ACTION ALERT: URGE USDA TO SUPPORT EPA'S PLANT-
Four years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) proposed rules that would regulate the commercial
uses of crops genetically engineered to produce their
own pesticides, including Bt insecticidal crops.
Finally, after years of deliberation, the Agency has but
one major administrative hurdle remaining before the
final revised rules can be published. The White House
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has to sign off-as
it does on all major administration actions.
But, even at this late stage, the rules are vulnerable.
A small group of academic scientists continues to try to
weaken the rules. Their concerns about "overregulation"
are not widely shared, even by the biotech industry. But
the scientists continue to delay the process. They have
had ample opportunity to air their concerns both to
Congress and the Agency-it is time for the government to
EPA needs help if it is to clear the final hurdle.
That's where USDA comes in. Strong support from the
Department of Agriculture is critical to gaining OMB's
Write to Dan Glickman, the Secretary of Agriculture, and
tell him to weigh in at OMB on behalf of EPA's plant-
Consider making these points in your own words:
--Engineered pesticidal crops pose risks like the loss
of Bt and alteration of soil ecosystems and should be
--The plant-pesticide rules are critical to the
regulation of Bt crops. Without them, EPA may not have
the authority in the future to oversee Bt crops or
require resistance management plans.
--The plant-pesticide rules, which fill a major gap in
the US regulatory framework for biotechnology, are long
overdue. It has been 14 years since the federal
government first proposed a regulatory scheme for
The Honorable Dan Glickman, Secretary
US Department of Agriculture
14th St. and Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20250
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