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On June 30, a federal judge in Maui struck down that county’s moratorium on the cultivation of GMOs. This is the third of three challenges to county laws in Hawaii restricting GMOs. In each case, the court held the local laws were preempted by federal law, state law or both. Ironically, the law used to strike down the local ordinance was the USDA’s plant protection act.

Because the US government has used this act that rules that GMOs are safe, the ruling argues that local communities can not make their own laws prohibiting GMOs. As the number of local laws restricting cultivation of GMOs rises in other states, this decision could inform future legal challenges. Clearly, agribusiness is reacting to people’s growing demands to control their food supply, and using the federal court to prop up their profit making.

But not all federal courts agree. Monsanto tried to have a similar ban overturned in Jackson County, Oregon, but that decision was upheld by the federal judge.

The weekly Earth Minute segment can be heard on the Sojourner Truth Radio Show on KPFK-FM in Los Angeles.