May 13, 2010
U.S. Department of Agriculture Approves Release of GE Trees
USDA Approves ArborGen’s Request to Plant 260,000 Genetically Engineered Eucalyptus Trees Across U.S. South
Yesterday the USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service issued its decision to approve the mass-release of over a quarter of a million GE eucalyptus trees across seven states in the U.S. South (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina), despite overwhelming public opposition.
“We are very disappointed but not surprised by the USDA’s decision, which is likely to have severe social and environmental impacts,” stated Anne Petermann, Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project and Coordinator of the STOP GE Trees Campaign. “The USDA’s final environmental assessment disregarded concerns raised by thousands of people in comments submitted opposing the release of GE eucalyptus trees.”
The STOP GE Trees Campaign, which includes organizations, foresters and scientists from across the U.S. and around the world is preparing its next steps following the USDA decision.
Simone Lovera, Executive Director of the Global Forest Coalition said from her office in Asuncion, Paraguay, “This is not only bad for the U.S. This decision could open the door globally to these cold-tolerant eucalyptus and other transgenic trees which would have serious impacts on Indigenous and forest dwelling peoples around the world and lead to more biodiversity loss.”
To read the USDA’s final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact, go to: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/brs/biotech_ea_permits.html
For background on the work of the STOP GE Trees Campaign and the threats of GE eucalyptus trees and other GMO trees, go to http://www.nogetrees.org
– Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project and Coordinator, STOP GE Trees Campaign, +1.802.578.0477
– Scot Quaranda, Campaigns Director, Dogwood Alliance, +1.828.251.2525 x 18