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Judge hears oral arguments in lawsuit over validity of Kauai ordinance regulating GMOs


HONOLULU — A federal judge is hearing arguments in a lawsuit against a Kauai County ordinance regulating genetically engineered crops and pesticides.

Four seed companies are suing to stop the ordinance from going into effect in August.

Syngenta Seeds, DuPont Pioneer, Agrigenetics Inc., doing business as Dow Agrosciences, and BASF Plant Sciences are seeking a permanent injunction. They argue the ordinance is invalid and arbitrarily targets their industry.

Plaintiffs' attorney Margery Bronster is arguing counties don't have authority to regulate what's done on agricultural land.

Earthjustice attorney Paul Achitoff is helping defend Kauai's ordinance. He says the judge asked attorneys to focus arguments on the issue of whether state and federal laws invalidate Kauai's law.

Some spectators sat on the floor of the crowded Honolulu courtroom to listen to Wednesday's hearing.

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