US court notes GMO concerns

January 2017
Photo: Creative Commons
A US court has ruled that Federal law doesn't prevent States and Counties from passing their own local laws to regulate or ban commercial growing of GM crops.

Most importantly, the court acknowledged that growing GM raises "several well-documented concerns", including economic impacts due to gene pollution, and environmental impacts from increased use of pesticides, superweeeds, pest-resistance, and reduced biodiversity.

This is significant because GM crops and life-destroying chemicals are inseparable. 

Glyphosate is a weed-killer, but also a bacteriocide with the potential to decimate the huge and vital microbial life of the soil [1,2] along with the animals and plants which depend on them.  New biotech crops will be resistant to, and treated with, multiple herbicides, each with its own side-effects on the soil, and each only ever tested in isolation.

Bt insecticides reduce spraying because they're already inside the growing GM plants.  These insecticides, directly or indirectly, harm vital soil fungi [3].  New biotech crops will generate several Bt toxins at once, each only ever tested in isolation.

The latest thing in GM is with multiple Bt-genes and multiple herbicide-tolerances in the same crop. 

We could find ourselves growing a whole range of soil-annihilating biotech plants, whose real-life consequences have never been explored.

Above-ground problems are already looming.   Globally, animal pollination directly affects the yield and/or quality of some 75% of nutritionally important crops, including soya and oilseed rape (both largely GM in some regions).  No one can have missed the news that our honey-bees have been dying en mass.  The decline in wild pollinator species has been  recorded as 50% in several European countries. A major UN report on all the many factors which are threatening our pollinators included a (very short) section on GM crops.  It gives scant information, because there's little to give beyond the identification of five  risks which need "further evaluation", "further study", "further research".

There're plenty of reasons there to induce US local authorities to exercise their right to ban GM crops.

On the question of 'further study', the US regulators have a loophole in place.  While approval or banning of commercial GM crops is in the hands of those who will be directly exposed to them, the growing of experimental crops lies entirely in the hands of the US Department of Agriculture which seems to be happy to grow just about anything the biotech industry wants to create.

OUR COMMENT



It seems that in the Land of the Free, the citizens can't do anything to protect their own or their environment's health from whatever weird, wonderful and novel creations the biotech industry and its pals in the USDA want to try out: they're expected to swallow it, breathe it, wade through it, and pay for it.  Once it's been commercialised, however, and the pollution's out there and already doing any damage it's going to do, they are legally free to try to avoid it.  Freedom to bolt the stable door ... ?

Background:
[2]  GLYPHOSATE DAMAGES SOIL - September 2016
[3]  FUNGI DON'T LIKE Bt CROPS - September 2016

SOURCES:
  • Local Governments Can Prohibit GE Crops, Says U.S. Court of Appeals, www.ecowatch.com, 19.11.16
  • Decline of bees 'puts a billion jobs at risk and three-quarters of the world's crops at risk' , www.thenational.scot, 29.11.16

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