[permaculture] Fwd: [SANET-MG] courts order beets be offed

Lawrence F. London, Jr. venaurafarm at bellsouth.net
Wed Dec 1 09:55:35 EST 2010

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [SANET-MG] courts order  beets be offed
Date: Wed, 1 Dec 2010 09:46:47 -0500
From: joe cummins <jcummins at UWO.CA>

The federal court ordered the GM beets planted in defiance of the law
must be removed.
Federal Court Orders First-Ever Destruction of a GMO Crop
Posted on November 30, 2010 by center for food safety

Court Orders Removal of Genetically Engineered Sugar Beet Seed Crop;
Finds Government and Monsanto rushed to illegally plant herbicide
resistant crop

Today Federal District Judge Jeffrey S. White issued a preliminary
injunction ordering the immediate destruction of hundreds of acres of
genetically engineered (GE) sugar beet seedlings planted in September
after finding the seedlings had been planted in violation of federal
law. The ruling comes in a lawsuit filed by Earthjustice and Center for
Food Safety on behalf of a coalition of farmers, consumers, and
conservation groups. The lawsuit was filed on September 9, shortly after
the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) revealed it had allowed the
seedlings to be planted.

The court outlined the many ways in which GE sugar beets could harm the
environment and consumers, noting that containment efforts were
insufficient and past contamination incidents were “too numerous” to
allow the illegal crop to remain in the ground. In his court order,
Judge White noted, “farmers and consumers would likely suffer harm from
cross-contamination” between GE sugar beets and non-GE crops. He
continued, “the legality of Defendants’ conduct does not even appear to
be a close question,” noting that the government and Monsanto tried to
circumvent his prior ruling, which made GE sugar beets illegal.

Paul Achitoff of Earthjustice, lead counsel for the plaintiffs, said,
“USDA thumbed its nose at the judicial system and the public by allowing
this crop to be grown without any environmental review. Herbicide
resistant crops just like this have been shown to result in more toxic
chemicals in our soil and water. USDA has shown no regard for the
environmental laws, and we’re pleased that Judge White ordered the
appropriate response.”

Plaintiff Center for Food Safety’s Senior Staff Attorney George Kimbrell
said, “Today’s decision is a seminal victory for farmers and the
environment and a vindication of the rule of law. The public interest
has prevailed over USDA’s repeated efforts to implement the unlawful
demands of the biotech industry.”

The plaintiffs—The Center for Food Safety, Organic Seed Alliance, High
Mowing Organic Seeds, and the Sierra Club—had immediately sought a court
order to halt the planting. On September 28 Judge White ruled that
USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) had violated
the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by allowing the plantings
without analyzing the potential environmental, health, and socioeconomic
impacts of growing GE sugar beets. Judge White heard testimony from the
parties during a three-day hearing in November before issuing today’s

Monsanto created “Roundup Ready” crops to withstand its Roundup
herbicide (with the active ingredient glyphosate), which it then sells
to farmers together with its patented seed, for which it charges farmers
a substantial “technology fee.” Earlier this year, the Department of
Justice announced it had opened a formal investigation into possible
anticompetitive practices in Monsanto’s use of such patented crops.
Growing previous Roundup Ready crops such as soy, cotton, and corn have
led to greater use of herbicides. It also has led to the spread of
herbicide resistant weeds on millions of acres throughout the United
States and other countries where such crops are grown, and contamination
of conventional and organic crops, which has been costly to U.S.
farmers. There is also evidence that such herbicide-resistant crops may
be more susceptible to serious plant diseases.

In an earlier case the court ruled that USDA had violated NEPA by
allowing the crop to be commercialized without first preparing an
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). In August the court made any
future planting and sale unlawful until USDA complies with federal law.
(USDA has said it expects to complete an EIS in spring 2012.) But almost
immediately after the ruling, USDA issued permits allowing companies to
plant seedlings to produce seed for future Roundup Ready sugar beet
crops, even though the crops are still illegal to grow, and no EIS has
been prepared. The seed growers rushed to plant the seed crop in Oregon
and Arizona, apparently hoping to outrun the legal action to stop it. In
this latest case, USDA argued that the seedlings were separate from the
rest of the sugar beet crop cycle and had no impact by themselves, but
Judge White rejected this. He found that the law requires USDA to
analyze the impacts of not only the seedlings, but the rest of the
Roundup Ready sugar beet production process as well, before any part of
that process can begin.

Courts have twice rescinded USDA’s approval of biotech crops. The first
such crop, Roundup Ready alfalfa, is also illegal to plant, based on the
vacating of its deregulation in 2007 pending preparation of an EIS.
Although Monsanto appealed that case all the way to the Supreme Court
and the High Court set aside part of the relief granted, the full
prohibition on its planting – based on the same initial remedy granted
here, the vacatur – remains in place.

This case is Center for Food Safety v. Vilsack, No. C10-04038 JSW (N.D.
Cal. 2010).

Ege order can be viewed here:

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