By Wendy Osher
Five Maui residents have started a GMO petition drive calling for the suspension of all genetically-engineered operations and practices in Maui County through a Temporary Moratorium Initiative.
The petition seeks the moratorium until an Environmental Public Health Impact Statement is provided and reviewed by the Maui County Council. The document would include analysis of the impacts stemming from genetically-engineered operations and their associated pesticide use.
Under the proposed moratorium, the ban would remain in place until citizens are satisfied that the benefits to the Maui County environment and public trust resources far outweigh the risk of harm to people.
The proposed temporary moratorium ordinance was crafted by the Shaka Movement  and lawyers from the Center for Food Safety, and was submitted to the county on Feb. 21.
The group needs 8,500 signatures by March 31 to have the initiative included on the November ballot.
Signatures must come from registered voters and will be checked for validity by the County of Maui.
Organizers say electronic signatures or online petitioning is not allowed. Maui County requires physical signatures on official petitions that they have published.
Organizers with the Shaka Movement say they hope to have a list of locations available on their website by the end of the day notifying interested participants on where to go to add their name to the petition.