Thursday, July 21, 2011

The USDA “Invasive Species” Sham

Debbie Coffey
The PPJ Gazette

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is the center of one of government’s biggest shams.

As a member of the National Invasive Species Council, the USDA has a mandate to   “not authorize, fund, or carry out actions that it believes are likely to cause or promote the introduction or spread of invasive species in the United States or elsewhere.”

Your taxpayer dollars are paying for the eradication of invasive species like stink bugs and salt cedar.

Meanwhile, more of your tax dollars are funding the vast promotion of the ultimate invasive species: genetically engineered plants and cloned animals.  This includes USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) which was formerly CSREES, Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), Economic Research Service (ERS), Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

Invasive species are any species not native to an ecosystem, and with an intentional or unintentional release, are likely to cause, or does cause, economic or environmental harm, or harm to human health.

Consider this when you see what the USDA has allowed to be field tested in the U.S.:
  • Human genes in barley, corn, tobacco, rice, and sugarcane
  • Mouse genes in corn, along with human genes
  • Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) and Hepatitis B genes in corn
  • Rat genes in soybeans
  • Fruit fly genes in potatoes
  • Pig genes in corn
  • Cow genes in tobacco
  • Jellyfish genes in corn and rice

What else?

In May, 2007 (Greenpeace): “WASHINGTON approved the open field trial cultivation of a genetically engineered (GE) rice that contains human proteins, defying the US rice industry’s opposition to the trial and ignoring the economic impacts that would be caused by contamination of GE-free rice…


The ‘cannibal rice’ is intended to produce drugs for alleviation of diarrhea and if contamination to rice food crops occurs, the effects could be disastrous.

Crossing human genes into rice is bad enough, but to engineer drugs into a food crop and then release it into the environment, is completely insane,” said Jeremy Tager, Agriculture Campaigner with Greenpeace International.”

Common sense should dictate that drug-producing plants should be kept in locked laboratories and not released into our environment.

In 2007, U.C. Davis and Cornell University received permits to field test experimental GE grapes inserted with Trichoderma harzianum, a fungus found in soil, anywhere in California.  Other grapes were genetically altered with “CBI” or Confidential Business Information.  What genes did they use that made them feel the need to hide the information from the public?  And what steps did they take so the grapes weren’t eaten by birds, wildlife or people passing by?  What prevented the dispersal of seed and pollen?

In 2000, GE StarLink corn, which was supposed to be used as animal feed or for industrial use (biofuel), was found in the human food supply.  John Wichtrich, a top Aventis CropScience executive said that the food supply will never be rid of the new strain of corn that their company genetically engineered, and called for a change in federal regulations to allow some level of  StarLink corn in human food.

In 2010, the USDA gave ArborGen permits to plant over 200,000 GE eucalyptus trees on 28 secret sites in 7 southern states.  Eucalyptus trees are wildly invasive, spread into native ecosystems and displace wildlife.  Additionally, the oil in these eucalyptus trees is extremely flammable.  California spends millions each year to eradicate invasive eucalyptus because of the threat of wildfires.

In 2011, the USDA was sued for not doing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) of GE sugar beets.  The USDA then implemented a “partial deregulation” of GE sugar beets, so they could be planted until the USDA completed the EIS for the court.

Now, the USDA is moving from extremely lax oversight to no oversight at all.

Earlier this month, the USDA announced their decision NOT to regulate Scotts Miracle Gro GE strain of Kentucky bluegrass, which is designed to withstand Monsanto’s “Roundup” herbicide.

Jeremy Bloom, in his article “Here Come The Superweeds – USDA Approves Invasive GMO Grass” noted the USDA isn’t doing tests on GE Kentucky bluegrass.  The USDA only did an “assessment.” USDA’s APHIS assessment determined that while the plant meets the definition of a “noxious weed,” Kentucky bluegrass has not been found to cause impacts significant enough to warrant regulation at the Federal level.

Does the USDA only begin to regulate after some disaster, when it’s too late?

The continual spraying of Roundup has given rise to SUPERWEEDS, and farmers are now being forced to apply even more Roundup or more toxic products.

Bloom also notes that Michael C. Gregoire, who oversees biotechnology crop regulation at the Agriculture Department, has no background in either biotechnology or science.  His degrees are in political science and public administration.  He’s been a budget analyst… and the Chief Information Officer of the USDA.  Bloom wonders “How being the department’s PR flack prepares one for making cutting-edge science decisions…”

Reports of risks: 

In 2003, the report “RAISING RISK: Field Testing of Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States” by Richard Caplan, he noted that from 1987-2002, the USDA authorized 15,461 field releases of genetically engineered organisms on 39,660 field test sites spanning 482,226 acres.  Monsanto submitted the most requests (3,309).  USDA rejected only 3.5% of applicants, for incomplete applications or minor paperwork errors.  69% of field tests conducted in 2002 were done with genes that were considered Confidential Business Information.

That report was 9 years ago, so just imagine how many more field tests and releases have occurred since then.  Not to mention all of that Confidential Business that affects all of us.

In 2005 an audit report by the U.S. Inspector General, found that USDA’s APHIS (which issues permits for field tests of high risk crops, such as those designed to produce pharmaceutical and industrial compounds),
lacks basic information…the precise locations of all GE field test sites planted in the United States are not always known.  After authorizing field tests, APHIS does not follow up…in some cases, APHIS may only be aware of the state and county where an applicant plans to conduct a field test.
Before approving field tests, APHIS does not review…applicants’ containment protocols, which describe how the applicant plans to contain the GE crop within the field test site.
…APHIS does not effectively track information required during field tests, including…results of the field tests, including any harmful effects on the environment.
At the conclusion of the field test, APHIS does not require permit holders to report on the final disposition of GE pharmaceutical and industrial harvests…which may pose a threat to the food supply if unintentionally released.
In 2008, the General Accounting Office (GAO) found that unauthorized releases of GE crops into food, animal feed and the environment occurred, but that the total number of releases was unknown.

The sham

The USDA, along with 13 other government agencies, is part of the National Invasive Species Council, which was formed in 1999 by Executive Order 13112 (signed by President Clinton) and is tasked with preventing the introduction of invasive species.  Yet, the USDA promotes the ultimate invasive species, genetically engineered plants and cloned animals, both nationally and internationally.  With your tax dollars.

And even more ironic, guess what company has been on the Invasive Species Advisory Committee, which is to “provide advice” to the National Invasive Species Council?  Monsanto.

Does this seem like a farce?

AUTHOR'S NOTE:   Thank you to researcher/writer Diana Hunter for her many hours of diligent research and consultations on Invasive Species and the United Nations’ Agenda 21.

SOURCES:
http://www.invasivespecies.gov/
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=eucalyptus-genetically-modified-pine-tree-southwest-forest
http://current.com/technology/92434605_usda-approves-arborgens-request-to-plant-260-000-genetically-engineered-eucalyptus-trees-across-u-s-south.htm
http://www.calpirg.org/home/reports/report-archives/financial-privacy–security/financial-privacy–security/raising-risk–field-testing-of-genetically-engineered-crops-in-the-united-states
http://www.environmentcalifornia.org/reports/other-issues/other-issues/raising-risk-field-testing-of-genetically-engineered-crops-in-the-united-states
http://cdn.publicinterestnetwork.org/assets/Ajy1if5X1_qoDUsoSjyKag/Raising_Risk.pdf
http://napavalleyregister.com/news/opinion/mailbag/secrecy-danger-surround-genetic-engineering-of-grapes/article_95d2967b-67d7-59a4-9846-bf00aaa14538.html
http://www.aphis.usda.gov/brs/pdf/conf_ws_proc2.pdf
http://www.usda.gov/oig/webdocs/50601-08-TE.pdf
http://www.invasivespecies.gov/global/org_collab_budget/organizational_budget_orgchart.html
http://www.invasivespecies.gov/home_documents/EO%2013112.pdf
http://www.invasivespecies.gov/home_documents/2008-2012%20National%20Invasive%20Species%20Management%20Plan.pdf
http://www.invasivespecies.gov/global/ISAC/ISAC_Members/ISAC%20Members%20List%20Class%206-2.pdf
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/05/business/05beet.html
https://www.uspirg.org/home/reports/report-archives/food-safety/food-safety-reports/weird-science-the-brave-new-world-of-genetic-engineering
http://invasivespecies.gov/main_nav/mn_about.html
http://invasivespecies.gov/global/org_collab_budget/organizational_budget_orgchart.html
http://ceq.hss.doe.gov/nepa/regs/eos/eo13112.html
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/06/09/executive-order-establishment-white-house-rural-council
http://www.rense.com/general9/forever.htm
http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/biopesticides/pips/starlink_corn.htm
http://www.csrees.usda.gov/biotechnology.cfm
http://invasivespecies.gov/home_documents/2008-2012%20National%20Invasive%20Species%20Management%20Plan.pdf
http://plants.usda.gov/java/noxiousDriver
http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=BiotechnologyAgencyDesc.xml&navid=AGRICULTURE


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