the law would make farmers who grow GMO crops targets for vandalism or commercial espionage. The lawyers are also seeking a preliminary injunction, which is expected to be heard March 24.
Farmers and ag groups opposed to the law are concerned about key information that could be released. Under the law, farmers would be required to provide information such as the tax map keys of their farms, a detailed description of the location of the GMO crops and types of crops grown.
“These are farmers who really fear for their plants, for their farms, and for their livelihoods,” said attorney Margery Bronster, while speaking to the court via telephone.
Bronster said the law “fails to provide criteria for the release of information the farmers provide or means for them to keep it confidential if they believe its release would cause them harm.”