Kurren held that state laws regulating disclosure requirements for pesticide use and GMO crops pre-empt Ordinance 960, the
The ordinance mandated that large agribusinesses on
The agribusinesses also were required to provide annual reports on the nature and location of their GMO crops.
The ordinance was ill-advised from the start. Its requirements went well beyond state law, creating regulatory confusion and making it an obvious target for a lawsuit.
Furthermore, the county lacked the staffing and expertise to enforce the ordinance.
Even so, one of the underlying purposes of the ordinance -- to promote transparency and disclosure of the use of RUPs beyond the state's current voluntary guidelines -- should be explored by the state, in cooperation with the counties and the industry.
Kurren's opinion noted that federal law did not pre-empt the state's ability to impose its own disclosure requirements. In fact, said
That would be going too far. But given some legitimate and passionate concerns raised by local communities across the state, it would be wise for the agribusiness industry to demonstrate its good intentions by reaching across the courtroom to ease the concerns of those worried about RUP use. Retreating to the boardroom to toast their victory would be politically unwise.
Meanwhile, other significant home-rule fights await. In October, Kurren will hear oral arguments in a lawsuit challenging a
Both measures fail the common-sense test. A broad consensus of experts, including from the
Present and future environmental pressures, such as climate change and the constant threat of destructive pests, require agricultural policies that give our farmers every tool possible to keep growing an abundance of healthy food. Unsubstantiated fears of GMOs, combined with a lack of viable alternatives, do not make for sensible farm policy.
Kurren's opinion in the
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