A short window of opportunity to demand the USDA deny ArborGen permits to do a widescale planting of genetically engineered Eucalyptus in the Southern US…
ACTION NEEDED BY 18 February! Tell the USDA NO WAY to ArborGen’s Genetically Engineered Eucalyptus Frankentrees
In an unprecedented move toward commercial large-scale release of genetically engineered (GE) forest trees in the United States, ArborGen is petitioning the U.S. government for permission to plant an estimated 260,000 flowering GE eucalyptus trees across seven southern U.S. states in so-called “field trials.”
The mass-planting of 260,000 flowering GE eucalyptus trees is a major step toward the unregulated development of large-scale GE eucalyptus plantations in the U.S. ArborGen has also requested permission to develop large-scale commercial plantations of GE cold tolerant eucalyptus across the U.S. South which the USDA has not yet ruled on.
Government approval of GE eucalyptus trees will set a dangerous precedent to allow the release of other experimental GE forest trees, including poplars and pines, that would inevitably and irreversibly contaminate native trees with destructive GE traits, devastating forest ecosystems and wildlife. Once GE trees escape, there is no way to call them back.
The only way to prevent the genetic contamination of forests is to ban the commercial release of GE trees before it is too late.
Tell the USDA that GE cold-tolerant eucalyptus plantations pose an unprecedented threat to U.S. forests, wildlife and communities. Tell them to reject ArborGen’s request to plant more than a quarter of a million dangerous invasive GE trees across the Southern U.S. Since these field trials are a concrete step toward unregulated commercial growing of dangerous GE eucalyptus, they must be rejected.
Additionally, a recent article in “Scientific American” addresses the inevitability of genetically engineered trees being introduced to the Southern United States. (IP), the infamous character in the story of forest destruction is back in the spotlight as the major proponent of replacing the South’s native forests with the genetically engineered eucalyptus. Along with MeadWestvaco, another industry giant and ArborGen, their joint biotech venture, IP seeks government deregulation of the GE eucalyptus so that it can be used on a massive scale in the near future. As of now we are unsure of the capability for the eucalyptus to become invasive. Because of these uncertainties, there is a need for longer and more intense scientific trials that can prove the efficacy of its containment.
However, IP and its allies are more interested in the speedy introduction of GE trees in order to quickly increase their production and profit. Invasive species can be a serious threat to natural forests, wildlife habitat, clean water and ecosystems as a whole. Due to the possibility of serious consequences caused by the introduction of GE trees, it is imperative that IP be held accountable and take into consideration the future safety and presence of the South’s native forests. Read the whole story and reader feedback here: http://www.scientificamerican.