Sunday, August 22, 2004


"California is under attack by parasites, of both the six-legged and two-legged variety. The former are glassy-winged sharpshooters, leaf-hopping insects that are among the state's most insidious agricultural pests. They carry Pierce's disease, a lethal bacterial infection of grapevines and other major crops, for which there is no cure. The two-legged parasites are the activists and regulators who are making safe, effective new agricultural technologies unavailable in California....

The meager weapons currently available to attack the sharpshooter are part of a state-federal program that pays for the inspection of plants shipped from areas known to be infested by glassy-winged sharpshooters and for the testing of potential chemical and biological control agents. In the long run, however, detection and control are doomed to fail. As acknowledged by Dale Brown, president of the Napa Valley Grape Growers Association, "Genetic resistance is where we want to go."

There are several ways to introduce or enhance the resistance to Pierce's disease in new variants, or varieties, of grapevines. One logical approach is to transfer genes that confer resistance into California's grapes from distantly related, non-commercial grapes that possess natural immunity. But conventional grape breeding is a notoriously slow and uncertain process, and attempts to use the more sophisticated and efficient gene-splicing techniques have run afoul of EPA and local regulatory policies.....

The EPA discriminates against gene-spliced varieties, by regulating even more stringently than chemical pesticides any plant that has been modified with gene-splicing techniques to enhance its pest- or disease-resistance. This policy, which has been attacked repeatedly by the scientific community as unscientific and irrational, has badly damaged agricultural research and development. It flouts the widespread scientific consensus that gene-splicing is more precise, circumscribed and predictable than other techniques. New gene-spliced varieties can not only increase yields, make better use of existing farmland and conserve water, but -- especially for grains and nuts -- are a potential boon to public health, because the harvest will have lower levels of contamination with toxic fungi and insect parts than conventional varieties. Moreover, by reducing the need for spraying crops with chemical pesticides, they are environmentally and occupationally friendly.

Agbiotech's potential is proven. A decade ago, an epidemic of papaya ringspot virus had virtually destroyed Hawaii's $64 million a year papaya crop, but by 1998 biotech researchers provided virus-resistant varieties that have preserved the industry. Yet, the EPA holds gene-spliced plants to an inappropriate, extraordinary standard, requiring hugely expensive testing as though these plants were highly toxic chemicals. In effect, these policies impose a hugely punitive tax on a superior, and badly needed, technology."

More here

Anti-biotech bills find little traction in state legislatures: "Despite recent high-profile measures in California counties and in the Vermont legislature to ban or heavily regulate genetically enhanced crops, most state legislatures are following the federal government's lead in rebuffing the opponents of biotechnology. In 2002, 130 bills and resolutions addressing biotechnology were introduced in state legislatures, according to a May 2004 study conducted by the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology. Fifty of the 130 measures were in support of biotechnology."


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

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