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Over the weekend, the Associated Press has a story about in the 50th state, "Kauai and Hawaii counties have moved in the past several months to regulate genetically modified organisms and the pesticides the farms use. In Maui County, a group is collecting signatures for a potential ballot measure that would impose a temporary ban on the crops."

In the case of Kauai, the story says, the law requires "large farms to create buffer zones around their crops and to disclose what pesticides they use. The law is set to take effect in August." However, "Seed companies with Kauai operations - Syngenta, Pioneer, BASF and Agrigentics - have sued the county to stop the law, saying they are already regulated by state and federal laws and there is no need for additional county rules."

As the AP makes clear, the legal wrangling is expected to continue, with the strong feelings on both side making it seemingly impossible to find a compromise. And the irony is that "you can trace the genetic makeup of most corn grown in the U.S., and in many other places around the world, to Hawaii. The tiny island state 2,500 miles from the nearest continent is so critical to the nation's modern corn-growing business that the industry's leading companies all have farms here, growing new varieties genetically engineered for desirable traits like insect and drought resistance."

This story made me go and look up a New York Times piece that ran earlier this year, which chronicled the efforts of Greggor Ilagan,a Hawaiian county councilman who decided that before he would vote on any sort of GMO ban, he needed to do a little first hand research. What he found was not what he expected to find, and it complicated his decision-making efforts considerably.

You can read the entire Times piece here. To be frank, I'd somehow missed this story when the Times first ran it, but was referred to it late last week by an MNB reader who thought that it illuminated the GMO issue by showing just how complicated it is.

Check it out.
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