The Center for Food Safety released a report on September 24, 2013 that showed the acreage of non-genetically engineered crops on federal refuges is essentially the same as when genetically engineered plants were allowed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
There had been a prediction of reduced acreage after a federal lawsuit ruled in favor of non-genetically engineered crops being planted on federal wildlife refuges. The suit was brought by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and the Center for Food Safety (CFS).
The title of the press release is “GE Crop Ban Did Not Crimp Refuge Agriculture”. You can read the full press release at www.centerforfoodsafety.org/press-releases/2591/ge-crop-ban-did-not-crimp-refuge-agriculture.
There had been opposition by some farmers in the Southeastern US that stated requiring non-genetically engineered (GE) crops would cause farmers to leave the program. One farmer was quoted as saying it was too much trouble to get non-GE seeds and to follow procedures required to raise non-GE crops.
The conclusions in the press release were:
“Contrary to those dire warnings, the region’s refuge farming program continued with conventional, non-GE crops without missing much of a beat. Refuge farming records collected by PEER show that –
- The total number of refuge acres under cultivation this year without GE crops was comparable to the prior year with heavy reliance on GE crops (32,484 acres versus 34,098 acres);
- There was still widespread planting of the three principal crops of corn, wheat and soybeans, without dramatic decreases. For example, soybeans (a crop dominated nationally by GE seeds) declined only slightly from 13,620 to 12,224 acres planted; and
- Farmers increased their reliance on other crops, such as millet, rice, clover and sunflowers, which are more beneficial to birds and pollinating insects.”
The U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled that the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) had to stop planting GE seeds in federal refuges in the SE refuge region. He also ruled that the FWS had to monitor and remove any GE plants that remained through 2014.
The status of CFS/PEER lawsuits in the Southeastern and Northeastern US against GE planting has GE planting declared illegal. The suit in the Midwest was still being litigated as of November 2012.
There are more details of this ruling at www.centerforfoodsafety.org/press-releases/735/after-halt-to-planting-court-orders-eradication-of-unlawful-ge-plants-on-southeastern-wildlife-refuges.
Keeping GE plants out of federal refuges will lessen the damage of GE crops and seeds on wildlife. As the evidence is slowly being released, GE plants are harmful in themselves with regard to impact on animal reproductive systems, liver and kidney damage and causing extensive tumors. The damage done to wildlife is beyond the damage done to plants, land and water supplies from residual glyphosate that remains after application of Roundup and other herbicides.
Please contact Senator Sherrod Brown, Senator Rob Portman and your local US Representative. For many of those in the 15th District, which includes Columbus,OH the contact is Representative Steve Stivers. Let them know that you want their support in the CFS and PEER court case to ban GE seeds and crops in the Midwest region for federal refuges.
You can contact Senator Portman at www.portman.senate.gov/public/. Senator Brown can be reached at www.brown.senate.gov/contact/. If you want to make a call to either Senator’s local or Washington offices, the websites have the telephone numbers. Congressman Stivers can be contacted at stivers.house.gov/contact/.
Keeping GE seeds and crops out of federal refuges is a step towards reversing the trend to eliminate non-GE seeds and crops from being planted across the US and on a global basis. The federal judges are applying environmental protection mandates to federal wildlife reserves. There needs to be an extension of these environmental protections to prevent the continued contamination of organic and non-GE farms from Monsanto, DuPont and other agribusiness seed suppliers in the US, and on pollution of the air, water and earth from these herbicides and pesticides.