sábado, julio 06, 2013

US regulation of GM crops severely criticized

Title : US Regulation of GM Crops Severely Criticized 
Date : 17 June 2013

Dear friends and colleagues  
Re: US regulation of GM crops severely criticized  
The US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) has announced that it will produce an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for crops genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicides 2,4-D or dicamba (Item 1). It is suspected that this is due to overwhelming public pressure and critique over its past poor governance of these crops and herbicides - over 400,000 comments from the public have been submitted on the issue. Dicamba and 2,4-D have been known to travel over long distances, harming other crops, vegetation and beneficial insect habitats. The herbicides have also been linked to cancers in farmers and farm workers who apply them. Herbicide-resistant crops have also resulted in infestations of herbicide-resistant weeds in many states in North America, presenting huge problems and costs for American farmers.
However, critics maintain that even with the EIS, the USDA regulation of GE crops is extremely weak (Item 2). Thus far, the USDA has failed to fully adhere to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to seriously consider more sustainable alternatives to approving the engineered crops without restriction, such as the use of crop rotation or cover crops. In its press release, the USDA has stated that it will be using its regulatory authority under the Plant Protection Act (PPA) only to determine whether 2,4-D- or dicamba-resistant crops are plant pests. The PPA will ultimately determine whether USDA decides that these crops have unacceptable risks. Since plant pests are usually pathogens or parasitic plants, it is unlikely that USDA will find that these herbicide-resistant crops are plant pests, even if they can do considerable harm. In fact, while the USDA also has authority under the PPA to determine whether a GE crop is a noxious weed, it has failed to exercise this although doing so would give it much greater scope for determining risk than under the plant pest provisions.  
With best wishes,
Third World Network
131 Jalan Macalister
10400 Penang

Item 1
Andrew Pollack, New York Times
10 May 2013  

Item 2 
USDA to Tackle 2,4-D-Resistant Engineered Crops Without Needed Regulations
Doug Gurian-Sherman
Union of Concerned Scientists, May 13 2013

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