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4 nonprofit groups allowed to join Kauai legal defense of genetically engineered crops law


HONOLULU — A federal judge has decided to allow four nonprofit organizations to join Kauai County in defending a new law regulating pesticides and genetically modified crops in court.

Syngenta Seeds, DuPont Pioneer, Agrigenetics Inc., doing business as Dow Agrosciences, and BASF Plant Sciences are seeking a permanent injunction against the law.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren granted a motion Monday to allow Ka Makani Hoopono, the Center for Food Safety, the Pesticide Action Network North America and the Surfrider Foundation to intervene, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported ( ).

Earthjustice attorney Paul Achitoff's clients sought to join the case because they weren't confident in the county's defense. They allege the county administration doesn't support the new law.

The Kauai County Council passed the ordinance over the veto of Mayor Bernard Carvalho, who called the measure flawed.

Attorney Margery Bronster, who represents DuPont Pioneer, recommended the nonprofit organizations take part in the lawsuit in an "amicus position," a nonparty to provide views on issues relating to the complaint.

Kurren ruled that the groups' participation in the lawsuit would be beneficial.

The law requires large agricultural operations to disclose the type of pesticides they spray on their fields and their use of genetically modified organisms. Companies must also establish buffer zones near schools, medical facilities, dwellings, parks, public roadways, shorelines and waterways.

Barring any court intervention, the law will be implemented by mid-August.

Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser,

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