Category Archives: GE Trees

SUNY Syracuse College of Environmental Science and Forestry Receives $3 Million DOE Grant to Promote Ecologically Dangerous Biofuels

In case any are wondering why a State University of New York “environmental” college would be working on a major project to develop genetically modified chestnuts to introduce a population of GE Chestnuts to native and fragile forest ecosystems, an announcement last week by the college provides a valuable clue.

The college announced on 15 December that they have received a $3 million grant to support bioenergy development.

Harvesting Shrub Willow- Photo SUNY ESF

Harvesting Shrub Willow- Photo SUNY ESF


The release by ESF states:

“The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded up to $3 million to the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) to develop and demonstrate ways to reduce the cost of delivering woody bioenergy feedstocks to biorefineries.

Specifically, the grant will be used to lower the delivered cost of short-rotation woody crops; rapidly, accurately, and reliably assess feedstock quality; and improve harvest and preprocessing operations to produce feedstocks that meet key biorefinery partner specifications. ESF will work with partners including Case New Holland Industrial (CNHi), GreenWood Resources, University of West Virginia, Applied Biorefinery Sciences, Idaho National Lab and others to complete the project.

Dr. Timothy Volk, a research scientist who leads the willow project for ESF, said the ultimate goal is to make renewable biomass feedstocks more affordable.”

Read the whole ESF release here

Climate Connections and our partners at Biofuelwatch, GJEP, and The Campaign to STOP GE Trees do not hesitate to make the connection between the trojan horse of GE chestnut research and funding (which includes ArborGen, Monsanto, and a variety of bioenergy related grants by New York State and federal agencies) and the development of bioenergy products which are proven as false solutions to climate change and drivers of social disparity, land grabs, and a general decline of the human capacity to survive on planet earth.

We think that you should be aware of how many state educational systems including New York’s, are driven by private profit, private investment, and an industry agenda that is clearly not as green as some would like us to believe.

 Additional Links:


Institute’s Gas Drilling Report Leads to Claims of Bias and Concern for University’s Image

public accountability initiative (PAI)

public accountability initiative on the closing of the SUNY Buffalo Shale Institute





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Filed under Biiotechnology, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Biofuelwatch, Campaign to STOP GE Trees, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, GE Trees, Uncategorized

GMO Chestnuts Draw Scrutiny this Holiday


During the holidays, a time of the iconic roasting of chestnuts, scientists and activists are raising alarms about these efforts to genetically engineer and widely release GE American chestnuts into U.S. forests. recently reported in “Breakthrough at SUNY-ESF” that researchers at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry are growing 10,000 genetically engineered (GE) American chestnut trees to be distributed widely when approved. The GMO chestnuts produced by these trees would be a new GMO food when concerns about GMOs and labeling are mounting.

BJ McManama is the GE trees campaigner for the Indigenous Environmental Network. She is based in the mountains of North Carolina, a central location for potential release of GE American chestnuts. In October she organized an Indigenous Peoples’ Action Camp against GE trees in Cherokee, NC.

She said, “As Indigenous Peoples we know that GE trees will threaten our cultural heritage, tradition, sovereignty and health. Even today, many of our people survive through subsistence methods — hunting, gathering, fishing and even our shelters are obtained from our forests. Trees are sacred. They are the children of our mother and our nurturer. We cannot stand idly by as the American chestnut, on which our people depend, is engineered into something that could wind up poisoning the land, air, water and the people. Forests are the source of our spiritual life and knowledge, and we wholly reject any attempts to change the sacred ancient blueprint of these trees — to destroy their spirit.”

Anne Petermann is the executive director of Buffalo, NY-based Global Justice Ecology Project and the coordinator of the International Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees, which includes organizations, scientists, Indigenous Peoples and activists from around the world and is dedicated to preventing the commercial release of all genetically engineered trees. The majority of the research into GE American chestnuts and most of the outdoor test plots are located in New York State.

Petermann said, “GE trees pose unique and potentially disastrous risks to forests due to their longevity, the vast distances over which they spread pollen and seeds and their intricate relationship with complex forest ecosystems, but these GE American chestnut trees are even more dangerous. They are also completely unnecessary. They will supposedly be resistant to the blight that wiped out American chestnut trees in the last century, but the truth is blight resistant chestnuts are being developed through non-GE traditional breeding. But if fertile GE chestnuts are released into Eastern U.S. forests, which is the plan, they will contaminate both wild chestnuts and hybrid chestnuts. The impacts are unknown, but it will certainly ruin decades of work done by American chestnut breeding programs. This GE American chestnut tree is a Pandora’s box of potential disasters best left closed.”

Smolker is an evolutionary biologist and a steering committee member of the Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees. She is based in Vermont, one of the first states to mandate the labeling of GMO food.

She said, “These GE American chestnut trees are nothing more than a Trojan horse intended to smooth the way for commercial release of a host of other dangerous engineered trees, including GE eucalyptus and GE poplars. The tree biotechnology industry­ — companies like ArborGen — are faced with severe public opposition, so now they are trying to use chestnut tree ‘restoration’ as a cover to gain broader public acceptance of GE trees. GE chestnuts and other trees are an unnecessary, undesirable, and hazardous product of the techno-obsessed mindset that assumes genetic codes are like Lego sets that can be engineered to our specifications. But nature just doesn’t work that way. The impacts of these engineered chestnuts will be completely unpredictable. I certainly do not want to be roasting GE chestnuts over an open fire this holiday season.”


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Filed under Biiotechnology, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Biofuelwatch, Campaign to STOP GE Trees, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, GMOs, Greenwashing, Uncategorized

Monsanto Stock Value Plummets–Worst in Seven Years

Hopefully this decline in Monsanto’s stock value will pass along to investor wariness about new GMOs like genetically engineered trees. Visit our petition against GE trees here.

Victory: Monsanto Stock Downgraded, Worst Growth In 7 Years
By Christina Sarich, December 8th, 2014

Here’s one for the history books, and a slap on the wrist for stock-holders like Bill Gates and George Soros. Monsanto stock has been downgraded to ‘Neutral’ from ‘Buy’ after an annual seed dealer industry survey showed bleak returns.

This may be the most depressing news in seven years for Monsanto, but great news for the seed industry, which has been monopolized by the chemical peddler since the early 1990s. The target price for (MON +0.1%) has been lowered from $140 to $127. Conditions affecting the downgrade include “greater discounting, reduced trait purchases, reduced spending on seeds, and share gains for non-major seeds brands” – with hardly a mention of the grass-roots, and international efforts of people to shine a light on Monsanto’s illegal influence on the world seed market.

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Filed under Biiotechnology, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, GMOs, Monsanto, Uncategorized, Victory!

Earth Minute: Anne Petermann Reports from Paraguay

Ada from the Solomon Islands. If biomass energy is not stopped, her islands will continue to drown.  Photo credit: GJEP-GFC

Ada from the Solomon Islands. If biomass energy is not stopped, her islands will continue to drown. Photo credit: GJEP-GFC

In this week’s Earth Minute, Anne Petermann reports from Asunción, Paraguay, where she participated in a series of meetings put together by Global Forest Coalition to discuss deforestation and its underlying drivers, including biofuels and wood-based bioenergy (which will some day include genetically engineered trees, if Brazil has its way), and all over the continent, but especially here in Paraguay, cattle ranching and the livestock industry.

GJEP partners with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK Los Angeles for weekly Earth Minutes on Tuesday and Earth Watch interviews on Thursday.


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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Earth Minute, Earth Radio, Forests, GE Trees, Posts from Anne Petermann

Dr. Martha Crouch: Wild, free, and genetically engineered? Not so fast.

Photo: Langelle/

Photo: Langelle/

On November 14th, published a response by Dr. Martha Crouch to a story they ran about SUNY ESF’s work on genetically engineered chestnut trees. Her response led to a very active conversation online. Here we’re publishing the full response, which was slightly cut and edited by, the online source of the Syracuse Post-Standard.

Imagine this headline: “Bald eagles genetically engineered with pigeon genes to withstand toxic pesticides ready for release back into wild, say researchers.” Or, “Scientists genetically engineer endangered Florida panthers with synthetic DNA to resist deadly virus.”

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Filed under GE Trees, Genetic Engineering

Virginia Beach man steals millions in the name of biotech

We all know that government regulations for the biotech industry are relaxed (to say the least). Well, the government isn’t the only one placing an undue amount of blind trust into the billion dollar Big Ag industry. Banks have been fooled, as well.

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 1.27.44 PM

After claiming to be a scientist heading up a corporation that produces genetically engineered trees, Suntrust awarded 52-year-old Irfan M. Jameel a loan of “$3 million to buy a waterfront property in Virginia Beach. Gateway Bank loaned him $2.375 million, and a local credit union gave him a $46,000 car loan, according to court documents.” All of this information comes from an article posted on Virginia Beach’s local news station

Mr. Jameel, was, of course, engineering the whole sham. Get more details, including the sentence the judge bestowed upon this “GE trees scientist.”

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Filed under GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Humor

This Holiday Season say NO to GMO Chestnuts

by Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project


A nut rests in the spiny bur of a rare surviving American chestnut tree. A fungus wiped out almost all of the trees, which once numbered in the billions. (The American Chestnut Foundation/Via Associated Press)

In a society rising up against the corporate capture of our food supply in the form of GMOs, a new untested and not-yet-approved GMO food is being promoted: the GMO chestnut.

A recent op-ed in the Washington Posthowevermakes the silly assertion that this emerging new GMO food will be the answer to hunger and a step toward reconnecting with our food supply:

Repopulating our woods — and even our yards, our commons and our courthouse lawns — with [GE] American chestnuts would put a versatile, nutritious, easily harvested food source within reach of just about everyone. For those living on the margins, it could be a very real hedge against want. For everyone, it could be a hedge against distancing ourselves from our food, which can be the first step toward a diet low in the whole foods that virtually every public health authority tells us we should eat more of.

Really?  A food source for the poor?  People are going to be heading out with their burlap sacks collecting GMO chestnuts to roast, grind into flour or boil into candy?  This is the answer to hunger?  And what is the health impact of eating GMO chestnuts?  Is this even being assessed?  No.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Food Sovereignty, Forests, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, GMOs, Greenwashing

Impressions from Paraguay: Day one in the tropics

By Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project

Ayoreo family in the Gran Chaco in Paraguay.  This family and their community were forcibly relocated from their homeland by groups who want to exploit the Chaco.

Ayoreo family in the Gran Chaco in Paraguay. This family and their community were relocated from their homeland by groups who want to exploit the Chaco.

Global Justice Ecology Project just arrived in Paraguay for two weeks of meetings on the themes of wood-based bioenergy, genetically engineered trees, the impacts of livestock and GMO soy production on global deforestation levels, and the solutions to climate change and deforestation provided by local communities maintaining and caring for their traditional lands.

Looking out of the Asunción hotel room at the wide majestic Paraguay river, and the expanse of forest on the other side, feeling the tropical humidity and listening to the rumble of distant thunder, it is hard to imagine that yesterday my GJEP colleague and I woke up in the midst of a major snowstorm in Buffalo, NY.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, GE Trees, Indigenous Peoples, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Tree Plantations, Uncategorized