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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Contamination' Category


23
Mar

Vermont House Votes to Authorize State Regulation of “Treated Articles,” such as Neonic-Coated Seeds

(Beyond Pesticides March 23, 2016) Last week, the Vermont House of Representatives passed a bill that authorizes state  regulation of pesticide-treated products,  including  telephone poles and coated seeds, that are exempt from federal pesticide regulations. H.861 is the latest in a string of laws introduced this legislative session in Vermont to address the impact of harmful neonicotinoid insecticides  on Vermont’s ecology and agriculture, and symbolizes a concentrated effort by the legislature to reverse pollinator declines within the state. If passed by the Senate and signed by the governor, the bill will  allow the Secretary of Agriculture to regulate above and beyond current federal laws, which exempt treated articles from regulation completely, and write appropriate rules in response to recommendations from a state Pollinator Protection Committee. The bill, which passed with wide support in the House, gives the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets the authority to regulate “treated articles,” a term coined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to denote products treated with pesticides, such as utility poles, commercial crop seeds, and lumber. Traditionally, EPA gives rulemaking authority over pesticides to states, but that authority does not extend to products pre-treated with pesticides, which, until this point, has posed […]

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21
Mar

Boulder County, Colorado to Phase Out GE Crops on Public Land

(Beyond Pesticides, March 21, 2016) Last Thursday, Boulder County (CO) commissioners directed staff to draft up a plan to phase out genetically engineered (GE) crops on all farmland owned  by the county. The county’s current policy, adopted in 2011, allows tenant farmers to grow certain types of GE corn and sugar beets on land leased through Boulder County, and will remain in effect at least until the end of the year. The five-year policy old has frequently come under fire from individuals and environmental groups that challenge the safety of GE crop production systems, and their effect on human health, water quality, soil health, and the overall environment. The Boulder County commissioners heard  recommendations from the county’s advisory committees, including the county’s Croplands Policy Advisory Group, the Food and Agriculture Policy Group, and the Parks and Open Space Advisory Group. A public hearing was held on Feb. 29  also provided public input on whether to continue or change the current approval in Section 6.1 of the Boulder County Parks & Open Space Cropland Policy that allows for the use of certain genetically engineered (GE) crops on Open Space land. That approval expires on December 20, 2016. More than 100 people […]

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09
Mar

Senate Democrats Introduce Bill Requiring GE Food Labeling, Includes Preemption of States

(Beyond Pesticides March 9, 2016) Last week, Senators Jeff Merkley (OR), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced legislation to  require  that consumer food packaging  displays genetically engineered (GE) ingredient labeling. The Senators’ legislation, the Biotechnology Food Labeling and Uniformity Act  (S.2621), presents an alternative to the primarily Republican-backed Biotechnology Labeling Solutions Bill that recently passed the Senate Agriculture Committee on a 14-6 vote. The Biotechnology Labeling Solutions Bill, which embodies several provisions of the much opposed DARK Act, will  hide ingredient information from consumers by overturning state GE labeling laws like that of Vermont’s. “Rather than blocking consumers’ access to information they want, the U.S. Senate should move forward with a solution that works for businesses and consumers alike,” said Senator Merkley. “There is a way to give consumers the information they are asking for without placing unfair or conflicting requirements on food producers. This legislation provides the common-sense pathway forward.” The  Biotechnology Food Labeling and Uniformity Act  will allow American consumers to see whether a food has been prepared with GE ingredients, while offering food manufacturers several options for including this information on or near the ingredients list. This framework meets the needs of […]

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28
Jan

Oregon Proposes Legislation to Protect Farmers and Consumers from GE Contamination

(Beyond Pesticides, January 28, 2016) Last week, Oregon Representative Paul Holyey introduced legislation that would protect traditional crops against contamination from their genetically engineered counterparts. As it stands, local governments are preempted (disallowed) from taking actions that protect traditional farmers from contamination by genetically engineered (GE) crops. With the help of advocates representing family farms and food safety, The Transgenic Contamination Prevention Bill (HB 4122) will  repeal sections of Senate-passed  Bill 863,  which  preempts local governments, and restore the  right of local jurisdictions to regulate the planting of GE  seed. The law, Bill 863, dubbed  Oregon’s Monsanto Protection Act by environmentalists, farmers and consumers, was passed in 2013 and signed into law by then-Governor John Kitzhaber. The new language in HB 4122 seeks to correct the chemical company-driven legislation of the former bill and restore protection for traditional and organic farmers. In May, 2014, the voters of Jackson and Josephine Counties, Oregon, passed a ballot initiative, Genetically Modified Organism Ban, Measure 15-119, which sparked the backlash in the state legislature. A federal court decision upheld the ballot initiatives, and the county  laws were  grandfathered in, or allowed to stay in effect. Center for Food Safety’s attorney, George Kimbrell, expressed support […]

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01
Dec

Genetically Engineered Salmon without Labeling Approved by FDA

(Beyond Pesticides, December 1, 2015) Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved, without a labeling requirement, a genetically engineered (GE) salmon designed to grow faster and come to market quicker than other farmed salmon. The fish, dubbed AquAdvantage by its developer, Massachusetts-based biotechnology firm AquaBounty, has been the center of considerable controversy as it represents the first GE animal approved for commercial sale and human consumption. While FDA has declared the fish safe to eat, and AquaBounty argues the fish will help feed the world, opponents stress that the potential adverse effects of the technology have not been properly vetted, and consumers will have no way to tell whether the salmon they purchase at the store is the engineered AquAdvantage product. Draft guidelines released by FDA when the salmon was approved do not require retailers to inform consumers that the fish is GE. Instead, the agency provided examples of voluntary statements, such as “genetically engineered,” or “This salmon patty was made from Atlantic salmon produced using modern biotechnology,” that producers  can consider using. The FDA policy makes it virtually impossible for shoppers wishing to avoid the GE fish to make an informed decision at the point of […]

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25
Nov

EPA Revokes Registration of Toxic Pesticide Central to Genetically Engineered Agriculture

(Beyond Pesticides, November 25, 2015) In response to a lawsuit filed by environmental groups, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday revoked the registration of the toxic herbicide “Enlist Duo,” which contains the cancer causing 2,4-D and is central to future uses of genetically engineered (GE) crops in chemical-intensive agriculture. The marketing of this chemical in genetically engineered agriculture has become integral to the chemical industry’s response to weed resistance to the widely used herbicide glyphosate (Roundup), also identified as cancer causing this year by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). “Instead of looking for genetically engineered silver bullets that result in crop failure, we should be expanding organic agricultural systems that are productive and profitable, protect public health and the environment and slow global climate change,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. Approved by the agency just over a year ago, Enlist Duo is a combination of glyphosate and 2,4-D that Dow AgroSciences developed for use on the next generation of GE crops. EPA stated it is taking this action after realizing that the synergistic effects of the combination of these chemicals is likely significantly more harmful than it had initially believed, and that very […]

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29
Oct

USDA Scientist Punished for Neonic Study Files Complaint

(Beyond Pesticides, October 29, 2015) One of the top entomologists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) filed a whistleblower complaint against a  federal agency, citing unprofessional retaliation following the publication of a study linking neonicotinoid insecticides to the decline of monarch butterflies. Jonathan Lundgren, Ph.D., Senior Research Entomologist and Lab Supervisor for the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in South Dakota, is fighting suspension for publishing research deemed “sensitive” by his USDA superiors. According to Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), which is providing legal services to Dr. Lundgren, this case underscores why legal protections for government scientists are sorely needed. Until recently, Dr. Lundgren worked for USDA for eleven years with great success, and his cutting edge research has drawn national attention and international recognition. In April of this year, Dr. Lundgren published a study in The Science of Nature that shows that clothianidin, a neonicotinoid seed treatment, kills monarch butterfly larvae in the laboratory. On August 3, 2015, USDA imposed a 14-day suspension against Dr. Lundgren for submitting the Science of Nature study and for a paperwork error in his travel authorization for his invited presentation about his research to a panel of […]

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22
Oct

U.S. Senators to Advance Legislation to Stop States from Labeling GE Food

(Beyond Pesticides, October 22, 2015) With increasing consumer concern about genetically engineered (GE) food, yesterday  the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry held a hearing,  entitled Agriculture Biotechnology: a Look at Federal Regulation and Stakeholder Perspectives, that critics called lopsided. Most witnesses characterized GE food as safe or side-stepped the issue of safety, as government witnesses refused to distinguish GE from conventional food and opposed food labeling. “This is the first time in 10 years we’ve had a hearing on biotech. I guess we’re a little late, but we’re here,” said chair of the committee, Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS). The ranking  minority member of the committee, Senator  Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)  said,  “Biotechnology is proven to be safe, beneficial, and I believe will play a major role in helping to solve these dual global challenges of climate change and global food security,” Central to the hearing is the the issue of labeling food products containing GE crops. Senator Stabenow called for the adoption of legislation on GE food labeling, presumably with language that will preempt the authority of states to adopt more stringent labeling standards. Senator Stabenow said that she wants labeling that “doesn’t stigmatize biotechnology.” The GE food […]

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13
Oct

Majority of EU Countries Opt-Out of Approved GE Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, October 13, 2015) Nineteen  European Union (EU) member states (Austria, Belgium (Wallonia), Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Solvenia, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales) have opted out of approving GE cultivation except for research purposes. In the past, the EU has not been particularly fond of GE crops; currently, only one GE crop, insect resistant maize MON 810, has been approved for cultivation. In March, the EU passed a new directive that allowed GE crops to be approved for use Union-wide. Along with the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU), that directive also gave member states the ability to “adopt legally binding acts restricting or prohibiting the cultivation of GMOs in their territory after such GMOs have been authorized to be placed on the Union market.” Once the opt-out applications have been processed and transmitted to the companies, they have one month to take action; that is, the companies most affected by the ban will have the chance to oppose it. Member states have cited environmental and agricultural issues as a reason for opting out and while biotechnology companies can deny them, it is likely that […]

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02
Sep

Germany to Ban GE Crops; US Approves GE Potato

(Beyond Pesticides, September 2, 2015) Germany intends to “opt out” of the cultivation of genetically engineered (GE) crops under new European Union (EU) rules regarding GE approvals, moving Germany one step forward to prohibiting GE crops. EU member states have until October 3, 2015 to inform the European Commission whether they wish to opt out of the new EU GE cultivation approvals. GE crops, which have divided Europe regarding their safety, remain a hot button issue across the continent. Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Department of Agriculture (USDA) granted nonregulated status to the “Innate” potato, approving yet other GE crop for U.S. agriculture that has insufficient testing and no labeling. According to Reuters, a new EU law approved in March 2015 clarifies the process for approving new GE crops after years of previous deadlock. Now this new law gives individual EU countries more flexibility over the cultivation of GE crops and the right to opt out by prohibiting GE crops even after they have been approved by the European Commission. Previously, EU-approved GE crops had to be permitted in all EU states. In a letter obtained by Reuters, the German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt has informed German state governments of […]

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27
Aug

Medical Journal Article Identifies Hazards of Pesticides in GE Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, August 27, 2015) Last week, Philip J. Landrigan, M.D., and Charles Benbrook, Ph.D., released a perspective article, GMOs, Herbicides, and Public Health, in the New England Journal of Medicine  that outlines  the hazards associated with food residues of  elevated pesticide use in the production  of genetically engineered (GE) crops. While mainstream media continuously misses the central issue  in the GE debate by asserting that these crops are merely an extension of selective breeding and effect a reduction in pesticide use, the authors  focus on  the significance of the actual increase in herbicide use and weed resistance in herbicide-tolerant crops. Drs. Landrigan and Benbrook offer two main recommendations in their article: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should delay implementation of its decision to permit the use of Enlist Duo (the 2,4-D herbicide used with  Monsanto-engineered GE herbicide-tolerant  crop), and  the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should  require labeling of GE foods and couple it with adequately funded, long-term postmarketing surveillance. Dr. Landrigan, Dean for Global Health at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, is an epidemiologist and pediatrician and one of the world’s leading advocates of children’s and environmental health. Dr. Benbrook is a research professor at the […]

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18
Aug

Decline in Biodiversity and Pest Problems Intricately Linked

(Beyond Pesticides, August 18, 2015) Research looking at corn production  across the Northern Great Plains finds that fields with lower insect biodiversity are at greater risk for pest problems, showing that insect diversity can reduce the need for pesticides, yet again highlighting the critical need for biodiversity in a resilient and sustainable food production system. The research article, Trading Biodiversity for Pest Problems, is published in the July 31 issue of Science Advances, and explores how current chemical-intensive  practices have resulted in altered pesticide use patterns, land use intensification, and landscape simplification, all of which threaten biodiversity in and near farms. The findings suggest that farming practices that promote insect biodiversity is  an effective way to control pests without the use of harmful pesticides. Scientists Jonathan Lundgren, PhD, an entomologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture—Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), and Scott Fausti, PhD, an economics professor at South Dakota State University looked at insect diversity in cornfields on 53 different eastern South Dakota farms. The researchers evaluate fields that do not use insecticides or crops that are genetically engineered (GE), which may  influence corn insect communities. They also specifically identify insect species during the time in the corn’s life cycle […]

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12
Aug

Town of Plattsburgh, NY Tackles Pesticides and GMOs in Non-Binding Resolution

(Beyond Pesticides, August 12 2015) Last week, the City of Plattsburgh, New York, unanimously approved a policy that encourages city departments and city residents to reduce and eventually eliminate their use of toxic pesticides, such as neonicotinoids and glyphosate. In the same resolution, city residents and department heads are also encouraged to refrain from genetically modified organism (GMO) cultivation, though they recognize there is very little of that taking place within Plattsburgh city limits. While this policy can only be used to discourage the use of pesticides and GMOs, not implement an outright ban, due to preemptive New York state law that occupies the field of pesticide regulation, city officials are hopeful that they will be able to use their influence to implore the state of New York and U.S. legislators to take statewide and nationwide measures on the production of GMO crops and to curb the use of toxic pesticides. The language of the resolution, sponsored by Councilman Mike Kelly, cites the health of honey bees and other insects as one of the main reasons for encouraging citizens to refrain from the use of pesticides in the practice of lawn care and beautification. It also specifically names neonicotinoids as […]

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30
Jul

USDA Allows Introduction of 2,4-D-Tolerant GE Cotton in Response to Roundup Resistance

(Beyond Pesticides, July 30, 2015) Despite concerns for human and environmental contamination, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) adds 2,4-D-tolerant cotton, a genetically engineered (GE) crop, to the list of unregulated GE crops, joining 2,4-D resistant corn and soybeans. Last week, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) division of USDA released its decision on Dow AgroSciences’ petition to deregulate the 2,4-D resistant GE cotton. The decision was signed off by Michael J. Firko, the Deputy Administrator of Biotechnology Regulatory Services. In September of last year, Deputy Firko also signed the determination paperwork that deregulated GE corn and soybean. The deregulation essentially releases the GE organism from the regulatory requirements of 7 CFR part 340 or the plant pest provisions of the Plant Protection Act. Dow’s GE cotton, part of the Enlist Weed Control System, is resistant to 2,4-D choline, glufosinate, and glyphosate. Growers in the cotton industry have been vying for the GE cotton to enter the market in order to combat herbicide-resistant weeds due to the broad scale use of Monsanto’s RoundUp (glyphosate), which continues to fail across the agricultural industry due to weed resistance. Glyphosate is a phosphanoglycine herbicide that inhibits an enzyme essential to plant […]

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29
Jul

Passage of the DARK Act Sheds Light on Next Steps for Opposition

(Beyond Pesticides, July 29 2015) The  Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015,  H.R. 1599, often referred to as the “DARK” Act or Denying Americans the Right to Know what is in their food, passed the U.S.  House of Representatives last week by a vote of 275-150. Backed largely by House Republicans, the DARK Act makes it harder for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require mandatory national labeling of genetically engineered (GE) organisms and strengthens current policies that allow companies to voluntarily label foods containing GE products, an option they rarely choose to do. The bill also continues to allow misleading “natural” claims for food that contain GE ingredients. Most concerning, however, is the prohibition  that H.R. 1599 would place  on states’ authority to require labeling of GE ingredients in food products, instituting federal  preemption of state and local authority. While the bill was being debated on the floor, co-sponsors Representatives Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) repeatedly cited a lack of scientific evidence that GEs were dangerous to support the passage of the bill, ignoring arguments from the opposition that people should be able to know what is in their food, regardless of whether it […]

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10
Jul

Connecticut Bans Toxic Lawn Pesticides in Municipal Playgrounds Statewide

(Beyond Pesticides, July 10, 2015) The Connecticut General Assembly last week passed legislation banning toxic lawn pesticides on municipal playgrounds, effective October 1, 2015. In the omnibus budget implementation  Bill 1502  at Section 448  (p.563 at line 17579). The bill  also improves the existing parents’ pesticide notification system by requiring school districts to provide at least 24-hour electronic notification any time a pesticide application is schedule to occur on school property (Secs. 445 and 446), as well as requiring and tracking the use of pesticides and integrated pest management (IPM) methods to reduce pesticide use on state properties (Sec. 449). “As we have recognized for many years in Connecticut, children are particularly endangered by pesticides — because these chemicals accumulate in kids’ growing bodies faster than for the rest of us,” said Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, House Chairman of the Education Committee, which drafted the 2005 and 2009 laws prohibiting pesticide use on school fields.    “This measure represents a great step forward for our state, safeguarding our children from these toxic chemicals on town playgrounds — and ensuring that parents get notice when pesticides are used at public schools,” he added. “Time and time again pesticides have been shown to […]

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09
Jul

Federal Judge Overturns Maui GE Crop Moratorium

(Beyond Pesticides, July 9, 2015) Last week, a federal judge ruled that a voter-passed ban on the cultivation of genetically engineered (GE) crops in Maui is preempted by federal and state law, and is invalid. According to the SHAKA Movement legal counsel, the decision, at least temporarily, invalidates a local ordinance that sought to protect against serious harms caused by these practices, and ignores the harms to Maui county and the Hawaii Constitutional mandate placing obligations and duties on the counties to protect the natural environment. In addition to the SHAKA Movement, Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice have pledged to appeal the decision. “The District Court’s ruling is a big blow to Maui County voters that adopted this ordinance, given the dangers involved with GMO operations,” said  SHAKA spokesperson Mark Sheehan, PhD, who was also one of the five citizens who sponsored the ballot initiative. “We do intend to appeal this decision and are hopeful that the 9th Circuit will recognize the impact that today’s ruling has on the community.” In November 2014, Maui residents passed a ballot initiative prohibiting the growth, testing or cultivation of GE crops in Maui County until an environmental and public health study can […]

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24
Jun

Popular Weed Killer 2,4-D and Lice Treatment Lindane Classified as Carcinogens

(Beyond Pesticides, June 24, 2015) The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has found that there is some evidence in experimental animals that the popular herbicide, 2,4-D, is linked to cancer and now classifies it as a Group 2B, “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” IARC also classified lindane, used commonly in the U.S. as a topical lice treatment, in Group 1,“carcinogenic to humans” based on sufficient evidence in humans with the onset of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). These latest cancer findings come just months after the agency classified the world’s most widely used herbicide, glyphosate (Roundup), as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” raising public concerns on the lack of action from U.S. regulators. This month, 26 experts from 13 countries met at the World Health Organization’s (WHO) IARC in Lyon, France to assess the carcinogenicity of the insecticide lindane, the herbicide 2,4-D, and insecticide DDT. The findings are published in the Lancet. The new IARC findings come months after the agency classified glyphosate, the ingredient in the popular Roundup weed killer, as a Group 2A “probable” carcinogen, citing sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity based on laboratory studies. This decision sparked renewed calls for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action on […]

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23
Jun

Air Force Veterans Who Used Agent Orange Contaminated Aircraft May Be Compensated

(Beyond Pesticides, June 23, 2015) After years of denial and obstruction, Air Force and Air Force Reserve veterans now have the chance to receive compensation for their exposure to the highly toxic herbicide Agent Orange on contaminated aircraft used after the Vietnam War. Affected veteran’s health issues stem from their time spent on UC-123 transport planes, which during the war were outfitted with spray equipment in the American military’s attempt to eliminate forest cover for Vietcong fighters. After the war, these aircraft were returned to use in the United States for basic transport operations such as cargo shipping and medical evacuation missions. However, these planes never underwent any form of decontamination or testing before being repurposed. Though the Agent Orange Act of 1991 stipulated medical care and disability coverage for sick veterans who  served in the Vietnam War and were exposed to Agent Orange, those who flew in contaminated post-war planes were deemed ineligible. Prior to this recent announcement from the Department of Veteran’s affairs, government officials asserted that the “dried residues” of Agent Orange were not likely to pose a health threat to aircraft crew. However, a study published by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine in […]

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12
Jun

Cornell University Releases GE Moths without Thorough Evaluation of Risks

(Beyond Pesticides, June 12, 2015) Without input from or notification to the public, Cornell University  has released genetically engineered (GE) diamondback moths at its  agricultural experiment station in Geneva, New York. The university is testing a new way to  control agricultural  pests, much to the dismay of environmentalists. The moths, which are engineered to be autocidal (self-killing), pose a possible threat to the certification of organic farmers and create environmental risks. Environmental groups such as Food and Water Watch, Center for Food Safety, and Friends of the Earth, among others, sent a letter expressing concern over the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s assessment process, which neglected to address  the possibility of moth movement past the trial area, and the impacts that diamondback moth declines will have on their natural predators and the larger ecosystem. These groups are recommending that  all outdoor trials be stopped until more information is available. Cornell has partnered with Oxitec, a self-described  pioneer in using advanced genetics to control target  insects. They plan on controlling the population growth of these GE moths through their genetic design that kills the moth  in the larval stage on plants. Normally, these larvae feed on crops such as broccoli and […]

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02
Jun

Federal Judge Upholds Ban on GE Crops in Oregon County

(Beyond Pesticides, June 2, 2015) A federal judge released a ruling Friday rejecting a request by two alfalfa farms to overturn the ban on GE crops in Jackson County, Oregon. In his decision, U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Clarke found the ban on GE crops is not preempted by the state’s Right to Farm Act, thereby allowing the ordinance to become effective on June 5. The ordinance, which bans the cultivation, production and distribution of GE crops within the county passed overwhelmingly last May with 66 percent support. This decision is an important victory for farmers of organic and non-genetically engineered crops, who constantly struggle with the threat of GE contamination. “We have always felt this was a strong case,” explained Tom Buchele, attorney with Earthrise Law Center, “but it was very encouraging to get such a strong and well-written opinion that affirms what we have argued since the beginning: communities have the ability under the Right to Farm Act to protect traditional agricultural crops from contamination from GMOs.” Magistrate Judge Clarke rejected the legal challenge by two GE alfalfa growers, Schulz Family Farms and James and Marilyn Frink, who claimed that the Jackson County GE crop ban violated Oregon’s Right […]

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22
Apr

EPA’s Expansion of 2,4-D Enlist Duo Challenged

(Beyond Pesticides, April 22, 2015) A coalition of conservation, food safety, and public health groups filed a motion Monday challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s decision to expand the use of “Enlist Duo” on genetically engineered (GE) corn and soybean crops to nine additional states: Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and North Dakota. Enlist Duo, which contains the toxic herbicide, 2,4-D, was approved by EPA to be used on 2,4-D-resistant crops, despite concerns for human and environmental contamination. The motion was filed in the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals by Earthjustice and Center for Food Safety on behalf of Beyond Pesticides, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, Environmental Working Group, the National Family Farm Coalition, and Pesticide Action Network North America. This motion builds on the coalition’s earlier challenge of Enlist Duo, which already includes six Midwestern states where EPA previously first approved the herbicide’s use on GE corn and soybean crops. Another legal challenge cites EPA’s  failure to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) regarding the impact of the herbicide on two endangered species —the whooping crane and the Indiana bat— with the approval of Enlist Duo for […]

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19
Mar

Final Suit Routing Genetically Engineered Crops and Related Practices from Refuges

(Beyond Pesticides, March 19, 2015) A federal court ruled Monday against the use of neonicotinoid insecticides linked with destruction of bee colonies and other beneficial insects in national wildlife refuges in the Midwest region.  The ruling caps a legal campaign to end the planting of genetically engineered (GE) crops and other industrial agricultural practices on national wildlife refuges across the country. The federal lawsuit was filed by Center for Food Safety (CFS), Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), Sierra Club, and Beyond Pesticides. The suit focused on farming contracts for five refuges in four Midwestern states (IL, IA, MN and MO) and sought to force the Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS), which operates refuges, to stop these practices until it completes rigorous analyses of their environmental impacts. Beset by this litigation, this past July FWS decided that it will phase out the use of GE crops to feed wildlife and ban neonicotinoid insecticides from all wildlife refuges nationwide by January 2016.  This new policy still allows for case-by-case exceptions. In the March 16, 2015 ruling, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ordered: “By no later than APRIL 15, 2015, Defendants shall file a Notice indicating the extent to which neonicotinoid pesticides […]

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