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8-Misc: Greenpeace won first round of Bt law suit



-------------------------- GENET-news ---------------------------

TITLE:  Greenpeace wins first round in EPA lawsuit to ban Bt
        crops
        Reuters poll shows farmers not waiting for decision but
        moving away from Bt seeds
SOURCE: Greenpeace Press Release, sent by Agnet, Canada
DATE:   January 19, 2000

----------------- archive: http://www.gene.ch/ ------------------


Greenpeace wins first round in EPA lawsuit to ban Bt crops
Reuters poll shows farmers not waiting for decision but moving
away from Bt seeds

WASHINGTON -- A top court has agreed to hold the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency accountable for its decision to
legalize the planting of genetically modified crops. In the
opening session of Tuesday¹s oral hearings against the EPA, Judge
Louis F. Oberdorfer of the Federal District Court of Washington,
D.C., stated he would "hold [EPA¹s] feet to the fire" and ordered
the agency to respond to Greenpeace¹s charges within 60 days.

Last February, Greenpeace and a coalition of over 70 plaintiffs,
including the Center for Food Safety and the International
Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements, sued the EPA,
charging the agency with the wanton destruction of the world's
most important biological pesticide‹Bt. This natural pesticide
has been used sparingly by organic farmers for years but is now
under threat from genetically engineered crops.

Scientists warn that corn genetically engineered with the Bt
pesticide in each of its cells could lead to insect resistance
within 3 to 4 years, thereby wiping out the effectiveness of Bt
for organic farmers. By aiding in this process, the EPA may force
the use of more and newer pesticides in the near future. Studies
also have shown pollen from Bt corn to be toxic to monarch and
other butterfly larvae.

"This is a great, first legal victory for the environment and for
farmers who do not plant genetically modified seed," said
Beverley Thorpe of the Greenpeace GMO campaign. "It is essential
we get these gene-altered crops off our fields and out of our
environment."

Market rejection of Bt corn has cost U.S. farmers more than $200
million in export revenue last year. A recent Reuters poll of 400
farmers (taken at the annual meeting of the nation¹s largest farm
organization, the American Farm Bureau Federation) predicted a 24
percent decline in the planting of Bt corn and a 26 percent
decline in the planting of Bt cotton this year. Currently, Bt
corn is grown on approximately 20 million acres in the U.S., and
Bt cotton on about 7 million acres.

Greenpeace is calling on the EPA to halt all new and current
licenses for genetically engineered crops in the U.S., and to
urgently reevaluate the promotion of genetically engineered
agriculture with an eye toward focusing funding on sustainable
agriculture. 


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