- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) - The Hawaii County Council is scheduled to decide this week whether to appeal a federal judge’s ruling invalidating a new ban on the open-air cultivation of genetically modified crops.

The council will need five “yes” votes to appeal the ruling to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, West Hawaii Today (https://bit.ly/1wH9cte ) reported.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren invalidated the county law in a Nov. 27 order, saying state law pre-empts county law on the issue.

The council passed the legislation by a 6-3 vote last year.

But the council has three new members after last month’s elections: Aaron Chung of Hilo, Danny Paleka of Puna and Maile David of Kau and South Kona.

Chung, an attorney and former council member, said during an Aug. 1 candidate forum that he thinks the GMO ban is prohibited by state and federal law, but added he would not seek to undo it.

“I have no problem with GMO products,” he said at the time. “I eat it, I let my kids eat it.”

Onishi said he will listen to corporation counsel before making up his mind. He said he did have questions about whether any appeal would be handled in-house and how much it would cost.

The council will meet at the West Hawaii Civic Center at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Public comment will be taken at the beginning of the meeting.


Information from: West Hawaii Today, https://www.westhawaiitoday.com

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