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Posted: Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014 11:03 AM HST

Maui seed companies say moratorium could kill jobs

By Associated Press

Two Maui County seed companies say more than 500 jobs and millions of tax dollars could be lost if a moratorium on the cultivation of genetically engineered organisms passes.

The Maui News reports Monsanto has 540 employees on Maui and Molokai. Its county tax bill was $3.5 million last year. Dow AgroSciences affiliate Mycogen Seeds employs more than 90 people on Molokai.

A proposed ballot initiative calls for the suspension of all "genetically engineered operations and practices" in Maui County until companies prove the activity is safe.

The county council has until Aug. 5 to adopt the proposal. The initiative will appear on the Nov. 4 general election ballot if the council doesn't adopt it.

Monsanto government affairs manager Carol Reimann says a ban could devastate the company's operations.

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