Warning: this one is a downer.
Let me start with a little history:
- U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White ruled that, in 2005, USDA illegally approved Monsanto’s sugar beets in September 2009.
- That ruling was upheld in August 2010 and future plantings of GM sugar beets were banned. In this second ruling, “Federal Judge Jeffrey White issued a stinging rebuke to the USDA for its process on approving new genetically modified seeds. He ruled that the agency’s practice of “deregulating” novel seed varieties without first performing an environmental impact study violated the National Environmental Policy Act,” Tom Philpott of Grist writes.
- Despite this, the USDA went ahead an issued permits for GM sugar beet planting after the ruling. As a result, another judge ordered those plants be dug up and destroyed.
- The USDA ignored the court order again earlier this year and deregulated Monsanto’s GM sugar beets (under pressure from the Obama administration, which is keen on making the regulatory process easier for the agribusiness industry to sail through, and industry itself of course).
- And that brings us to the most recent news….
Well-performed environmental assessments of Monsanto’s GM sugar beets would very obviously put them in bad light and hinder their approval. But the USDA (or somebody with strong influence on it) has come up with a good solution — let Monsanto perform the environmental impact study!
Yes, as indicated in the title, the USDA is letting GMO companies “check themselves” and make sure their products don’t have too much negative environmental impact. Well, I wonder what they will come up with….
Seriously, with the history of misrepresentation, suppression of data, and disregard for human or environmental health in this industry, the conclusions are pretty clear to me: 1) this is f***ed up and 2) the Obama administration’s USDA is bought (and skirting the law).
My suggestion? Take action against GMOs now.
The USDA announcement regarding this new policy is here in the Federal Register for April 7, 2011 [PDF].
More on this story is available on Grist: USDA moves to let Monsanto perform its own environmental impact studies on GMOs.