Big Island approves GMO crop bill

Published On: Nov 20 2013 01:22:23 PM HST   Updated On: Nov 20 2013 03:31:20 PM HST
HILO, Hawaii -

A second county in Hawaii has approved a bill addressing genetically modified crops.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald  reports the Hawaii County Council in a 6-3 vote Tuesday approved a bill restricting expansion of transgenic crops grown on the Big Island.

The measure limits most use to enclosed structures such as greenhouses.

Lorie Farrell of Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United says a dozen Big Island agriculture organizations opposed the bill.

Opponents say it will give growers elsewhere a competitive advantage. They also say discussion among council members was not significant before the meeting.

Farmers already growing genetically modified crops, including papaya growers, would be exempt from the new ban.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi released the following statement:

"We understand this is an emotional issue for both sides, and we will take a very close look at the bill. We will also engage in a careful legal review. This discussion has been healthy because it has focused community attention on the challenges faced by all of our farmers. It is very difficult to make a living farming today, and all of our farmers deserve our support. We all agree that we need to protect agriculture on this island. We all want agriculture to thrive."

The Kauai County Council on Saturday voted to override a veto of a bill requiring large farms to disclose use of genetically modified crops.


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