Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Dow and Nature Conservancy

From the Heartland, Margot McMillen writes:
        As we've seen, genetic engineering of crops to resist Roundup has resulted in Roundup-resistant weeds all over the Midwest. That is, weeds that can't be killed with this herbicide that killed everything 20 years ago.  Industry's solution is to create a new class of genetically altered crops that resist a different herbicide, and they've chosen to use 2,4 D, created by Dow Chemical and other manufacturers. It is obvious that the new poisons will follow the same route as the old poisons, creating new superweeds that will require new genetically altered solutions.
        To ramp up production of 2,4D, figuring that they'll need tons of the stuff, they're shmoozing with Texas. And, to make the new production a public relations success, they've recruited the Nature Conservancy to manage land around the plant and evaluate the effectiveness of nature in clean up.
         According to a brochure they've been distributing around Freeport, Texas, on the Brazos River, the lucky winner community will reap the investment of "more than $4 billion" and "more than 325 new jobs" after "4,500 construction jobs" to build the plants.
        The Nature Conservancy will contribute by:
        "Publishing papers in appropriate peer-reviewed scientific journals to describe the
results from the Freeport pilot; Identifying three green infrastructure projects at Dow sites where the team can determine the viability of natural infrastructure supplanting man-made engineered
solutions; Integrating ecosystem services data into Version 2 of BESTCAT, releasing the
new version, and publishing a paper on its capabilities and practical applications in scientific literature."
        So, while thousands of new acres of cropland in the Midwest are impaired and thousands of new cases of human cancer and Parkinson's are risked, Dow will be able to claim the environmental high ground around their plant in Texas.