Court order delays implementation of Kauai pesticide/GMO regulation ordinance

Kauai vegetables
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Kauai vegetables
Kauai vegetables

LĪHU‘E –The implementation of the Ordinance 960 – which regulates the use of pesticides and genetically modified organisms on Kaua‘i – will be delayed to October 1, 2014, via a court order issued last week.

The ordinance, which was passed in November 2013, was scheduled to take effect August 16.  However a lawsuit was filed in February of this year by four companies that would be directly impacted, challenging the legality of the new law.


The U.S. District Court in Honolulu is scheduled to hold hearings on the matter on July 23, 2014.  Due to the volume of cross-motions that have been filed, all parties have entered into a Stipulation and Order which delays the effective date of the ordinance.

“The delay allows the court sufficient time to issue its various decisions after the July hearings, without the parties having to deal with underlying bases for Ordinance 960 and the expected discovery,” stated attorney David Minkin, who has been retained to defend the county in the case.  He noted that all parties to the case and the court agreed to the order.

In spite of the lawsuit, the county has been taking the necessary measures to adopt administrative rules that will govern enforcement of the ordinance once it takes effect.

Yesterday, the state Small Business Regulatory Review Board (SBRRB) reviewed the draft rules at its monthly meeting in Honolulu.  “The SBRRB is a required step in getting our rules in place,” stated George Costa, Director of the Office of Economic Development (OED), which is tasked with implementing and enforcing Ordinance 960.  Responsibilities of the SBRRB include: providing commentary on small business impact statements to rule-drafting departments and providing recommendations to the mayors or county councils regarding county rules.

Prior to being submitted to SBRRB, the draft rules were vetted during a series of public meetings around Kaua‘i.  Feedback received from the meetings and from comments submitted via email were considered and several amendments were incorporated into the final product that was reviewed today.

The next step, according to Costa, is to consider written comments that may be provided by the SBRRB, and then conduct a public hearing on the final draft rules on Kaua‘i.

“By statute we must wait 30 days for a public hearing,” Costa said.  “Even though the implementation date has been pushed back by the court, we plan to hold the public hearing in late July or early August, so that we can move forward and have the rules in place prior to the implementation date.”