Skip to main content

Federal Judge Rules Hawai'i Biopharm Permits Illegal

The United States Department of Agriculture illegally issued permits allowing companies to grow genetically-engineered crops in  Hawai’i, a federal judge ruled in August, 2006.

Federal district Judge Michael Seabright ruled that the USDA was "arbitrary and capricious" in deciding to issue permits without conducting environmental studies as required by the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Protect Act.

The permits were issued in 2001, 2002, and 2003 to ProdiGene, Monsanto, HARC, and Garst Seed Co.

Earthjustice filed suit in 2003 on behalf of the Center for Food Safety, Friends of the Earth, Pesticide Action Network, and KAHEA.

According to Managing Attorney Paul Achitoff, "The days of rubber-stamping these (genetically engineered crop permits) are over. Whenever (the USDA) proposes to issue permits, they're going to have to examine their impact."