Oregon Senators Urge Feds To Reconsider Deregulating Genetically Engineered Plant

US Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley wrote to federal officials this week to express concerns about the deregulation of a genetically engineered plant that threatens Oregon’s agriculture, recreation and grass seed industry.

The senators’ letter to Acting Agriculture Department Secretary Michael Scuse follows the announcement this week from the department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service that it would deregulate Scotts Company’s and Monsanto Company’s ASR368 Creeping Bentgrass.

“It is surprising and concerning that the government would recommend deregulation of an invasive, genetically engineered plant when eradication measures have failed and there are significant economic and ecological concerns,” Wyden and Merkley wrote, citing concerns raised both by the Oregon Department of Agriculture and scientists at Oregon State University.

Contaminated grasses have been collected near the Crooked River National Grassland in Jefferson County. And more than 80,000 acres of farmland in Malheur County continues to be inspected for ASR368. Deregulation would shift the responsibility for mitigation on the local weed control board or even individual farmers in a county working to improve its economy.

Also at risk if Oregon’s grass seed crops are genetically contaminated by ASR368 is the state’s grass seed industry centered in Linn County, according to the senators. According to the Oregon Seed Council, grass seed production brings in $300 million and drives more than $1 billion in economic activity in Oregon.


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One thought on “Oregon Senators Urge Feds To Reconsider Deregulating Genetically Engineered Plant

  • February 7, 2017 at 11:57 pm
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    Oregon’s U.S. Senators need support! Creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) is native to Eurasia, but widely spread around the world. The GMO has been increasing its range in central and in eastern Oregon since 2002, despite US$ millions in eradication efforts by Scotts company. In Sept. 2015 Scotts and U.S. Dept. of Agriculture agreed it could be sold in 2023, but in October, Scotts and Monsanto petitioned for deregulation, saying they’d not sell it. Deregulated 18 Jan. 2017. In central Oregon the escaped GMO has even made herbicide-resistant hybrids with two other weedy grasses, both also native to Eurasia but now wide-spread, Agrostis gigantea and Polypogon monspeliensis. Now the deregulated Roundup Ready gene can be crossed into a new grass and sold! Europe, Asia, the world, need to get the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture to re-regulate this strongly glyphosate-resistant GMO!

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