Sunday, December 4, 2011

Corn pest damage

More Monsanto corn showing pest damage
By Georgina Gustin
STLtoday.com
December 3, 2011

Corn plants genetically engineered by Monsanto to repel pests are suffering severe damage from insects in more areas than previously reported, according to government scientists, who called the company’s monitoring of the problem “inadequate.”

In a memorandum posted this week by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, scientists reported that corn plants genetically engineered to kill the corn rootworm are showing signs of severe damage in Minnesota and Nebraska fields.

This past summer, researchers from Iowa State University and the University of Illinois reported damage in their states. At the time, those appeared to be the only states with reported damage. But the EPA memo, dated Nov. 22, said that reports of severe damage in Minnesota and Nebraska actually surfaced three and four years ago.

“Producers are reporting greater-than-expected damage, and investigators are trying to pinpoint the cause,” said Mike Gray, an entomologist with the University of Illinois, who this summer found evidence of damage in Illinois fields. “EPA is saying: ‘Hey. What’s going on? We need to take these reports seriously.’”

[Read More…]

Friday, November 18, 2011

Contamination without representation

Genetically modified crops - contamination without representation
By April Scott
Salem-News.com
November 17, 2011

If Oregon allows GM sugar beets to be deregulated, we may not stand a chance against full federal deregulation of all GM crops

(SALEM, Ore.) - A public hearing is being held in Corvallis, Oregon this Thursday, November 17th to determine if Genetically Modified sugar beets will be deregulated in Oregon.

Meanwhile, the public comment period maybe just a local distraction giving way to full federal deregulation without any representation of organic and conventional crop farmers.

Let us not forget that the U.S House of Representatives, Committee on Agriculture held a formal hearing on Genetically Modified (GM) Alfalfa on Jan 20, 2011.

The hearing corresponded with an open 30-day comment period, designed to provide relevant testimony with regard to deregulation of Genetically Modified Alfalfa.

The democratic process neglected to include a single organic or conventional farming representative. Throughout the two hour hearing various legislators publicly humiliated the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsak for even suggesting any compromise through talks with the organic and conventional communities. They all but ordered him to stand down his conversations with anyone but pro-GM enthusiasts.

Representatives left no seed unturned in honor of their allegiance to biotech crops and complete penetration into all foreign and domestic markets. In fact, Minnesota‚Äôs Representative Collin Peterson referred to organic producers and consumers as “our opponents”.

[Read More…]

Biotech compensation plan

USDA weighs biotech compensation plan
By Mateusz Perkowski
Capital Press
November 17, 2011

The USDA is floating the idea of creating a mechanism to compensate farmers harmed by cross-pollination from genetically engineered crops.

The agency has suggested the concept as a way to resolve conflicts between biotech, conventional and organic farmers, but experts say developing such a mechanism would be rife with challenges.

“They’re complex ideas and they’re going to take a while to thrash out,” said Barry Bushue, vice president of the American Farm Bureau Federation and president of the Oregon Farm Bureau.

Bushue is a member of the USDA’s Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture, which was assembled earlier this year to seek common ground on contentious biotech issues.

The committee will hold discussions in late November and early December about the possibility of developing a “compensation mechanism.”

The proposal is likely to come up against skepticism from biotech supporters and opponents alike.

[Read More…]

Groups entitled to attorney fees

Biotech opponents could receive millions
By Mateusz Perkowski
Capital Press
November 17, 2011

Judge says groups entitled to recover attorney fees

A group of biotechnology opponents has been awarded $1.6 million for winning a court battle over USDA’s commercialization of genetically engineered alfalfa.

A federal judge has found Geertson Seed Farms and other opponents of the crop are entitled to recover attorney fees and other costs from the federal government.

The award is primarily based on years of legal work conducted by the Center for Food Safety, a nonprofit that has opposed several biotech crops.

That group is also poised to win roughly $2.7 million in attorney fees and other costs due to its litigation over transgenic sugar beets.

The amount of these awards has been contentious — USDA argued biotech critics only won limited victories in both cases and were entitled to much less money.

[Read More…]

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Eucalyptus trees court loss

Court loss won’t stop environmentalists’ battle against modified-eucalyptus trees
By Peter Downs
The Commercial Appeal
October 23, 2011

Environmentalists are vowing to continue their fight against genetically engineered “frankentrees” after losing a test case in Florida earlier this month.

“We’re not terribly discouraged,” said Anne Petermann, executive director of the Global Justice Ecology Project and the coordinator of the STOP GE Trees Campaign.

“We’ll wait until the next stage of the regulatory process and intervene there,” said Mike Stark, communications director for the Center for Biological Diversity, the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that aimed to block field tests of genetically modified eucalyptus trees across the South.

The trees in question were developed by Arborgen, a joint venture of Memphis-based International Paper, MeadWestvaco Corp. and New Zealand-based Rubicon Ltd.

Industry expects the fight to continue.

[Read More…]

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