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Syngenta Seeds, Inc. v. County of Kauai

ELR Citation: 46 ELR 20181
Nos. 14-16833, -16848, (9th Cir., 11/18/2016)

The Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court decision that the Hawaii Pesticides Law impliedly preempts a county ordinance that seeks to regulate pesticides and genetically engineered plants. The ordinance would have required commercial farmers to maintain “buffer zones” between crops to which pesticides are applied and certain surrounding properties, provide notifications before and after applying pesticides, and file annual reports disclosing the cultivation of genetically engineered crops. But the Hawaii Pesticides Law comprehensively regulates pesticides and creates a clear inference of legislative intent to preempt local regulations of pesticides. The ordinance and the Hawaii Pesticides Law, which regulates the use of pesticides and where pesticides may be applied, address the same subject matter. In addition, the state's scheme for regulating pesticides is comprehensive. And the Hawaii legislature clearly intended for the state's regulation of pesticides to be uniform and exclusive. As such, under Hawaii's comprehensive "statutory scheme" test, the ordinance was beyond the county's power.