Iowa Public Television


Judge says USDA Violated Environmental Laws on Biotech Crops

posted on August 18, 2006

A federal judge ruled U.S. agriculture officials violated both the Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act when it allowed four companies to plant genetically modified corn or sugarcane in Hawaii for use in experimental pharmaceuticals.

Citing the islands as home to 329 rare species, the judge said USDA skipped the laws' mandatory step of gathering and evaluating information about local species and critical habitat before issuing permits.

The biotech crops produced proteins that can be used in the manufacturing of medicines. The four companies that were issued permits to plant GM crops already have harvested the crops and have not replanted.

Tags: agriculture biotechnology corn courts crops genetic engineering judges news USDA