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[SANET-MG] Hawaii makes USDA disclose secret pharm test sites
The article below indicates that Hawaii is ahead of the rest of the US
and of Canada in disclosing test sites. Industry Organization‚ claims
that potential "espionage," "vandalism" and "civil unrest." will follow
disclosure. Industry has a cozy relationship with government regulators
and they have been encouraged that there has been no need to supply
security for ultra secret sites. Mainly though,their test sites will be
identified so that those people, their families, pets and livestock
injured by the tests will recognize the source of their injury.
Corporations and their bureaucratic lackeys hate the prospect of
compensating those that they hurt.
Perhaps corporations and their USDA lackeys will move all the testing to
Monsanto's home state Missouri where people are treated like serfs by
government and corporations alike.
Biotech: Government Forced to Reveal Crop Test Sites
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Paul Achitoff or Isaac Moriwake, Earthjustice
Craig Culp, Center for Food Safety
(202) 547-9359 x18
Skip Spitzer (831) 325-3999
Cha Smith, (808) 277-5362
Government Forced to Disclose Locations of test sites of biopharmaceutical
Court Order is a First for Citizen Oversight of Biotech Crop Experiments.
Honolulu - February 8, 2005 - (NATURALWIRE) - In a first step toward public
disclosure of test sites of biopharmaceutical crops, the U.S. Department of
Agriculture was forced by court order on February 4 to reveal the
these sites in Hawaii. Following the ruling, representatives of the USDA
over to Earthjustice attorneys information on the precise locations of
open-air field tests of biopharmaceutical crops genetically engineered
industrial chemicals and drugs. This marks the first time the federal
has been forced to disclose the location of field tests of genetically
engineered crops since it began systematically hiding these locations
from the public.
Earthjustice, representing citizen groups Center for Food Safety (CFS),
Friends of the Earth, Pesticide Action Network North America, and KAHEA:
Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance, had filed an earlier lawsuit in federal
court seeking to compel USDA to review the environmental and public health
impacts of such activities. In August 2004, District Court Judge David
A. Ezra had
ordered the disclosure, rejecting the government's and the Biotechnology
Industry Organization‚Äôs claims of potential "espionage," "vandalism"
unrest." The government and industry had resisted disclosure since that
through a series of delay requests. At a hearing Friday, Judge Ezra denied
their latest motion for a stay of disclosure, and the government handed the
information to plaintiffs' counsel.
"This ruling is an important first step toward the day when citizens can
out if biopharmaceutical crops are growing near their food crops or their
back yards," said Paul Achitoff, an Earthjustice attorney. "No one wants to
accidentally get contraceptives in their corn flakes. Given the potentially
disastrous effects these experiments could have on human health and the
we hope this ruling will result in lifting the veil of secrecy."
The plaintiffs sought information on the locations of these field tests in
response to the government's arguments that plaintiffs lacked standing
because they had not specified the precise locations of the field tests.
Magistrate Judge Barry M. Kurren originally ordered discovery of the
April 2004, ruling that the mere locations of the field tests were not
confidential business information. Judge Ezra affirmed the ruling in
preliminarily limited disclosure to plaintiffs only, and allowed the
industry 90 days to come up with better support for denying public
the information. The industry submitted supplemental arguments, to which
plaintiffs responded, but the court has not yet ruled on the public
Until then, plaintiffs cannot reveal the information to the public at
"Allowing food crops to be engineered to produce chemicals or drugs is bad
enough," said Peter Jenkins of CFS, "but hiding the location of the test
from an at-risk public is indefensible. Yet we find our own government
fighting on the side of the biotech industry to keep the public in the
drug-laced food crops."
Plaintiffs' attorneys are still reviewing the information to see whether it
complies with the court's order. This latest development should allow
plaintiffs' November 2003 lawsuit calling for long-overdue environmental
"With this order," added Jenkins, "we may at last be able to find out how
close these experiments are to conventional food crops, ecologically
areas, and our homes and schools. The next step will be to compel our
to investigate the impacts from these biotech crops."
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