GENET archive


6-Regulation: Missouri and Michigan (USA) State laws on banning regulations for GE crops

                                 PART I
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TITLE:  Michigan Senate panel approves GMO farming bill
SOURCE: Associated Press / News Channel 3 ABC, USA
DATE:   22 Mar 2006

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Michigan Senate panel approves GMO farming bill

LANSING, Mich. A divided Michigan Senate panel has approved legislation
that would prevent local governments from barring the planting of
genetically modified crops, as has been done in California. Five
California counties and cities have restricted farmers from growing
genetically modified organisms since 2004. The Michigan bill pre-empts
similar measures in that state.

The Republican-led panel voted three-to-two to send the bill to the full
Senate, despite objections from Democrats who say it would jeopardize
people's safety.

Fourteen states have passed similar laws since local governments in
California began adopting ordinances that regulate or ban the use of
genetically modified seeds.

                                 PART II
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TITLE:  Senate considers ban on regulations for genetically modified crops
DATE:   15 Mar 2006

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Senate considers ban on regulations for genetically modified crops

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- An ordinance from a sparsely populated northern
California county has some Missouri lawmakers worried that local
regulation of genetically modified crops could hamper agriculture's
future in the state.

Mendocino County, Calif., banned all genetically modified crops and
animals in March 2004, prompting activists to attempt to do the same in
four other counties. They were successful in one.

Since then, 14 states have banned local regulation of the types of seeds
farmers can use and another five _ including Missouri _ are considering bans.

The Senate Agriculture Committee on Wednesday approved a bill that would
give the state responsibility for the "registration, labeling, sale,
storage and planting of seeds," while also barring local governments and
the state from adopting regulations that exceed federal requirements. A
similar bill is pending in a House committee.

With half of the states bordering Missouri adopting or considering bans
on local regulations, Sen. David Klindt said the state risks falling
behind its neighbors in the race to attract agricultural industries and
research if local governments start creating more restrictive regulations.

"We need to continue to send a very clear message that Missouri is very
open to biotechnology, because not only will farmers have the ability to
produce food, but we will be able to heal people," said Klindt, R-Bethany.

Klindt, a farmer in rural northwest Missouri, is not a rookie to the
issue of genetically modified seeds and crops. After first trying
unsuccessfully to grow crops in southeast Missouri, a Sacramento, Calif.-
based biotechnology company planned to relocate to Klindt's district.

Ventria Bioscience planned to cultivate rice containing human genes for
growing proteins that could treat ailments such as diarrhea and
dehydration. But delays in state financing prompted the company to drop
its plans.

Sen. Rob Mayer said biotechnology has a great future, but it doesn't mix
with rice because the public _ and thus brewers, baby food makers and
cereal companies that buy it from farmers _ refuse to buy rice if it has
been genetically engineered.

Mayer, R-Dexter, said banning all local regulation of seeds increases the
chances that genetically engineered rice will find its way into food
crops and leave rice farmers unable to sell their product to anyone.

"Rice is a unique commodity because it's directly consumed by humans," he
said. "So there is a higher level of scrutiny for that product."

Nick Kalaitzandonakes, an agricultural economist at the University of
Missouri-Columbia, said it costs between $7 million and $15 million for
researchers to meet federal regulations. The existing costs already make
it difficult for universities and smaller companies to compete with the

"Would you let every municipality decide how much fluoride they want to
put in the water? Would you let them decide independently whether they
drive on the left side or the right side of the road?" Kalaitzandonakes
asked. "There are some things that in the absence of a homogenous
standard become too expensive to function."

But some environmentalists and at least one consumer group argue that
federal regulations are consistent because they're almost non-existant.

Rhonda Perry, program director for the Missouri Rural Crisis Center in
Columbia, said there aren't local efforts in Missouri to regulate
biologically engineered seeds, so the bill would needlessly trump local

"We, as local citizens, will be giving up all our rights," she said.

Agricultural committee leaders earlier in the session decided to sidestep
a possible showdown over the local regulation of large-scale animal
feeding operations. In response to farms that feed hundreds or thousands
of animals in large barns, nine Missouri counties have enacted health
ordinances to impose restrictions beyond the state regulations.

Seed bill is HB1842 and SB1009
On the Net:

European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

Hartmut MEYER (Mr)
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