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genetic engineering

Monsanto applying for GE grass - comments needed

Monsanto has applied to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), an arm of the USDA, to approve Genetically Engineered golf course turfgrass resistant to it's Roundup Ready Herbicide. Your comments are needed by March 5 to let APHIS know you don't want GE grass.
Dear Folks, Attached are links to the USDA announcement in the Federal Register on the Monsanto/Scotts creeping bentgrass petition. In short, the public has until March 5 to comment to USDA on the potential environmental impacts, as well as any perceived defects in the companies' petition (500 pages; see the URL in there for it) and the APHIS preliminary risk analysis (also available by a link therein, 70 pages + ).

Short background: Creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) is a non-native golf course turfgrass that has been engineered to be RoundUp Ready (glyphosate resistant). Creeping bentgrass itself is a known weed in some settings. Its seriousness as an invader varies by state and habitat. The Nature Consevancy (John Randall, Marilyn Jordan) did a well-documented report on the extent to which creeping bentgrass and Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis; another potentially weedy species being engineered in the same way, but not so far along) present weediness problems in TNC preserves and the extent to which making them resistant to RoundUp could enhance weediness problems. Creeping bentgrass also readily hybridizes with about a dozen other Agrostis species in North America, some native, some not, some weedy, some not, per our understanding.

We expect similar GE turfgrass products to be proposed for home and landscaping use in the future, so this is a "foot in the door" product. CFS and CTA will be submitting very detailed comments, but needless to say we 'd encourage you to comment as well. Strategically the comment period represents a good development, because it's clear APHIS recognizes there are some potential risks.

Those concerned about this product should try to provide information to APHIS showing that it presents potentially "major" or "significant" impacts to the natural and/or human-built environment. Those are the buzzwords under the law where, if such potential impacts are found to exist, APHIS would have to do a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) before finally deciding on the deregulation petition. An EIS would provide a more detailed analysis, with several additional future opportunities for comment and review.

....Basically, this represents a good development, because it's clear APHIS recognizes there are some potential risks. Those concerned about this product should try to provide information to APHIS showing that it presents potentially "major" or "significant" impacts to the natural and/or human-built environment. Those are the buzzwords under the law where, if such potential impacts are found to exist, APHIS would have to do a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) before finally deciding on the petition. An EIS would provide a more detailed analysis, with several additional future opportunities for comment and review. The Notice (PDF):http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=2004_register&docid=fr05ja04-28.pdf


the monsanto plan... 10.Jan.2004 13:09

this thing here

here's how monsanto's business model works. and i don't even work there...

problem: you spray the round-up on any living plant, and it dies.

solution: genetically modify a specific plant so that it can survive a dosing of round-up.

advantage monsanto: anytime a client wants to use round-up without destroying their crops or their plants, they HAVE TO to come to monsanto to get the round-up ready seeds, and then replant. this is called locking down the market. the consumer/client has no choice but to use monsanto both for what grows and what kills.

a vicoius, profitable little system. kind of like a doctor prescribing a poison to a patient to insure another sick patient. if i were a farmer, i would stay the hell away from this little system. because once you're in, they won't let you out...

I was so pissed i made an animate .gif about it 20.Jan.2004 13:52

pass it on

.
Bush ruminating on Monsanto's grass (animated)
Bush ruminating on Monsanto's grass (animated)

round up ready bent grass 13.Feb.2004 14:50

realist

Do your homework. Round up ready grass will reduce herbicide use on golf courses. Round-Up (glyphosate) is a
reduced risk herbicide. About every golf course uses much harsher chemicals to deal with weeds in their
bent-grass already...

Monsanto may own the rights to Round-Up but the patent has run out on glyphosate. It is available as a
generic through many companies at reduced prices. There is no monopoly issue on the herbicide treatment.

If your worries are round-up resistant genes passing to common grasses, then your worries are unfounded
the bent grass is reported to be pollen sterile.