Thursday, October 16, 2014

EPA approves GMO herbicide in six states; environmentalists say decision violates law

The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday gave final approval to Dow AgroSciences herbicide Enlist Duo to be used with new genetically modified corn and soybeans, Carey Gillam reports for Reuters. The decision "outraged critics, who say the approval violates environmental law and will create a host of problems for people and animals." The U.S. Department of Agriculture gave final approval to Enlist Duo in September.

The herbicide can now be used in six states—Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin—and EPA is accepting comments until Nov. 14 "whether to register Enlist Duo in ten more states: Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Tennessee and North Dakota," reports Delta Farm Press.

EPA said its scientists "used highly conservative and protective assumptions to evaluate human health and ecological risks for the new uses of 2,4-D in Enlist Duo. The assessments confirm that these uses meet the safety standards for pesticide registration and, as approved, will be protective of the public, agricultural workers and non-target species, including endangered species" and pose no threat to human health.

But environmental activists disagree, Gillam writes. Greg Loarie, an attorney with Earthjustice, a non-profit environmental law organization that is evaluating legal action to try to stop the commercialization of Enlist Duo, told Gillam, "EPA has not followed the law. In their view, a massive increase in the use of 2,4-D will have no impact on endangered species. They are supposed to consult with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They did not." EPA contends that they did follow the law. (Read more)

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