A coalition of farmers and environmental groups in Hawaii is backing a county ordinance which is being challenged in court by the world's biggest biotech trade association.
The Hawai'i Reporter newspaper says the ordinance aims to stop the expansion of genetically engineered, or GE, crops on the island of Hawaii.
It regulates GE organisms to prevent environmental and economic harm, such as the contamination of organic crops and wild plants, and pesticide use.
The lawsuit, driven mainly by the Biotechnology Industry Organization seeks to dissolve the county's 2013 ordinance to open up the island to more GE crop production.
A lawyer for Earthjustice, Paul Achitoff, says the GE companies have been turning the islands into experimental laboratories.
An agricultural NGO, the Center for Food Safety, and three Hawai'i Island farmers have asked for court permission to join as defendants against the lawsuit.