U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren ruled last week that a Hawaii County law that restricts genetically engineered crops is invalid.
Kurren ruled in August to overturn Kauai County’s law on pesticides and modified crops. The Tribune-Herald reported that in both cases, Kurren found lawmakers intended the state to have broad oversight of agricultural issues in Hawaii.
According to the Associated Press, tge Hawaii Floriculture and Nursery Association, Hawaii Papaya Industry Association, Big Island Banana Growers Association, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, Pacific Floral Exchange, Biotechnology Industry Organization and various farmers sued to invalidate the ordinance that went into effect in December banning new cultivation of any genetically modified crops and testing of GMO crops unless in enclosed spaces such as greenhouses. The ordinance allowed for exemptions for papayas.
The law, which was adopted a year ago, banned open-air use and testing of GMO crops with a few exceptions. The law went into effect Dec. 5, 2013.
Although the county disagrees with the preemption argument, no decision has been made if the case will be appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The county has 30 days to decide.