Maui Joins Hawaiian Effort to Limit GMO Crops

Maui Councilwomen introduces new measure to limit the spread of biotech corn, soy and other crops on the Hawaiian island.

Maui County Councilwoman Elle Cochran introduced a bill last week that would require companies to disclose when they use pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on the island, putting further strain on relations with companies that want to use the tropical region as a testing ground.

The bill is modeled after a measure approved on the island of Kauai last month, one that controls the planting of biotech crops and the use of pesticides by agrichemical companies. The Kauai bill requires large agricultural companies to disclose pesticides and GMOs, as well as establish buffer zones around schools, homes and hospitals. Similarly, the Maui bill targets companies that use more than five pounds or 15 gallons of restricted use pesticides annually.

Just one day earlier Maui Mayor Billy Kenoi signed into law a measure that prohibits biotech companies from growing any new genetically modified crops on the largest of the archipelago's islands. An exception to the new law is GMO papaya, which has been genetically altered to resist disease and is now extensively grown in Hawaii.

"Today our communities expect that government will be as cautious as possible in protecting our food and water supplies," Kenoi said in a statement."This ordinance expresses the desires and demands of our community for a safe, sustainable agricultural sector that can help feed our people while keeping our precious island productive and healthy."

The Hawaii law goes into effect immediately and includes fines of $1,000 per day for noncompliance. To read more, click HERE.