Excerpt: '"We don't understand why the State is investing in a failing industry that has losses of over $43 billion," says Haumea Hanakahi of Hui Hoaka, also a party in the petition. The industry she refers to is biotechnology.
Overall, airlines accumulated a net loss of $5 billion from 1947 to 2003. Publicly traded biotechnology companies in the U.S. lost $41 billion from 1990 to 2003, according to Ernst & Young LLC. 
"The State is prostituting our islands. The State gives away massive amounts of tax credits to the industry for biotech business investment, research development, net operating loss, exclusions of royalties from gross income and even tax exemption on stock options. That's plenty in lost tax revenues that could help our schools, our kupuna, our communities. Instead, the irresponsible of these corporations come, take from Hawaii, make plenty opala, and leave state taxpayers with legal liability for the irreversible damage and messes they make. Strange, yeah, Rincon Pharmaceuticals is a new biotech startup and partner in the project but they're never named on the permit. Zero liability to them.'
State Uses Illegal Tactics to Push Controversial Biotech Project
Board of Agriculture Redefines Own Rules To Avoid Contested Case Hearing
By Haumea Hanakahi, Henry Curtis and Andrew Kimbrell, 8/16/2005
In a controversial case involving 7 strains of newly created mutated alga, the Board of Agriculture's most recent actions, again, seem to support corporate agenda over the public trust.
After the 6/28/05 hearing of which over 120 testimonials were submitted urging the denial of permit, the Board stunned the crowd with a cavalier quoting of Wanda Adams, Food Editor of the Honolulu Advertiser "remember when we were all warned microwaves were dangerous, and now we all use them”š"; a vote was called, and the Board approved (6-2) the permit to import, grow, and export the mutated algae.
In the aftermath of the decision and amid serious concerns for impact upon agriculture, health and safety, native resources and the environment, a coalition called Na Maka o Hawaii Nei was spontaneously formed to protect and nurture our island wealth.
On 7/7/2005 the coalition of over 22 groups and individuals filed an official request for a contested case hearing with the Board of Agriculture to challenge the permit granted the financially troubled Mera Pharmaceuticals to grow the genetically engineered algae at the state's Natural Energy Lab of Hawaii Authority (NELHA) on the Kona coast of Hawaii Island.
On 8/15/05, the coalition Na Maka o Hawaii Nei received a letter from the Dept. of Agriculture stating that only the applicant of a permit can ask for a contested case hearing. The one-paragraph letter reads "Neither statute nor constitutional due process require a contested case hearing in this situation and the Board's rules do not provide for a contested case hearing for persons such as the HUI [coalition]."
"The letter contradicts the clear and obvious intent of the Hawaii Administrative Rules," said Henry Curtis, advocate and party to the petition. Under the Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR) 4-1-36(b): "A person aggrieved by a decision or ruling of the board shall file a request for hearing within ten calendar days after mailing of written notice of board action"; and HAR 4-1-2 Definitions: "'Person' means individuals, partnerships, corporations, associations, or public or private organizations of any character other than the board [of agriculture] or the department [of agriculture]."
"The coalition is shocked and outraged that the state has denied the public's right to challenge a permit," said Kat Brady of Life of the Land. "Genetically engineered algae have never been grown at this level anywhere in the world and the hui [coalition] is concerned that escape of these algae will cause extensive harm to our fragile ecosystem. This is a great concern since the state currently spends $47 million a year on eradication of invasive species.
"We don't understand why the State is investing in a failing industry that has losses of over $43 billion," says Haumea Hanakahi of Hui Hoaka, also a party in the petition. The industry she refers to is biotechnology.
Overall, airlines accumulated a net loss of $5 billion from 1947 to 2003. Publicly traded biotechnology companies in the U.S. lost $41 billion from 1990 to 2003, according to Ernst & Young LLC.  "The State is prostituting our islands. The State gives away massive amounts of tax credits to the industry for biotech business investment, research development, net operating loss, exclusions of royalties from gross income and even tax exemption on stock options. That's plenty in lost tax revenues that could help our schools, our kupuna, our communities. Instead, the irresponsible of these corporations come, take from Hawaii, make plenty opala, and leave state taxpayers with legal liability for the irreversible damage and messes they make. Strange, yeah, Rincon Pharmaceuticals is a new biotech startup and partner in the project but they're never named on the permit. Zero liability to them. Hmmm. It's just a matter of time when these mutant algae become a new invasive species contaminating our water, soils, air and agriculture. Can we afford that? Why is the Board of Agriculture ignoring all the expert testimony that came in from around the world warning of serious consequences?" she asks.
The Na Maka o Hawaii Nei coalition also states strong health concerns. The Board of Agriculture's decision to allow Mera and Rincon Pharmaceuticals to import 7 strains of mutated algae without a comprehensive risk assessment signals profit over people. These companies hope to cash in on creating drugs from the algae. However, these laboratory created algae that contain synthetic human-like antibodies are unlikely to ever be approved for drug manufacture.
Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director for the Center for Food & Safety, WA DC stated, "the State is illegally permitting a Biotech startup to endanger Hawaii's environment and people for a project that is doomed from the start. The federal government has never given commercial approval of a drug to be made from genetically modified or engineered plants or organisms. The chances of success are nil and the risks too great."
In response to Mera and Rincon Pharmaceutical's assurances that their GE algae are "safe", Dr. Doug Gurian-Sherman, Senior Scientist for the Center for Food Safety, WA DC and currently serving on the FDA's Biotechnology Advisory Subcommittee wrote, "those assurances are not based on safety testing, but on conjecture. For example, proteins such as those produced in Mera's algae might cause immune reactions if ingested or inhaled, as may occur from aerosolized or desiccated algae if they escape and reproduce in the environment. And such immune responses can conceivably occur at very low exposures. For example, several years ago expert allergists and immunologists would not allow exposure to as little as 20 parts per billion of genetically engineered StarLink protein after food was contaminated because they could not be sure that allergy would not occur. Doing the right thing to ensure safety will pay in the long run with increased citizen confidence."
On 8/2/05 a lawsuit was filed against the Board of Agriculture to comply with Hawaii's Environmental Protection Act. "The law requires the State to fully examine the potential impacts of bringing these alien, drug-laden algae to our islands," said Earthjustice attorney Isaac Moriwake. "The government and public need to understand the potential impacts and available alternatives before this experiment begins."
Dr. R. Malcolm Brown, Jr., Univ. Texas, Professor of Biology wrote, "I have identified both native and indigenous strains of Chlamydomonas. So much more needs to be studied. The introduced alga has the potential to hybridize with the native and indigenous strain of this alga. That would mean genetic alteration of yet another pristine species from Hawaii's world renown biodiversity. Not only that, but native strains of this alga are found in air, soils, and fresh and brackish water of Hawaii. This indicates that once introduced into the native population, the genetically modified strains could rapidly spread to all parts of Hawaii. The immense invasive species problem this presents should be addressed".
The coalition Na Maka o Hawaii Nei agrees that, "We encourage good business that actually DOES good in Hawaii. We have zero tolerance for any business that would inflict harm upon Hawaii's communities." You can add "zero tolerance for any government behaviors that would inflict harm upon Hawaii's communities." Perhaps the Governor needs to hear from her constituents.
 For more information on failed biotech industry see 'Biotech's Dismal Bottom Line: More than $40 Billion in Losses,' by David P. Hamilton, Wall Street Journal, May 20, 2004, and 'States, Cities Court Biotech, But Is It Worth It?' by Paul Elias, AP June 9, 2004.
Na Maka o Hawaii Nei is a coalition protecting and nurturing the islands' wealth. For more information, contact Haumea Hanakahi, Hui Hoaka (808-896-9926); Henry Curtis, Life of the Land (808-927-0709); Andrew Kimbrell, The Center for Food Safety (202-547-9359)