Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to support our work—that time is now.

Our mission is simple: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

But without the support of our readers, this model does not work and we simply won’t survive. It’s that simple.
We must meet our Mid-Year Campaign goal but we need you now.

Please, support independent journalism today.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Maui residents in October 2014 protested Monsanto's heavy pesticide use. (Photo: Babes Against Biotech/ Facebook)

In Boon for Monsanto, Federal Judge Quashes Maui County GMO Ban

Attorney says that decision 'not only ignores the will of the people, but places at risk all local regulations that seek to address the harmful impacts of GMO operations.'

Lauren McCauley

Overriding the will of the Hawaiian people, who for years have endured immense pesticide exposure from the outsized presence of Big Ag on the islands, a federal court judge on Tuesday ruled that Monsanto may continue operating in Maui County despite a voter-approved ban on genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Susan Oki Mollway said that the moratorium, which passed with a 50.2 percent vote last November, was pre-empted by state and federal law and was thus invalid. The measure required that all GMO growth, testing, or cultivation in the county cease until an environmental and public health study finds the practices to be safe and harmless.

Following the ruling, proponents of the ordinance, known as the SHAKA Movement, said they were "deeply saddened" by the decision. In a statement, SHAKA legal counsel Michael Carroll said: "The decision today not only ignores the will of the people, but places at risk all state and local regulations that seek to address the harmful impacts associated with GMO operations. The decision invalidates a local ordinance that sought to protect against serious harms caused by these practices. The decision ignores the harms to Maui county and the Hawaii Constitutional mandate placing obligations and duties on the counties to protect the natural environment."

In the lead-up to the November vote, the opposition, almost exclusively backed by Monsanto and Dow, spent nearly $8 million on the campaign—the most money that has ever been expended on a local initiative in the State of Hawai‘i. Just days after its passage, the two agrochemical giants filed suit against the ban.

SHAKA Movement member Mark Sheehan told Honolulu Civil Beat the group is planning to appeal. "We are very disappointed that the constitutional rights of 23,000 people here are being set aside by a couple of judges in Honolulu who I think have completely misread the case," Sheehan said. "This law was written specifically because there was no state or federal law regulating genetically modified organisms...The state and the county have the responsibility to protect the health of the environment, which they’re not doing."

And Maui resident Autumn Ness, who last year canvassed on behalf GMO Free Maui, added: "It feels like the politicians and the judges are looking for ways to let these chemical companies run without oversight. Heaven forbid they look for ways to uphold the will of the people."

Citizens, anti-GMO groups, and other supporters of the initiative are holding a rally on Wednesday beginning at 5:30 AM local time at the gates of the Monsanto facility in Kihei.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

'We Need Action': Biden, Democrats Urged to Protect Abortion Access in Post-Roe US

"The Supreme Court doesn't get the final say on abortion," Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote in a new op-ed.

Kenny Stancil ·


Motorist 'Tried to Murder' Abortion Rights Advocates at Iowa Protest, Witnesses Say

Although one witness said the driver went "out of his way" to hit pro-choice protestors in the street, Cedar Rapids police declined to make an arrest.

Kenny Stancil ·


'A Hate Crime': Oslo Pride Parade Canceled After Deadly Shooting at Gay Bar

A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

Kenny Stancil ·


'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·


80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo