Whether you’re ecstatic or completely against the USDA’s decision to deregulate Roundup Ready alfalfa, there’s no argument that it has caused a fierce fight that probably won’t go away for some time. Another effort designed to bushwhack RR alfalfa is even more ridiculous than before and hard to fathom.
When USDA finally decided to deregulate RR alfalfa without restrictions, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) immediately declared that it was ready to file a lawsuit. The announcement was expected from the organization that convinced a federal judge in 2007 to halt planting of RRA seed and ordered the USDA to submit an Environmental Impact Statement.
The CFS has been taken to task in Harry Cline’s columns and there’s no one better when it comes to taking off the gloves and exposing those who claim to be watching out for the folks. In his Western Farm Press Feb. 12 column he summed up by saying, “Hate to keep hammering at this point, but these radical environmental groups do not truly care about the environment. They want to bring down Monsanto and corporate America.”
When deregulation was announced the CFS warned growers who wanted to plant RRA seed that the organization would file suit again. Then in mid-February Hay & Forage Grower magazine quoted the CFS attorney who said, “We’re going to challenge under the National Environmental Policy Act again, this time arguing that the EIS (environmental impact statement) is inadequate. Secondly, we’re going to challenge under the Endangered Species Act.”
The CFS is maintaining that the USDA should have consulted with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service on RRA’s impact on endangered species. Can’t wait to hear how CFS will try to link RR alfalfa or any other biotech to endangered species. The charge that the EIS is “inadequate” is another ludicrous charge. They were ecstatic when the federal judge mandated an EIS. The USDA began their task in 2007 and no other biotech crop has been scrutinized like RRA, but that didn’t keep the CFS from crying foul.
CFS claims it has 175,000 members and the organization isn’t shy about asking for donations to support lawsuits. It maintains that it was founded to “protect human health and the environment by curbing the use of harmful food production technologies...” But as Cline noted in his column... “there has been no single incident of any person being harmed physically by a biotech food.”
The anti-biotech group should be required to study the achievements of the late Dr. Norman Borlaug who is often called the father of the Green Revolution. His development of high yielding wheat varieties is credited for saving as many as 1 billion people worldwide from starvation. In a speech given in 2003, Borlaug pointed out that “we’ve been genetically modifying plants and animals for a long time. Long before we called it science, people were selecting the best breeds.”
He went on to say, “I have no doubt yields will keep going up, whether they can go up enough to feed the population monster is another matter. Unless progress with agricultural yields remains very strong, the next century will experience sheer human misery that, on a numerical scale, will exceed the worst of everything that has come before.”