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Aug 13 2010

VICTORY!

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FEDERAL COURT RESCINDS USDA APPROVAL OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED SUGAR BEETS

ORDER BANS PLANTING OR SALE OF CONTROVERSIAL CROP. COURT DENIES MONSANTO REQUEST TO ALLOW CONTINUED PLANTING

Today Judge Jeffrey White, issued a ruling granting the request of plaintiffs Center for Food Safety, Organic Seed Alliance, High Mowing Organic Seeds, and the Sierra Club to rescind the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) approval of genetically engineered “Roundup Ready” sugar beets (Center for Food Safety v. Vilsack, No. C08-00484 JSW [N.D. Cal. 2010]).

In September 2009, the Court had said the USDA had violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by approving the Monsanto-engineered biotech crop without first preparing an Environmental Impact Statement. The crop was engineered to resist the effects of Roundup for Monsanto’s the patented seed.

Roundup Ready crops increase the use of herbicides and contamination of conventional and organic crops.

In today’s ruling the Court officially “vacated” the USDA “deregulation” of Monsanto’s biotech sugar beets and prohibited any future planting and sale pending compliance with relevant laws.

Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety, stated, “This is a major victory for farmers, consumers and the rule of law.  USDA has once again acted illegally and had its approval of a biotech crop rescinded.  Hopefully the agency will learn that their mandate is to protect farmers, consumers and the environment and not the bottom line of corporations such as Monsanto.”

Paul Achitoff of Earthjustice, said: “Time and again, USDA has ignored the law and abdicated its duty to protect the environment and American agriculture from genetically engineered crops designed to sell toxic chemicals.  Time and again, citizens speaking truth to power have taken USDA to court and won.”

In his order, Judge White noted that USDA’s “errors are not minor or insignificant, and his “concern that Defendants are not taking this process seriously.”  He also pointed out that “despite the fact that the statutes at issue are designed to protect the environment,” USDA and the sugar beet industry focused on the economic consequences to themselves, yet “failed to demonstrate that serious economic harm would be incurred pending a full economic review….”

This is the second time a Court has rescinded USDA’s approval of a biotech crop.  Roundup Ready alfalfa, is also illegal to plant. Although Monsanto took that case all the way to the Supreme Court and the High Court made a prohibition on planting GMO sugar beets.  The federal courts have also held illegal USDA’s approval of biotech crop field trials, including the testing of biotech grasses in Oregon and the testing of engineered, pharmaceutical-producing crops in Hawai’i.

This information was taken from the true food network

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