GMO Chapter 2 – Big Island Farmer: Invalidate County’s Anti-GMO Ordinance

Robert Thomas
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Robert Thomas

BY ROBERT THOMAS – Here’s the Complaint for Declaratory Injunctive Relief, filed earlier this week in iwhich an anonymous Big Island papaya farmer challenges the County of Hawaii’s recently-adopted ordinance about GMO farming.

Although the ordinance exempts farmers who currently grow GMO papaya from the ordinance’s ban on “open air cultivation, propagation, development, or testing” of GMO crops or plants, it does require them to register with the County. More here on the lawsuit from the Hilo paper.


The complaint asserts the ordinance is preempted by the Hawaii Uniform Information Practices Act (the state law which requires public disclosure of public records), requires the farmer to give up trade secrets, violates the state constitutional right of privacy, violates due process, the Administrative Procedures Act, and something called the “Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Act.”

This is Chapter 2 in the legal pushback against county-adopted anti-GMO ordinances, with Chapter 1 being the federal court lawsuit challenging Kauai’s ordinance, filed in January. Damon Tucker has posted the supporting statement of Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United, which states, “[w]e strongly support and Stand United with our fellow Farmers in this suit.”

Science. It’s the darndest thing.

Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief, Doe v. County of Hawaii, No. 14-2-0094 (Haw. 3d Cir. Mar….

– See more at:



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Robert H. Thomas is one of the preeminent land use lawyers in Hawaii. He specializes in land use issues including regulatory takings, eminent domain, water rights, and voting rights cases. He has tried cases and appeals in Hawaii, California, and the federal courts. Robert received his LLM, with honors, from Columbia Law School where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and his JD from the University of Hawaii School of Law where he served as editor of the Law Review. Robert taught law at the University of Santa Clara School of Law, and was an exam grader and screener for the California Committee of Bar Examiners. He currently serves as the Chair of the Condemnation Law Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section on State & Local Government Law. He is the Hawaii member of Owners’ Counsel of America, a national network of the most experienced eminent domain and property rights lawyers. Membership in OCA is by invitation only, and is limited to a single attorney from each state. Robert is also the Managing Attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation Hawaii Center, a non-profit legal foundation dedicated to protecting property rights and individual liberties. Reach him at He is also a frequent speaker on land use and eminent domain issues in Hawaii and nationwide. For a list of upcoming events and speaking engagements.


  1. I love it when anti-GMO organic activists pretend there's something to be frightened of when it comes to accepting new GMO crops. Even the potential loss of an entire family of food – like the papaya or the banana – and EVEN the loss of vision amongst children in the developing word, which could easily be averted with GMO Golden Rice, is not enough to convince these activists that there might just be something worthwhile in this new field of science.

  2. Greenpeace wants no GM products, no matter what and no matter what cost. Hence, Greenpeace’s, “Make More Blind Kids for Nature”, campaign to destroy golden rice.

    I hear they have a representative in India personally thanking every kid that’s gone blind from the lack of vitamin A. Let's listen in…

    “Thank you for going blind for nature. NEXT!”
    “Thank you for going blind for nature. NEXT!”
    “Thank you for going blind for nature. NEXT!”

    “GOD DAMN IT !, i said NEXT! Can’t you kids see where the line is? Oh, that’s right. My mistake !”

    “Thank you for going blind for nature. NEXT!”
    “Thank you for going blind for nature. NEXT!”
    “Thank you for going blind for nature. NEXT!”… 500K times a year !

    “NEXT !”

  3. Even National Geographic implys GMO is good, because GMO is needed to develop crops to support long term space travel, to another earth like planet.
    Count how many NG articles imply this….amazing!

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