Cornucopia’s Take: This ruling gives state and local governments the rights overall to regulate and ban GM crops – except in Hawaii. There, the ruling interprets GM-friendly Hawaii state law as superseding Hawaiian county and municipal law. Because of Hawaii’s unique climate, the biotech industry routinely tests crops there, subjecting Hawaiians to more restricted-use insecticides and pesticides per acre than citizens in the continental U.S. The court also decided that the USDA has sole authority over GMO field trials.
Court Rules Feds Cannot Prevent Local Governments From Banning GMOs
by Whitney Webb
[On Friday, December 9], the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a highly anticipated decision on whether federal and Hawaii state laws supersede the authority of individual counties to regulate the use of genetically modified crops and pesticide use. Hawaii, though many Americans don’t know, has been at the center of the GM debate for years as major GM seed and chemical companies have used the archipelago for “research and development” for over two decades.
Though product testing and development sounds nice enough on paper, in practice it has allowed these companies to spray 17 times more restricted-use insecticides and pesticides per acre than is recommended for farmland in the continental US. In 2012 alone, 18 tons of agrochemicals, including atrazine and paraquat (both banned in Europe), were applied to the island of Kauai, with an area of less than 600 square miles. Local Hawaiian doctors as well as local residents have blamed the excessive use of pesticides for a spike in birth defects. “Your eyes and lungs hurt, you feel dizzy and nauseous. It’s awful,” middle school Special Education Teacher Howard Hurst, told the Guardian. “Here, 10% of the students get special-ed services, but the state average is 6.3%,” he says. “It’s hard to think the pesticides don’t play a role.”