$3 Million Earmarked for 'Government-Controlled Propaganda Campaign to Convince Americans GMOs Are Safe'
The recently passed Congressional budget that averted government shutdown will allocate $3 million to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to promote "the environmental, nutritional, food safety, economic and humanitarian impacts" of biotech crops and genetically modified (GMO) ingredients in food to consumers—many of whom are wary of the products.
While the specifics of the campaign are yet unclear, the measure calls for the "publication and distribution of science-based educational information."
According to the Washington Post, more than 50 agriculture and food industry groups said the funding is needed to counter "a tremendous amount of misinformation about agricultural biotechnology in the public domain."
But Rep. Nita M. Lowey (D-NY) opposed the measure, describing it as government-sponsored GMO propaganda.
"It is not the responsibility of the FDA to mount a government-controlled propaganda campaign to convince the American public that genetically modified foods are safe," Lowey said during a congressional hearing. "The FDA has to regulate the safety of our food supply and medical devices. They are not, nor should they be, in the pro-industry advertising business."
"Clearly, communication of the benefits of biotechnology from the scientific community has not gone well, and this presents an opportunity to engage with the public in a more meaningful dialogue," Mark Rieger, the dean of the University of Delaware's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, told The Post. "We see it as a communication issue, not a political one."
The Post reported that Rep. Robert B. Aderholt (R-Ala.), the chair of the House agriculture appropriations subcommittee and defender of the GMO education funding, received $10,000 from agritech giant Monsanto in 2016.
"This is a really clear example of big ag influencing policy," said Dana Perls, the senior food and technology campaigner for Friends of the Earth. "The Trump administration is putting big ag before consumer desire and public health ... Consumers do not want this."
The European Commission, the European Union's executive arm, announced Tuesday it has opened an in-depth investigation into Bayer's proposed $66 billion takeover of Monsanto over "concerns that the merger may reduce competition in areas such as pesticides, seeds and traits."
The controversial merger, if successful, will form the world's largest integrated seed and pesticide company.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt appears in a video sponsored by the beef industry calling on farmers and ranchers to file official comments on a proposal to withdraw and rewrite the Obama-era "Waters of the United States" rule (or WOTUS) before the Aug. 28 deadline.
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) video was produced by the beef lobbying organization's policy division, Beltway Beef and was released last week. Notably, NCBA spent $117,375 in lobbying last year.
Two years ago, Stanford University professor Mark Jacobson and his collaborators published a widely circulated study that detailed how the U.S. can eliminate nuclear, biofuels and fossil fuels and transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.
Now, in a paper published Wednesday in the new scientific journal Joule, Jacobson and 26 co-authors created clean energy roadmaps not just for the 50 United States, but for 139 individual countries.
The effects of climate change is inextricably linked to human health. The burning of fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that traps heat in the atmosphere, causing global temperatures to spike, air quality to worsen, all while fueling droughts, floods and storms that impact food and water security.
By Steve Horn
Energy Transfer Partners, owner of the Dakota Access pipeline, has filed a $300 million Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) lawsuit against Greenpeace and other environmental groups for their activism against the long-contested North Dakota-to-Illinois project.
In its 187-page complaint, Energy Transfer alleges that "putative not-for-profits and rogue eco-terrorist groups who employ patterns of criminal activity and campaigns of misinformation to target legitimate companies and industries with fabricated environmental claims and other purported misconduct" caused the company to lose "billions of dollars."
In a study published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Research Letters, Harvard postdoctoral fellow Geoffrey Supran and professor Naomi Oreskes reviewed nearly 200 communications on climate change from the oil giant, including scientific research, internal company memos and paid editorial features in the New York Times.
The U.S. District Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 Tuesday saying that the Federal Environmental Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) failed to adequately review the environmental impacts of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the fracked gas Sabal Trail pipeline, which runs more than 500 miles through Alabama, Georgia and Florida.
As ocean waters warm and acidify, corals across the globe are disappearing. Desperate to prevent the demise of these vital ecosystems, researchers have developed ways to "garden" corals, buying the oceans some much-needed time. University of Miami Rosenstiel School marine biologist Diego Lirman sat down with Josh Chamot of Nexus Media to describe the process and explain what's at stake. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.