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CONTAMINATION & REGULATION: Oregon Department of Agriculture (USA) demands eradication of escaped GE bentgrass



                                  PART 1


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TITLE:   COBA PRESSES SCOTTS FOR BENTGRASS PLAN

SOURCE:  Capital Press, USA

AUTHOR:  Mitch Lies

URL:     http://www.capitalpress.com/oregon/ml-coba-letter-021111

DATE:    10.02.2011

SUMMARY: "Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Katy Coba has asked The Scotts Co. and USDA to reveal their plans for eradicating genetically modified bentgrass that escaped several years ago from Idaho trials sites into Eastern Oregon. [...] ?Both the State Board of Agriculture and the ODA want to emphasize the importance of successfully eradicating the regulated (bentgrass) and are requesting a written response detailing the eradication plan,? she wrote."

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COBA PRESSES SCOTTS FOR BENTGRASS PLAN

SALEM -- Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Katy Coba has asked The Scotts Co. and USDA to reveal their plans for eradicating genetically modified bentgrass that escaped several years ago from Idaho trials sites into Eastern Oregon.

Coba in letters dated Jan. 5 wrote that the ODA ?is very concerned about glyphosate-tolerant creeping bentgrass in Malheur County, Ore.?

?Both the State Board of Agriculture and the ODA want to emphasize the importance of successfully eradicating the regulated (bentgrass) and are requesting a written response detailing the eradication plan,? she wrote.

An Oregon State University scientist last fall determined that genetically modified bentgrass developed by Scotts had escaped from two Canyon County, Idaho, test fields and was spreading in and along irrigation canals in Malheur County, Ore.

The Scotts Co. planted the bentgrass in 2005 and took out the fields in 2006. Weed scientist Carol Mallory-Smith identified the genetically modified plants after testing samples sent to the OSU laboratory by farmers who found they couldn?t kill it with Roundup herbicide.

The grass has been genetically modified to resist the effects of Roundup, whose active ingredient is glyphosate.

Coba said she hasn?t received a response from either party.

When asked how long she would wait, she said, ?I?ll be meeting with APHIS (on an unrelated issue the week of Feb. 14-18). I will certainly ask them at that time.

?It is an APHIS permit, so it is under a federal purview,? Coba said. ?I am just wondering what their plan is for dealing with this.?

Coba said she expects Scotts to pay for the eradication.

Also in the letter, Coba wrote: ?After the existing sites are taken care of, we?d like to discuss a Scotts-funded survey of other high-risk areas in Oregon.?



                                  PART 2

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TITLE:   TURF SECTOR WANTS SOFTER RULES ON GENETICALLY-MODIFIED GRASS SEED

SOURCE:  Horticulture Week, USA

AUTHOR:  Gavin McEwan

URL:     http://www.hortweek.com/channel/Turf/article/1051608/Turf-sector-wants-softer-rules-genetically-modified-grass-seed/

DATE:    28.01.2011

SUMMARY: "The prohibition of the development and release of genetically-modified grass seed is ?an impasse that should be broken?, Lindum Turf managing director Stephen Fell told the BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition show. He said that fluctuations in rainfall and temperature combined with political and economic pressures meant future varieties would require greater durability and disease resistance and lower maintenance requirements than those currently available. ?The cost of mowing is rising steadily,? he said."

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TURF SECTOR WANTS SOFTER RULES ON GENETICALLY-MODIFIED GRASS SEED

The prohibition of the development and release of genetically-modified grass seed is ?an impasse that should be broken?, Lindum Turf managing director Stephen Fell told the BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition (BTME) show.

He said that fluctuations in rainfall and temperature combined with political and economic pressures meant future varieties would require greater durability and disease resistance and lower maintenance requirements than those currently available.

?The cost of mowing is rising steadily,? he said. ?Oil is up to $98 (£61) a barrel and fertiliser prices track that. As population increases, water use is becoming a serious issue and amenity use will be at the bottom. Already the Environmental Agency is making it harder to renew abstraction licences.?

He added that traditional breeding ?is getting there, but slowly? and said concerns over ?Frankenstein crops? should be overcome. ?Politicians are still terrified of the backlash. We need to send a message to them about the potential benefits - but we won?t know what those are until we try.?

Barenbrug breeds new amenity seed varieties in France and the Netherlands, but tests extensively in the UK. UK research and development manager Jayne Leyland said: ?We are very much a traditional breeder and have made remarkable progress on disease tolerance and cold temperature germination. But we would keep an open mind to GM and to other developments.?

A representative of another seed supplier declined to comment, saying it was ?such an emotive issue?.