Agrochemical companies sue to block anti-GMO law in Hawaii

Hawaii gmo ban officialJanuary 11, 2014
By Christopher D’Angelo

Three of the world’s largest agrochemical companies have filed a lawsuit in Hawaii to block a law enacted on the island of Kauai in November to limit the planting of biotech crops and the use of pesticides. DuPont, Syngenta and Agrigenetics Inc, a company affiliated with the Dow AgroSciences unit of Dow Chemical Co, filed suit Friday in U.S. district court in Honolulu. The suit claims the action in Kauai is unconstitutional and seeks an injunction permanently barring enforcement of provisions of the law.

The Kauai law requires large agricultural companies to disclose pesticide use and GMO crop plantings while establishing buffer zones around schools, homes and hospitals.

The Hawaiian islands are a popular testing ground for biotech crops for many companies due to a favorable year-round climate.

The battle in the Hawaiian islands over biotech crop development and related pesticide use is part of a larger battle brewing in the United States and several other countries. Biotech crop critics argue that genetically modified crops, first introduced in 1996, lead to increased pesticide use, environmental damage and health problems for people and animals.

The most popular biotech crops are corn and soybeans that have been genetically altered to make the plants tolerant of chemical herbicides and resist pest damage.

Dow and rival biotech crop developer Monsanto Co. are seeking regulatory approval for new pesticides and biotech crops because there is widespread weed resistance to current popular pesticides.

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