Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Fight back against Obama's deregulation of GM alfalfa

Thursday, February 03, 2011
Ethan A. Huff

On January 27, 2011, the Obama Administration caved to Monsanto and decided to fully deregulate its genetically-modified (GM) alfalfa, a horrendous move that threatens to destroy not only the entire organic industry, but also the integrity of the whole of agriculture. And according to reports, the Obama White House pressured U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) chief Tom Vilsack to approve it based on its own political agenda, rather than on evidence proving its safety, none of which actually exists.

When Monsanto first convinced the USDA back in 2007 to approve GM alfalfa without having to provide a shred of evidence that it was safe, lawsuits immediately emerged against the agency for its flagrant violation of the law. A federal district judge agreed, ruling that GM alfalfa could not legally be planted until the USDA completed a proper environmental impact statement.

After months of alleged review, the USDA issued its final EIS on December 20, 2010, showing that the GM alfalfa actually poses a significant threat to both organic and conventional agriculture, and that it has the potential to cause widespread contamination through cross-pollination. But in spite of all this, the agency said that continuing to regulate the "frankencrop" was not an option.

In reality, GM alfalfa is completely unnecessary, and it only benefits Monsanto. There is absolutely no evidence proving its safety, and all study into the matter shows that planting the crop is a recipe for worldwide disaster.

"Ninety-three percent of alfalfa hay is grown without any herbicide at all," said Michael Pollan, author and food systems advocate, concerning the absolute pointlessness of introducing GM alfalfa in the first place. He went on to say in a report that GM alfalfa "is a bad solution to a problem that doesn't exist."

But Vilsack decided to cave to pressures from both the White House and the biotechnology industry anyway, reversing his previous stated position that GM alfalfa poses "a significant concern for farmers who produce for non-GE (genetically-engineered) markets at home and abroad." Some sources say he was coerced by Obama insiders to concede to Monsanto's demands against his better judgment.

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