A Weekly News Update on Pesticides, Health and Alternatives
See PANUPS updates service, for complete information.
August 24, 2006
USDA violates law with GMO field tests: According to federal judge J. Michael Seabright, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) violated the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act when they failed to conduct even preliminary impact studies before issuing permits to ProdiGene, Monsanto, Garst Seed and the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center that allowed them to grow genetically modified drug-producing corn and sugarcane in Hawaii. The plaintiffs in the case- Center for Food Safety, Pesticide Action Network North America, Friends of the Earth, and the Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance KAHEA-sued USDA in November 2003, represented by Earthjustice and Center for Food Safety. Plaintiffs also challenged USDA's practice of concealing the locations of trials from the public, and in most cases not disclosing the substances being grown in the plants. This ruling is the first federal court decision involving “bio-pharm” crops, and an important step toward prohibiting hazards and irresponsible field testing of these crops. The New Standard has the story; read the court decision here.
U.S. EPA cuts public access to information: Even before Congressional review, EPA political appointees are shutting down important research libraries in anticipation of budget cuts from the Bush administration. Shutting down EPA's libraries will remove a valuable environmental resource from the public realm and reduce the transparency of EPA decision-making. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), representing three unions of 10,000 EPA staff scientists and other staff, is protesting the September 30th deadline to shut down regional libraries in Chicago, Dallas and Kansas City. PEER announced this week that “public access to EPA libraries and collections will end as soon as possible,” and 80,000 original documents that are not electronically available will be boxed up and shipped for eventual 'digitizing,' though there are no funds directed for this purpose. “What is going on inside EPA is positively Orwellian,” says Jeff Ruch, executive director of PEER.
“Bad Actor” chemical sprayed in Santa Barbara; residents are fighting back: Naled, an organophosphate linked to endocrine and developmental health problems, was sprayed in Santa Barbara, California, after the discovery of three Oriental fruit flies. DDVP, a breakdown product of naled, is a known carcinogen and listed in California's Proposition 65 law requiring notice of chemical hazards. Residents reported feeling sick after the spraying and are planning actions to ensure the use of safer alternatives. Read more on the Santa Barbara Independent website.
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