Biotech giants Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences are poised to legally challenge Maui County’s temporary moratorium on cultivating genetically engineered crops.

Both companies issued statements to that effect Wednesday morning after Maui County voters on Tuesday narrowly approved a ballot initiative imposing the ban even though its advocates were outspent by a ratio of 87 to 1.

From Monsanto:

“We believe this referendum is invalid and contrary to long established state and federal laws that support both the safety and lawful testing and planting of GMO plants. If effective, the referendum will have significant negative consequences for the local economy, Hawaii agriculture and our business on the island. We are committed to ongoing dialogue as we take steps to ask the court to declare that this initiative is legally flawed and cannot be enforced. Monsanto and other allied parties will be joining together in this effort.”

From Dow AgroSciences:

“Dow AgroSciences is confident in the safety of our farming operations on Maui County and the safety of our products that have been reviewed and approved by federal and state agencies. With more than 170 local employees living and working in Molokai and Kauai, we understand the negative impact that this ban would have on the community, the local economy and on agriculture in Hawaii. As a longtime community member, we are proud of our operations and of our contributions to the islands. Dow AgroSciences is committed to an ongoing dialogue concerning these issues. However, we believe that the ban would be illegal, and we intend to protect our legal rights.”

GMO fields on Molokai (NO TEXT)

An aerial view of Monsanto Company’s fields on Molokai, part of Maui County.

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