Court Halts Big Isle Algae Project 
10/19/2005 5:13:20 PM

A court order in Hilo has halted a controversial project to grow genetically modified algae in open ponds in Kona. Mera Pharmaceuticals, formerly known as Aquasearch, is one of two antioxidant manufacturers at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority in Kona. It has state Board of Agriculture approval to grow genetically modified algae to produce medicine. Circuit Court Judge Betsy Strance in Hilo set aside the state's blessing for the project on Monday at the request of four local environmental groups, including the Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter. The groups were represented by Earthjustice, a nonprofit public interest law firm, which maintains that the experiment breaks enough new ground to need a detailed environmental impact statement.