Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Biotech replacing nature

From the Heartland, Margot McMillen writes: Part of the “Biotech Rider” in the new farm bill would prevent environmental analysis on the new genetically altered crops being planned by corporations, except the environmental analysis laid out in the Plant Protection Act. That act was written by corporations for USDA to follow. If the Rider is approved, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would be unable to comment on the introduction of genetically altered salmon to fish farms, even though EPA knows that it’s just a matter of time before GMO salmon escape into the wild and out-compete the normal salmon. To make it even more difficult for mother nature, the money spent by USDA for analysis of the new crop can only be used for analysis required by the Plant Protection Act. This section is only useful if there’s someone that wants to do further analysis, of course. Someone in the academic community, say. But, really, here’s what they’d have to go through, besides getting money from someplace to do analysis. They’d have to get ahold of the seeds, chemicals and land for the experiment, then plant the seeds, apply the chemicals, harvest and analyze the damage to the environment. Really, who could do this? Why bother to put this paragraph in at all? Then, to make it even faster to approve new biotech crops, the writers have penned Section 10014 in which Congress demands a report from USDA to demonstrate that they have reduced “regulatory burdens on research” to get new seeds in the pipeline, “with special emphasis on minor use crops, orphan crops, and sources of protein.” And, if a “category of product…” has already been approved, they should be able to fast track according to this section. Further, the USDA is responsible for “developing and implementing a cohesive national policy for the low-level presence of agronomic biotechnology material in crops, including grain and other commodity crops, for food, feed, and processing." Meaning, ya know, there won’t be any non-GMO crops left on the planet.

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