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Citizen’s Initiative Review tackles Jackson County GMO confusion

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Citizen’s Initiative Review is a nonprofit group formed to help clarify the confusion in the voter’s ballot. In 2011, the Oregon Legislature approved House Bill 2634, making the Citizens’ Initiative Review a permanent part of Oregon elections. Created by Healthy Democracy Oregon, the goal is to have 24 randomly selected voters meet and discuss particular ballot measures with the end goal to provide a “citizens’ statement” to be included in the voters’ pamphlet.

Ballot measure 15-119, a measure to ban genetically modified crops in Jackson County, was tackled by the initiative review committee; you can view their findings unfiltered by news media at http://healthydemocracy.org/measure-101.

Looks like arguments in favor are solid logic; the arguments opposed are a rehash of political ads with no solid statistics to back them up.

Arguments in Favor consist of:

  1. Contamination of traditional crops by genetically engineered crops in the Rogue Valley is very likely if genetically engineered crops are grown here. Such contamination is nearly unavoidable.
  2. The three western counties with similar laws to 15-119 have spent zero on enforcement.
  3. There is little difference if you are growing an organic or non-organic seed crop. If your field is contaminated with genetically engineered pollen, then any seeds produced are considered patented and it’s illegal for a farmer to save them for planting or selling them.
  4. The large majority of genetically engineered crops are engineered to withstand high levels of herbicides.
  • Multinational chemical companies are the most active owners of genetically engineered crops and the largest donors to the opposition to Measure 15-119, having already donated over $450,000 to the Measure 15-119 opposition.

Argument in Opposition

  • Measure 15-119 threatens farmers by empowering any citizen or special interest group to file a lawsuit against a grower based solely on suspicion of non-compliance.
  • There is extensive misinformation on GMO’s.
  • This measure produces a long term public policy that will affect every citizen in Jackson County to some degree.
  • Measure 15-119 creates a new government ordinance, that may require hiring and training new staff and add to the county’s operating expenses that already exceed revenue, even while commissioners contemplate budget cuts.
  • Responsible farming has always required communication between neighbors. Jackson County doesn’t need a new costly and inefficient regulatory scheme to mandate common sense.

Thanks Citizen’s Initiative Review!

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