Credo Action

Tell the USDA: No genetically modified trees

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    Tell the USDA: No genetically modified trees

    A new genetically engineered ecological catastrophe is coming to the southeastern United States unless we act now to stop it.

    South Carolina-based ArborGen, the Monsanto of genetically engineered (GE) trees, wants “nonregulated status” from the U.S. government for its brand of eucalyptus trees. This would allow ArborGen to plant massive, unregulated GE tree farms that could end up destroying natural forests and habitats, polluting water, endangering biodiversity and wreaking havoc on the environment.

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is currently accepting public comments on this proposal. We must speak out to stop ArborGen's request for nonregulated status for its GE trees.

    Tell the USDA: No genetically modified eucalyptus trees.

    Although GE trees are marketed as frost and pest-resistant, large-scale GE tree production would be disastrous for public health, workers, the climate and the environment. Because tree seeds and pollen can travel hundreds of miles, this genetic material could irreversibly contaminate native trees. Workers and local communities would be exposed to high levels of toxic herbicides and pesticides applied to GE tree plantations. And since many of these fast-growing forests will be clear cut and sold as biofuel replacements and for wood pellet incineration, massive amounts of carbon would be released into the atmosphere accelerating global warming.1

    Activism against ArborGen has been successful before. In 2015, the USDA secretly approved ArborGen's genetically modified loblolly pine tree with no public oversight nor any assessment of the risks it posed to the environment. More than 150,000 CREDO activists signed a petition demanding more government oversight while allies on the ground protested and were arrested in a show of resistance. In the face of mounting pressure, the company quietly revealed it had "moved on to other things."2

    The first time ArborGen requested approval of its eucalyptus tree, the public comments were 10,000-to-1 in opposition.3 Let's make sure the USDA hears us loud and clear again that it's time to put an end to this serious threat to our ecosystem and the environment.

    Tell the USDA: No genetically modified eucalyptus trees.

    Thanks for all you do.

    References:

    1. The Campaign to Stop GE Trees, "About GE Trees," accessed May 5, 2017.
    2. Leslie Cantu, "Protesters arrested at ArborGen," The Somerville Journal Scene, Sept. 29, 2015.
    3. GJEP Staff, "Will Donald Trump Impact Future of Genetically Engineered Trees?," The Global Justice Ecology Project, Jan. 12, 2017.