GMO Chapter 2 - Big Island Farmer: Invalidate County's Anti-GMO Ordinance
by Robert Thomas, InverseCondemnation, March 5, 2014
Here's the Complaint for Declaratory Injunctive Relief, filed earlier this week in which an anonymous Big Island papaya farmer challenges the County of Hawaii's recently-adopted ordinance about GMO farming.
Although the ordinance exempts farmers who currently grow GMO papaya from the ordinance's ban on "open air cultivation, propagation, development, or testing" of GMO crops or plants, it does require them to register with the County. More here on the lawsuit from the Hilo paper.
The complaint asserts the ordinance is preempted by the Hawaii Uniform Information Practices Act (the state law which requires public disclosure of public records), requires the farmer to give up trade secrets, violates the state constitutional right of privacy, violates due process, the Administrative Procedures Act, and something called the "Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Act."
This is Chapter 2 in the legal pushback against county-adopted anti-GMO ordinances, with Chapter 1 being the federal court lawsuit challenging Kauai's ordinance, filed in January. Damon Tucker has posted the supporting statement of Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United, which states, "[w]e strongly support and Stand United with our fellow Farmers in this suit."
Science. It's the darndest thing.
Full Text: Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief, Doe v. County of Hawaii, No. 14-2-0094 (Haw. 3d Cir. Mar....
UPDATE March 7, 2014:
Judge Orders County to Stop Registering GMO Farmers
BIN: Judge Greg Nakamura today issued a temporary restraining order blocking the county from requiring that farmers of genetically modified crops register with the county.
The TRO was granted during a hearing on a lawsuit filed this week challenging a new county law that prohibits farmers from growing new transgenic plants and requires those already growing GMO varieties to register their crops.
The plaintiff in the lawsuit filed by Honolulu attorney Margery Bronster is listed under the pseudonym “John Doe.”
Those farming GMO papayas have expressed concern that providing information about the location of farms puts them at risk. Over the past several years, several GMO papaya farms in lower Puna have been the targets of broad vandalism attacks, none of which has been solved by police.
The lawsuit said the plaintiff has already been the victim of “intimidation and threatening behavior” by anti-GMO activists.
Apparently in response to those concerns, County Councilwoman Margaret Wille, who introduced the bill, amended the legislation prior to the initial vote to provide that the county would not make the registration information public.
In the lawsuit, Bronster argues that the county cannot guarantee the information would be kept confidential, especially if it became subject to a legal challenge.
HTH: Judge halts GMO registration
VIDEO: Hawaii GMO registration gets restraining order
KITV: "If there is vandalism as there has been before, these farmers stand to lose everything"
read ... Justice