For starters, the NOFA Interstate Council has joined in a group
initiative along with the International Federation of Organic
Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) and 30 other organic and environmental
groups across the country to petition EPA to suspend all transgenic Bt
registrations under the auspices of Greenpeace and their legal
department. Filed in mid-September, the EPA has 90 days to respond,
whereupon the action may evolve into a full-blown lawsuit. The petition
also claims that EPA violated its own laws and procedures by not
conducting environmental impact studies or fulfilling other requirements
before issuing the transgenic Bt registrations.
The National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture has also organized an
action alert/letter writing campaign open to all telling the EPA to act
on the aforementioned Plant Pesticide Rule to impose valid resistance
management plans on Bt crops as a condition of their registration.
Public outreach. A number of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
projects are using their newsletters and member connections to make
shareholders aware of the issue. Local newspaper press article responses
and letters to the editor are also important. The public and consumers
should realize that the loss of Bt will affect them -- the alternatives
to Bt will require the large scale use of a great number of highly toxic
chemical pesticides. Communities also now face the loss of safe Bt
control of mosquitoes and blackflies which not long ago finally replaced
toxic aerially applied pesticides.
Finally, as organic farmers and gardeners we need to address our own
dependency on Bt -- it may well be a goner. One way is to augment the
effectiveness of natural bio controls by integrating increased
beneficial habitat right into the field. Ongoing experimentation on
farms across the country with a "bio-strip intercropping" system that
utilizes permanent sod/wildflower strips between raised beds to provide
food and cover for beneficial organisms as well as erosion protection
and a host of other integrated functions is working well. On our farm,
this is the third season in a row that we haven't used any pest control
inputs at all.
"Return to the Stone Age of Pest Management". Testimony at an EPA Public
Hearing in March, 1997 by Dr. Charles Benbrook and Dr. Michael Hansen on
behalf of the Consumers Union. www.pmac.net/stoneage.htm
Greenpeace/group petition to EPA. Also, links to extensive information
on biotechnology. www.greenpeace.org/~comms/genindex.html
Midwest Biological Control News, October 1997, "Bt corn and European
Corn Borer". Newsletter also contains an excellent monthly feature --
"Know Your Friends" about beneficial insects, microorganisms, etc.
Subscriptions $12/year. Dept. of Entomology, University of Wisconsin,
Madison, WI 53706
National Campaign for Sustainable
Agriculture P.O. Box 396, Pine Bush,
NY 12566 914/744-8477
"The Ram's Horn -- A Monthly Newsletter of Food System Analysis"
Brewster Kneen, Editor P.O.Box 3028, Mission, B.C. Canada V2V 4J3
Subscriptions $20/year. An excellent overview of the global biotech
industry at work.
130 Ruckytucks Road
Stillwater, NY 12170
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