Federal Court Allows Non-Profit Groups to Defend Kaua’i County on Behalf of Taxpayers

Multinational corporations challenging pesticide disclosure law


Paul Achitoff, Earthjustice, (808) 599-2436, ext. 6612

The U.S. District Court of Hawaii today granted a motion to intervene jointly presented by Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice on behalf of several community non-profit groups. The order allows the groups to participate in a lawsuit filed by Syngenta and other pesticide companies challenging Kauaʻi’s County Ordinance 960.

Today’s order allows the groups to defend the County of Kauaʻi’s 2013 pesticide disclosure law from the pesticide companies’ legal challenge. The non-profit groups include: Center for Food Safety, Surfrider Foundation, Pesticide Action Network North America and Ka Makani Hoʻopono.

Ordinance 960 (formerly known as Bill 2491) provides residents of Kauaʻi public access to information related to the application of pesticides used in experimental and commercial agricultural operations within the County of Kauaʻi. It also affords county residents and their environment greater protection from and information about potential pesticide drift and the impact of growing experimental genetically engineered crops on Kauaʻi.

“We are pleased with the court’s decision, which allows us to vigorously defend this sound and important law,” said George Kimbrell, senior attorney for Center for Food Safety.

“These community groups deserve to have their own lawyers represent them in court,” said Earthjustice attorney Paul Achitoff. “They’re the Kauaʻi residents who are most affected by the chemical companies’ activities.”

Background: The Kauaʻi County Council voted to enact Ordinance 960 in November 2013, overriding Kauaʻi Mayor Bernard Carvalho’s veto. In January 2014, Syngenta, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. (owned by DuPont), Agrigenetics, Inc. (owned by Dow Chemical) and BASF Plant Science LP sued the County, claiming the law is not legally valid.

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