On September 30th, a congressional oversight committee conducted the second of two hearings on the issue of herbicide-resistant “superweeds” created by unregulated cultivation of genetically engineered, Roundup Ready crops. The focus of the hearing is on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s failure to take action against the rapid evolution of weeds resistant to Roundup (glyphosate), which now infest over 10 million acres of U.S. cropland.
According to testimony from by PAN partner Center for Food Safety: “USDA has stood idly by while Roundup-resistant weeds infest ever more cropland, triggering big increases in herbicide use, higher weed control costs for farmers, abandonment of soil-conserving no-till cultivation, and in some cases even reversion to manual weeding crews not seen for decades. Meanwhile, pesticide companies are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to develop a host of new crops resistant to older, more toxic herbicides like 2,4-D, a component of the Vietnam War’s Agent Orange. This short-sighted response will lead to more toxic pollution of the environment and evolution of still hardier weeds, accelerating the pesticide treadmill.” CFS also offered testimony at the first hearing in July, noting that several federal courts have ruled that USDA’s lack of oversight of biotech crops has violated U.S. environmental laws.