Author Topic: US Supreme Court lifts ban on sale of GM crop exposing that they work for NWO  (Read 12185 times)

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Offline stangrof

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WASHINGTON, USA (AFP) – The Supreme Court lifted Monday a four-year ban on the sale in the United States of genetically modified alfalfa, which farmers fear contaminates others crops.

A district court judge in California in May 2007 blocked the US biotech giant Monsanto from selling alfalfa seeds that it had genetically modified to resist its Roundup weed killer.

The ruling was upheld on appeal in 2009, but Monsanto went to the Supreme Court arguing that any decision should have awaited the findings of a study by the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

"Until APHIS seeks to effect a partial deregulation, any judicial review of such a decision is premature," the Supreme Court said.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100621/pl_afp/uscourtcompanymonsantofarmbiotech_20100621150216
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Offline Dig

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SCOTUS works for the Eugenics Nazis...ain't no doubt about it now.
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline Satyagraha

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Re: US Supreme Court lifts ban on sale of GM crop
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2010, 11:00:44 am »
This decision makes me sick --- they don't care about our health; in fact, they're quite busy destroying it.

The Soetoro Administration FOOD SAFETY CZAR was a MONSANTO Lobbyist:


====================================
Michael Taylor: Monsanto's Man in the Obama Administration
By Isabella Kenfield
Counterpunch, August 14, 2009
Straight to the Source
http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_18866.cfm

OCA Editor's Note: Write President Obama to oppose the appointment of former Monsanto lobbyist Michael Taylor as a senior adviser to the Food and Drug Administration Commissioner on food safety.

Michael R. Taylor's appointment by the Obama administration to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on July 7th sparked immediate debate and even outrage among many food and agriculture researchers, NGOs and activists. The Vice President for Public Policy at Monsanto Corp. from 1998 until 2001, Taylor exemplifies the revolving door between the food industry and the government agencies that regulate it. He is reviled for shaping and implementing the government's favorable agricultural biotechnology policies during the Clinton administration.

Yet what has slipped under everyone's radar screen is Taylor's involvement in setting U.S. policy on agricultural assistance in Africa. In collusion with the Rockefeller and Bill and Melinda Gates foundations, Taylor is once again the go-between man for Monsanto and the U.S. government, this time with the goal to open up African markets for genetically-modified (GM) seed and agrochemicals.

In the late 70s, Taylor was an attorney for the United States Department of Agriculture, then in the 80s, a private lawyer at the D.C. law firm King & Spalding, where he represented Monsanto. When Taylor returned to government as Deputy Commissioner for Policy for the FDA from 1991 to 1994, the agency approved the use of Monsanto's GM growth hormone for dairy cows (now found in most U.S. milk) without labeling. His role in these decisions led to a federal investigation, though eventually he was exonerated of all conflict-of-interest charges.

Taylor's re-appointment to the FDA came just after Obama and the other G-8 leaders pledged $20 billion to fight hunger in Africa over the next three years. "President Obama is currently embedded in a bubble featuring some of the fervent promoters of the biotech industry and a Green Revolution in Africa," says Paula Crossfield in the Huffington Post. Before joiningObama's transition team, Taylor was a Senior Fellow at the D.C. think tank Resources for the Future, where he published two documents on U.S. aid for African agriculture, both of which were funded by the Rockefeller Foundation.

The Rockefeller Foundation funded the first Green Revolution in Asia and Latin America in the 1960s, and in 2006, teamed up with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to launch the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). In Taylor's 2003 paper "American Patent Policy, Biotechnology, and African Agriculture: The Case for Policy Change," he states: "The Green Revolution largely bypassed sub-Saharan Africa African farmers often face difficult growing conditions, and better access to the basic Green Revolution tools of fertilizer, pesticides, improved seeds, and irrigation certainly can play an important role in improving their productivity."

In an interview with AllAfrica.com, Obama echoed Taylor's sentiment: "I'm still frustrated over the fact that the Green Revolution that we introduced into India in the '60s, we haven't yet introduced into Africa in 2009."

Yet as Crossfield points out, "There are very good reasons why we have never introduced a Green Revolution into Africa, namely because there is broad consensus that the Green Revolution in India has been a failure, with Indian farmers in debt, bound to paying high costs for seed and pesticides, committing suicide at much higher rates, and resulting in a depleted water table and a poisoned environment, and by extension, higher rates of cancer. If President Obama is lacking this information, it is his cabinet that is to blame."

While AGRA may not benefit African farmers, it will certainly benefit Monsanto. Some estimate that Monsanto controls 90 percent of the global market for GM seeds. In Brazil, 54 percent of all soybeans are produced with Monsanto's GM Roundup Ready© seeds, and in 2008, the country began spraying more pesticides and herbicides than the U.S. There is evidence that in 2003, Monsanto sold a Brazilian senator a farm for one-third of its market value in exchange for his help to legalize the herbicide glyphosate (the world's most widely used herbicide), sold by the corporation as Roundup©. In 2008, Monsanto controlled 80% of the Brazilian market for glyphosate, having elevated the price by 50% since its legalization.

The "penultimate draft" of Taylor's 2002 paper was reviewed by Dr. Robert Horsch, a Monsanto executive for more than 25 years, who left in 2006 to work at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It states, "The ultimate concern of this report is how innovative seed technology derived from patented tools of biotechnology can be developed and disseminated for the benefit of small-scale and subsistence African farmers."

Taylor's 2005 paper "Investing in Africa's Future: U.S. Agricultural Development Assistance for Sub-Saharan Africa," was co-authored by the executive director of the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa (PCHPA). Founded in 2000 and based in D.C., PCHPA is a consortium of public-private interests (Gates is one of its primary funders) that includes, among many others, Halliburton, several African heads of state, administrators from several U.S. land grant universities, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Monsanto. According to its web site, Taylor and Horsch both sit on PCHPA's advisory committee. Horsch continues to be listed as Vice President for Product and Technology Cooperation for Monsanto, and a member of PCHPA's working group for Capacity Building for Science and Technology.

Taylor writes of the need to change "archaic, near-subsistence agricultural economies" with a "market-oriented approach and the promotion of thriving agribusinesses." His recipe is globalized, industrial agriculture: "applied agricultural research," "markets for agricultural inputs and outputs", "build rural roads and other physical infrastructure", and "build agricultural export capacity and opportunity." Taylor fails to adequately address how liberalized agricultural policies and unfair U.S. agricultural subsidies have been responsible for the bankruptcy of millions of African farmers. Instead, he maintains, "the financial impact of U.S. domestic cotton subsidies on Mali farmers dwarfs the impact of development assistance from USAID and other agencies."

"Private investment and entrepreneurship are widely understood to be essential. The role of public investment is to provide the critical public goods needed to make private effort attractive and rewarding."

Taylor maintains that due to the constraints of USAID, which has its funds allocated through congressional earmarks and is squeezed by the wards in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. needs an alternative funding strategy for African agricultural development assistance. His proposal is to broaden the reach of the Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a U.S. government agency established in 2004 by President George W. Bush to implement the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA). "MCC is a new government corporation that operates under a different institutional and policy framework and receives funds that are not earmarked," says Taylor. ""The MCA was intended to depart sharply from traditional U.S. development assistance by providing large amounts of assistance to select countries that create an enabling environment for economic growth through market-oriented, pro-growth policies." African countries make up about half of the MCA-eligible countries.

In June 2008, the Rockefeller Foundation issued a press release about the "historic collaboration" between MCC and AGRA. "MCC's investments in agriculture and in public infrastructure such as roads and irrigation complement AGRA's investments in providing the rural poor with seeds and fertilizers to increase their incomes and production," said MCC's CEO Ambassador John Danilovich. The MCC-AGRA partnership focuses on five areas, including "advancing agriculture research, multiplication of seed, and distribution of inputs and technologies to small-scale farmers," and "building roads, irrigation and other agriculture-related infrastructure."

As it arrived in D.C., the Obama Administration received a report from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs titled "Renewing American Leadership in the Fight Against Hunger and Poverty: The Chicago Initiative on Global Agricultural Development." The report was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and co-authored by its senior fellow Catherine Bertini. "The United States should thus remain willing to support research on all forms of modern crop biotechnology by local scientists in Sub-Saharan Africa," it reads.

Taylor's 2007 paper, published by PCHPA and titled "Beating Africa's Poverty by Investing in Africa's Infrastructure," is cited in the Chicago Council report and listed as "key reading on African development" in its appendix. The Chicago Council report makes five specific recommendations, the third being to "increase support for rural and agricultural infrastructure, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa," with a related priority to "accelerate disbursal of the Millennium Challenge Corporation funds already obligated for rural roads and other agricultural infrastructure projects."

While people have been debating about whether Michael R. Taylor might support labeling of GM foods (as he is aware, a moot point in the U.S. due to widespread contamination by GM pollen), he has been literally writing the book on U.S. agricultural aid to Africa. While the motives, beliefs and interests of Taylor, the Obama administration, the Gates, Rockefellers and everyone in support of a Green Revolution in Africa are debatable, those of Monsanto are not.

"Once attached to a pool of foreign aid money, the pressure to open markets to biotechnology will be substantial," points out Food First policy analyst Annie Shattuck.

But what will be the human and environmental costs of unleashing a Green Revolution in Africa? According to the Chicago Council report, the "most respected science academies" have concluded that "genetically engineered crops currently on the market present no new documented risk either to human health or to the environment." Unfortunately, this is false, and the world cannot afford for Obama to follow the advice of those who support a Green Revolution in Africa.

In May, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine called for a moratorium on GM foods: "several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food consumption including infertility, immune dysregulation, accelerated aging, dysregulation of genes associated with cholesterol synthesis, insulin regulation, cell signaling, and protein formation, and changes in the liver, kidney, spleen and gastrointestinal system."     
And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline Valerius

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And there will probably be little if no coverage by the rising bs-wing  media.
"No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck."  -Frederick Douglass

Offline Satyagraha

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USDA stance on GM alfalfa threatens “fabric of organic industry”
http://www.non-gmoreport.com/articles/feb10/usda_gm_alfalfa_threatens_organic_industry.php
Agency said to be protecting Monsanto while ignoring concerns of the fastest growing segments of American agriculture

A draft environmental impact study (EIS) on genetically modified Roundup Ready alfalfa released by the US Department of Agriculture ignores the threat of GMO contamination on organic and non-GMO farming and says organic consumers don’t care about GMO contamination.

Dismisses significance of GMO contamination


USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) released its draft EIS on December 14, 2009, and the Center for Food Safety (CFS) says the document dismisses the significance of widespread contamination of organic and non-GMO alfalfa. A CFS statement says, “It is evident that the USDA has not taken the concerns of non-GMO alfalfa farmers or organic dairy farmers into consideration whatsoever.”

CFS analysis of key findings of the EIS is listed below:

    The EIS dismisses the significant adverse economic effects that GMO contamination will have on organic and non-GMO conventional alfalfa seed or hay growers, and organic and conventional dairy producers that rely upon organic and non-GMO alfalfa hay for forage.

    The EIS’s economic analysis admits that Roundup Ready GM alfalfa will hurt the organic industry and small farmers but it fails to analyze or suggest any possible protections for organic.

    The EIS says there is no evidence that organic consumers care about GE contamination.

The last point is especially ludicrous, says George Kimbrell, CFS staff attorney. “When the initial National Organic Program rule was published, the USDA received 275,000 public comments from people demanding that genetic engineering be excluded from organic food. This is evidence that people do care about GE contamination.”

“Business as usual”

In 2006, CFS sued the USDA for its illegal approval of Monsanto Company’s GM Roundup Ready alfalfa because the agency failed to conduct the National Environmental Policy Act-mandated EIS before deregulating the crop. In February 2007, the US District Court for the Northern District of California sided with CFS and banned GM alfalfa. The court ordered USDA to go back and do what it should have done in the first place—evaluate the environmental and economic impacts of GM alfalfa on the environment, farmers, and the public. 

APHIS’s draft EIS gives a green light to allow unlimited, nation-wide commercial planting of GM alfalfa. The draft EIS states that GM alfalfa, which is resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, is “unlikely to pose plant pest risks and will not result in significant impacts to the human environment.” However, CFS says, “USDA plans to move ahead despite increasing evidence that GM alfalfa will threaten the rights of farmers and consumers, as well as damage the environment.”

“USDA’s announcement is simply business as usual, once again catering to Monsanto’s corporate interests at the expense of farmers and consumers,” stated Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety.

Alfalfa is grown on over 21 million acres, and is worth $8 billion per year (not including the value of final products, such as dairy), making it the country’s third most valuable and fourth most widely grown crop. Alfalfa is primarily used in feed for dairy cows and beef cattle, and also contributes to pork, lamb, sheep, and honey production. Consumers also eat alfalfa sprouts.

“Threatens fabric of organic industry”
GM alfalfa represents a major threat to organic farmers and organic dairy production. Organic farmers use alfalfa for feed and in crop rotations to maintain soil nutrient levels and organic matter, and to prevent nitrogen leaching.

George Siemon, CEO of Organic Valley Family of Farms, says GM alfalfa “threatens the very fabric of the organic industry. In order for dairy products to be marketed as organic, certified organic alfalfa must be used as forage. When contamination of GE alfalfa becomes widespread, organic dairy farmers will no longer be able to give that assurance.”

Organic dairy farmers from coast to coast are alarmed about the threat posed by GM alfalfa. “Genetically engineered alfalfa will be devastating for organic dairy and livestock,” says Albert Strauss, president of Strauss Family Creamery, an organic dairy producer, in Marshall, California. “Alfalfa is one of the main forages we use and too important for us to do without.”

“Once we have Roundup Ready alfalfa, it will be virtually impossible to control the Roundup trait in seed,” says Art Scheele, president, American Organic Seed, based in Warren, Illinois, which sells organic alfalfa seed.

This is because alfalfa is cross pollinated by bees, and pollen will travel easily from GM alfalfa to non-GMO and organic alfalfa. “Even with the best isolation methods, you can’t control bees; they can travel several miles,” Scheele says.

“We are going to get contaminated seed”


Jack Lazor, owner of Butterworks Farm in Westfield, Vermont, says the situation with GM alfalfa is similar to that of canola where GM varieties all but eliminated the organic canola market. “All you have to do is compare what happened with canola, which is also insect-pollinated,” he says. “Why isn’t the same thing going to happen with alfalfa?”

Lazor is particularly concerned about seed contamination because alfalfa seed is grown primarily in limited regions of the western United States. “We are going to get contaminated seed. Those genes will be in our plants, and there will be general contamination of alfalfa,” he says.

Conventional alfalfa farmers are equally at-risk. “Allowing Roundup Ready alfalfa to be grown in fields across America without restriction spells the elimination of farmers like me who grow alfalfa and choose not to use Monsanto’s GM crops,” said Phillip Geertson, a conventional alfalfa seed grower and plaintiff in the lawsuit brought by CFS. “It’s inevitable that the GM pollen will invade conventional and organic alfalfa, making it virtually impossible to grow non-GM alfalfa in just a few years.”

Another problem with the EIS, says George Kimbrell, is that it says there are only two possible outcomes: de-regulate RR alfalfa or not. “They could authorize a partial de-regulation with isolation and use restrictions. They acknowledge that contamination will happen, but they are not even considering any protections for farmers who want to be GM-free. The basic mission of the USDA is to protect American agriculture, not Monsanto.”

(copyright The Organic & Non-GMO Report, January 2010)
Send comments to USDA opposing GM alfalfa

In response to USDA’s head-in-the-sand attitude about the threats posed by GM alfalfa, the Center for Food Safety is encouraging supporters of organic and conventional farming and food to send public comments to USDA. Following the release of the EIS, USDA announced a 60-day public comment period beginning on December 18, 2009. “We are trying to encourage every voice possible—farmers, manufacturers, retailers, and consumers—to raise their concerns with this draft,” says George Kimbrell, CFS staff attorney.

Kimbrell says it is critical that people send comments because this is the first time that USDA has prepared an EIS for any GM crop. “The final, approved EIS will have broad implications for all GM crops,” he says.

“Hopefully the whole organic industry and consumers will get behind this and send comments to the USDA,” says Albert Strauss of Strauss Family Creamery.

In addition USDA is hosting four public meetings about GM alfalfa from mid-January to early February.

Submit Comments to the USDA/APHIS -- by February 16, 2010
http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#submitComment?R=0900006480a6b7a1
And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline Valerius

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Why, Sotomayor sided with fat cats at Monsanto. What a surprise.
"No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck."  -Frederick Douglass

Offline Dig

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Why, Sotomayor sided with fat cats at Monsanto. What a surprise.

her last 4 rulings say she has been taken over by the Goldman Sachs Borg. Her resistance (if it ever existed) was fulite. She is not the Boricua patriot I hoped she might be. Even more evidence in my mind that Kagan will be put in to complete the radical revolution of the psycho banksters takover of this great country. C'mon FBI, NSA, CIA, NRO, SS, DHS, etc., just look at what is going on, how much more obvious does it get?
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline attietewd

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Quote
Submit Comments to the USDA/APHIS -- by February 16, 2010
http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#submitComment?R=0900006480a6b7a1

They aren't even taking comments at this website on this document.  Grrrrrrr. This grinds my azz!
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Offline oyashango

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Monsanto GM seed ban is overturned by US Supreme Court
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2010, 07:25:26 pm »
Monsanto GM seed ban is overturned by US Supreme Court

Monday, 21 June 2010

The bio-tech company Monsanto can sell genetically modified seeds before safety tests on them are completed, the US Supreme Court has ruled.

A lower court had barred the sale of the modified alfalfa seeds until an environmental impact study could be carried out.

But seven of the nine Supreme Court Justices decided that ruling was unconstitutional.

The seed is modified to be resistant to Monsanto's brand of weedkiller.

The US is the world's largest producer of alfalfa, a grass-like plant used as animal feed.

It is the fourth most valuable crop grown in the country.

Environmentalists had argued that there might be a risk of cross-pollination between genetically modified plants and neighbouring crops.

They also argued over-use of the company's weedkiller Roundup, the chemical treatment the alfalfa is modified to be resistant to, could cause pollution of ground water and lead to resistant "super-weeds".

But Monsanto says claims its products were dangerous amounted to "bad science fiction with no support on the record".

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/us_and_canada/10371831.stm

Offline Kakumei

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Re: Monsanto GM seed ban is overturned by US Supreme Court
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2010, 09:56:27 pm »
Grr... I hope my representatives didn't vote for that. I'm betting though, that they folded like the umbrellas they've already turned out to be.
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Offline attietewd

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Re: Monsanto GM seed ban is overturned by US Supreme Court
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2010, 10:13:51 pm »
Quote
Roundup resistant weeds pose environmental threat
By DAVID MERCER Associated Press Writer The Associated Press
Monday, June 21, 2010 4:48 PM EDT
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — When the weed killer Roundup was introduced in the 1970s, it proved it could kill nearly any plant while still being safer than many other herbicides, and it allowed farmers to give up harsher chemicals and reduce tilling that can contribute to erosion.

But 34 years later, a few sturdy species of weed resistant to Roundup have evolved, forcing farmers to return to some of the less environmentally safe practices they abandoned decades ago.

The situation is the worst in the South, where some farmers now walk fields with hoes, killing weeds in a way their great-grandfathers were happy to leave behind. And the problem is spreading quickly across the Corn Belt and beyond, with Roundup now proving unreliable in killing at least 10 weed species in at least 22 states. Some species, like Palmer amaranth in Arkansas and water hemp and marestail in Illinois, grow fast and big, producing tens of thousands of seeds.

"It's getting to be a big deal," said Mike Plumer, a 61-year-old farmer and University of Illinois agronomist who grows soybeans and cotton near the southern Illinois community of Creal Springs. "If you've got it, it's a real big deal."
http://www.atlanticbb.net/news/read.php?ps=1011&rip_id=%3CD9GFHU980%40news.ap.org%3E&_LT=HOME_LARSDCCLM_UNEWS&page=2


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Offline lee51

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Re: Monsanto GM seed ban is overturned by US Supreme Court
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2010, 10:37:36 pm »
Start saving heirloom seeds--non GM and non hybrid. 

The Supreme Court has betrayed the American people. 

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Re: Monsanto GM seed ban is overturned by US Supreme Court
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2010, 01:16:48 am »
If they (monsanto) plant their seeds anywhere NEAR heirloom seeds...they contaminate them.  It's a sin.
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Offline Dig

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Re: Monsanto GM seed ban is overturned by US Supreme Court
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2010, 05:44:22 am »
Greenpeace Warns of
Pollutants Derived From Nanotechnology
http://www.mindfully.org/Technology/2003/Pollutants-From-Nanotechnology25jul03.htm
ANTONIO REGALADO / Wall Street Journal 25jul03

 

Excitement over nanotechnology is attracting billions in government and private funding. But now the hot new science, which deals with manmade structures just a few billionths of a meter in size, is drawing something else: antagonists in the environmental movement.

Fresh from the fight over genetically modified foods, international environmental groups are starting to raise concerns over nanotechnology. Thursday, Greenpeace International called for a moratorium on the release of nanoparticles in commercial products until any risks can be assessed.

A 70-page report commissioned by the group warns that novel microscopic structures being invented in laboratories world-wide could "constitute whole new classes of nonbiodegradable pollutants."

Nanotechnology may one day revolutionize areas from electronics to manufacturing, with analysts projecting a $40 billion to $70 billion market by 2010. Already, some simple nanotech materials are finding their way into consumer products, like automobile fuel lines and tennis rackets. And governments are making major investments in basic research.

So far, there's no evidence nanotech poses much danger. And if predictions play out, the new materials won't only be a boon for industry and consumers, but are also likely to aid the environment. For instance, the Environmental Protection Agency is funding teams to use nanoparticles in advanced water filters and techniques to remediate pollution.

Still, safety questions tend to serve as a dueling ground for opponents with deep ideological differences about how technology is transforming society. The greens hope by raising safety concerns now they can win influence over how the technology plays out.


This carbon nanotube wire (in blue), sitting on top of electrodes, is a mere 10 atoms wide.

"What we want to avoid is the situation where a small group of financially and technologically interested people develop something and thrust it on the rest of the world," said Douglas Parr, chief scientist of Greenpeace UK, which helped lead the largely successful campaign against the introduction of biotechnology crops in Europe.

Environmental groups are concerned that the new generation of materials isn't well regulated. The Greenpeace report warns that the particles could be inhaled, potentially causing harm to humans, or could bind with poisonous metals and help disperse them through the environment.

Mark Modzelewski, director of the NanoBusiness Alliance, a trade group in New York City, says some of environmentalists' fears appear inspired by science-fiction scenarios dealing with swarms of tiny, deadly robots, like those portrayed in Michael Crichton's best-selling novel "Prey."

Though environmental worries represent a new twist, nanotechnology already has generated a fever pitch of interest, fueled by start-up companies seeking to raise funds and develop new products. Phaedon Avouris, a nanotechnology expert at International Business Machines Corp.'s Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., says the attention is starting to bite back. "When people hype the promise, the general public thinks that we are a lot further ahead than we are," he says.

Industry groups are beginning to respond to the latest criticisms. The NanoBusiness Alliance recently formed a panel to look at the risks of nanotechnology, and in June Mr. Modzelewski sat down with environmental groups, as well as officials from the Environmental Protection Agency, to find common ground.

"It wouldn't have happened if we hadn't rattled the chains," says Pat Mooney, executive director of ETC Group, an antiglobalization advocacy organization in Winnipeg, Manitoba, that earlier this year released a report critical of nanotech research.

The ETC report, called "The Big Down," caused a major spat in the United Kingdom after it found its way into the hands of Prince Charles. The Prince of Wales, known for holding a dim view of genetically modified foods, asked his staff to organize a meeting of scientific experts, said a spokesman.

In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency plans to fund $4 million in research to assess possible damage from nanotechnology to ecosystems and humans. Nora Savage, an EPA scientist, says that new nanomaterials aren't currently subject to any special health or environmental regulations. But because they have unusual properties, Ms. Savage says, the EPA is considering whether to regulate nanotechnology more closely.

Nanotechnology supporters fear that the U.S. could fall behind Japan, whose investment in nanotech is higher on a per capita basis. The recently launched U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative is spending more than $700 million a year on research. In addition, the U.S. Army believes the science could yield advanced bulletproof fabrics as well as superweapons. It recently agreed to invest $50 million in a new Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Environmental concerns are being raised just as companies in the U.S. and Japan are planning to make large quantities of carbon nanotubes. The hollow straws of pure carbon atoms are unusually strong and already have been incorporated into some commercial materials.

Bob Gower, head of Carbon Nanotechnologies Inc., says engineers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health visited his company and found that because the tubes clumped together, they weren't likely to be inhaled by workers.

At IBM, the tubes are being put into electronic circuits without special precautions, says Tom Theis, director of physical-science research at the Yorktown facility. "Long term, what you have to think about is if people start making tons of them to go into cloth or automobile bodies, then you have chance for a much more widespread exposure," he says.
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

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A high-profile legal battle over genetically modified crops continues. The US Supreme Court in a 7-1 decision yesterday (June 21) did not accept a lower court’s total nationwide ban on GM alfalfa. But it did agree that the seeds could be dangerous and did not allow Monsanto to proceed with selling them. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) must now complete a study examining whether the seeds will harm the environment before approving them for restricted planting, a process that could go into next year, and which could lead to more litigation.

Why is this such an important issue?

Alfalfa, the fourth most widely grown crop in the US, is fed to dairy cows. Our friends at Center for Food Safety (CFS), on behalf of organic farmers, sued to ban the GM alfalfa out of the very real concern that it would spread uncontrollably and take over US pasturelands. When we wrote about this court case in May, we noted that GM foods cause sterility in hamsters, and that the real long-term risks to human health from these foreign molecules are still unknown. True organic beef and dairy products would become an impossibility since all cows would be potentially exposed to the GM alfalfa.

Some quick background

Monsanto is a multinational agricultural biotechnology company based in Missouri. It is also the leading producer of genetically modified seed, and sells 90% of the US’s GM seeds. Its development and marketing of GM seed and bovine growth hormone, as well as its aggressive litigation, political lobbying practices, seed commercialization practices, and “strong-arming” of the seed industry and especially of farmers have given the company the nickname “the evil empire” in many quarters. In ANH’s opinion, this nickname is well deserved.

Monsanto is the world’s leading producer of the extremely toxic herbicide glyphosate, marketed as Roundup™. Several weed species, known as superweeds, have developed Roundup resistance largely because of repeated exposure. So Monsanto has created genetically engineered crops—soy, corn, canola, cotton, and alfalfa (with wheat currently in development)—which tolerate the herbicide; they are known as Roundup Ready® crops. Alfalfa is different from the others because it will spread and propagate itself without replanting.

The court case

In 2007, a federal district judge found that the USDA had failed to consider the environmental impact before it had approved the GM alfalfa seeds for commercial planting. He then canceled the USDA’s approval of the seeds, and imposed a national ban on planting them. But the Supreme Court, in yesterday’s 7-to-1 decision, found that the lower court judge had gone too far. The blanket ban prevented the USDA from considering a partial approval of the seeds, a process known as deregulation.

Monsanto cheered the ruling and got its version of events into many major media stories. However, the Supreme Court left in place the lower trial court’s ruling barring the USDA from deregulating Roundup Ready alfalfa, and sent the case back down to the lower courts for further proceedings. What this means, as a practical matter, is that the USDA will have to complete the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process, including considering more than 200,000 public comments it has received since issuing a draft EIS in December of 2009.

“It should be no surprise that Monsanto’s PR machine is working hard to spin the truth about the decision,” according to Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety. “Despite what the biotech seed giant is claiming, today’s ruling isn’t close to the victory they were hoping for…. While the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Monsanto by reversing an injunction that was part of the lower court’s decision, more importantly, it also ruled that the ban on GMO alfalfa remains intact, and that the planting and sale of GMO alfalfa remains illegal.”

“This point, which seems to be lost in some news reports, is actually a huge victory,” Kimbrell continued. “The Supreme Court ruled that an injunction against planting was unnecessary since, under lower courts’ rulings, Roundup Ready alfalfa had become a regulated item and was therefore illegal to plant. In other words, the injunction was ‘overkill’ because our [earlier] victory in lower federal court determined that USDA violated the National Environmental Policy Act and other environmental laws when it approved Roundup Ready alfalfa. The court felt that voiding the USDA’s decision to make the crop legally available for sale was enough.”

The L.A. Times quoted Paul Achitoff, a lawyer for Earthjustice, as saying, “To the extent that Monsanto is claiming this a victory, it’s a very hollow one since no one can plant their crops.”