Underlined is my direct input...
President Barack Obama
Tom Vilsack, Secy. Of Agriculture
Cindy Smith DVM, MBA, Administrator
This message is meant to document yet another proposed violation of human rights, and request a cease and desist of allowing ANY corporate/government /organization liaison to overlook or allow basic food contamination.
If you are intentionally or negligently allowing agricultural warfare in yet another crop, then please just announce that America is under siege through the very government agencies we pay to protect us. When did any government agency have a right to sanction or allow biological contamination of major food crops? Please play God and shorten life span or depopulate a country on some other planet.
Should you allow this corporate invasion of our primary right to choose what we eat, or have something safe to eat, you not only will be seen as criminals in the history books, but you and yours will most likely succumb from the same GMO greed and ignorance that you have helped promulgate.
Would you please just do your job, and help heal the world and leave it a better place, starting with your own obligations and responsibilities in the position this country's citizens have entrusted you (or at least hoped for).
I am writing to strongly oppose the USDA's proposal to allow the commercial planting and sale of of genetically engineered, "Roundup Ready" sugar beets before the agency has completed the court-ordered review of that crop's impacts (Docket No. APHIS-2010-0047).
The USDA's proposal violates environmental laws that are meant to ensure that agencies analyze potential environmental and socioeconomic impacts before they take action, not allow those activities to continue under another name while they undertake that analysis. The proposal also violates the law because it allows commercialization under provisions meant only for research, making an end-run around actually making a commercial approval decision.
As a consumer I am harmed by the loss of my right to choose non-GE foods. The harm to me happens because the sugar made from biotech beets is made by a production system that I know is harmful to the environment and farmers, regardless of the differences between biotech-derived sugar and other sugars. These harms include the risk of transgenic contamination of organic and non-GE crops, the creation of resistant "super weeds" from the overuse of Roundup, and the impacts of Roundup on biodiversity and protected species. Allowing commercialization to continue will not only eliminate my choice to choose non-GE food, but it will prejudge the agency's forgone conclusion to eventually commercialize again.
The USDA has proposed an unprecedented scheme with measures it claims will ensure harm such as transgenic contamination won't happen. But those measures have never been analyzed by our government for any biotech crop. They are the same measures that the Federal Court refused to adopt in August of this year. These measures should not be adopted now, at least not without a full Environmental Impact Statement analyzing their efficacy.
Additionally, the USDA's track record at overseeing biotech crops in field trials is abysmal, as numerous government reports have concluded (GAO 2008, USDA IG 2005). The failings of the USDA's field trial oversight have led to dozens of contamination episodes and billions of dollars in lost markets and businesses, such as with genetically engineered rice and corn. The USDA's actions belie its rhetoric of concern for non-GE crop growers, and continue to undermine its credibility. The USDA refused to disclose to the public a major contamination episode that came to light just a few weeks ago when GE bentgrass was discovered to have contaminated at least 20 square miles in eastern Oregon. GE bentgrass is not commercially approved and the contamination is believed to have spread from a field trial that ended more than five years ago. Congress even required USDA to improve its oversight of field trials in the 2008 farm bill, an order USDA has ignored. Now the USDA is claiming that its system of field trials is sufficient to contain an entire industry across the country. The measures should not be adopted at least without a full EIS.
The companies claiming economic harm from the failure to plant biotech beets in 2011 - Monsanto, Syngenta, and other agro-chemical giants - have not disclosed what conventional seed stock they have to plant if they cannot plant biotech beets. Any claims of economic harm to them are speculative and a result of their own gambling, since these companies have known since 2008 that they should plan to revert to conventional beets since it was likely biotech beets would again be illegal. Biotech beets are illegal and they threaten the environment through transgenic contamination and weed resistance, and consumers by inhibiting the fundamental right to choose.
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