Organic Farmers Win GMO Fight in Jackson County, Oregon
A federal judge in Jackson County, Oregon, recently upheld a consent decree that designates the region a "GE-free zone," a ruling which officially protects the decree from appeal, granting new protections to farmers, consumers and the environment.
That means organic and traditional farms in Jackson County will be protected from chemicals produced by Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont and other biotech giants. The ruling follows the passage of other similar ordinances in at least eight U.S. counties, including in Hawaii, California and Washington, along with another Oregon county. As the Washington Post pointed out on Monday, more bans are on the horizon, with Costilla County in Colorado pushing for its own GE-free zones.
"GE-Free Zones like Jackson County are important to the future of our food because they allow farmers to grow traditional and organic crops without risk of transgenic contamination," George Kimbrell, senior attorney with the Center for Food Safety (CFS), said.
The judge's ruling, which came in late December 2015, approved the decree that was issued in response to a case brought by two GE farmers last February. With the financial support of the biotechnology lobby, the farmers challenged a 2014 ordinance that prohibited GE crop cultivation, seeking to overturn the ban on the grounds that it violated Oregon law.
However, Federal Judge Mark D. Clarke came down on the side of organic and traditional farmers, ruling that the ban was allowed under the state's Right to Farm Act.
"U.S. farmers and consumers have a right to say 'no' to Monsanto’s damaging and pesticide-driven business model," Kimbrell said in December 2015.
Elise Hingley, executive director of Our Family Farms Coalition, added, "After years of fighting, farmers like myself can finally go to bed at night knowing our crops will be protected from GE-contamination."
Under the terms of the decree, the GE farmers will be able to keep their limited crop of alfalfa in the ground for the remainder of its useful life. However, they will not be able to plant additional crops and must enact safeguards against cross-contamination, which means Jackson County is on its way to being "a GE-free sanctuary," CFS said in a statement.
"Until we have those restrictions on a federal level, until we have liability on the patent holder for contamination, then we need these zones in order to have any alternative to the current dominant paradigm of the GE crop systems," Kimbrell told the Post on Monday.
Jackson County's case "is important in that it makes clear that farmers growing traditional crops have the right to adopt local laws to protect their crops against GE contamination," Earthrise Law Center attorney Lia Comerford said. "This has always been a David and Goliath battle and we are very pleased Jackson County’s ban on GE crops will stand."
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
By Stacy Malkan
Neil deGrasse Tyson has inspired millions of people to care about science and imagine themselves as participants in the scientific process. What a hopeful sign it is to see young girls wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the words, "Forget princess, I want to be an astrophysicist."
As Trevor Noah noted during The Daily Show episode last night (starts at 2:25), the real reason Trump has these rallies is to "get back in front of his loyal crowds and feed of their energy." Noah believes that "Trump supporters are so on board with their dude he can say anything and they'll come along for the ride."
By Katie O'Reilly
Two years ago—long before coal became one of the most dominant and controversial symbols of the 2016 presidential election—Bloomberg Philanthropies approached production company RadicalMedia with the idea of creating a documentary exploring the U.S. coal mining industry. Last spring, they brought on Emmy-nominated director Michael Bonfiglio, tasked with forging a compelling story out of the multitudes of facts, statistics and narratives underlying the declining industry.
The Sierra Club released a new analysis Friday that found that transitioning all 1,400+ U.S. Conference of Mayors member-cities to 100 percent clean and renewable electricity will significantly reduce electric sector carbon pollution nationwide and help the U.S. towards meeting the goals of the Paris climate agreement.
Watch above as Newsy explains that the decision comes despite serious concerns from the environmental and scientific community, and Tribal Nations about a declining, isolated grizzly bear population with diminishing food resources and record-high mortalities.
By Francine Kershaw
Seismic airguns exploding in the ocean in search for oil and gas have devastating impacts on zooplankton, which are critical food sources for marine mammals, according to a new study in Nature. The blasting decimates one of the ocean's most vital groups of organisms over huge areas and may disrupt entire ecosystems.
And this devastating news comes on the heels of the National Marine Fisheries Service's proposal to authorize more than 90,000 miles of active seismic blasting. Based on the results of this study, the affected area would be approximately 135,000 square miles.
By Jill Richardson
Is coconut oil:
- good for you
- bad for you
- neither good nor bad
- scientists don't know
The subject of this question is the source of a disagreement. Initially, the question was thought to be settled decades ago, when scientist Ancel Keys declared all saturated fats unhealthy. Coconut oil, which is solid at room temperature, is a saturated fat.