Tag Archives: Oregon

Genetically engineered tree industry halted in Oregon, New Zealand

Note: This decision in New Zealand, pulling the reigns on commercial release of genetically engineered (GE) trees, comes on the heels of a major victory against GE crops in Oregon’s Rogue Valley.  Global Justice Ecology Project has learned from county commissioners in Oregon that the recently approved ban does, in fact, cover GE trees (although specific enforcement regulations are yet to be written).

However small, these victories are important in stopping an industry hellbent on turning forests into factories of “designer” trees to fuel the industrial machine.

-The GJEP Team

May 22, 2014. Source: Voxy

Photo: New Zealand Forest Managers

Photo: New Zealand Forest Managers

The High Court decision to uphold the Sustainability Council’s appeal on genetic engineering (GE) is a win for New Zealand’s primary sector, the Green Party said today.

The High Court has upheld the Sustainability Council’s appeal against the Environment Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision, which allowed organism’s resulting from new novel GE techniques to be signed off without public consultation. Scion (Forest Research Institute) had asked for a determination which may have allowed them to grow GE trees without public notification or process. This would have also allowed food crops using the same GE techniques to be commercialised without any requirement for public consultation.

“The Court has ruled that the EPA didn’t have the ability to allow these GE organisms to be signed off via a loop hole,” said Green Party GE spokesperson Steffan Browning.

“The original decision would have allowed a free for all using this new GE techniques before the European Union (EU) has even set rules about them. Continue reading

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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Genetic Engineering, Industrial agriculture

Oregon non-GMO farmers v Monsanto/Syngenta winning at the polls

Note: The measure banning GMO crops from Rogue Valley has passed, winning broad support at the ballot box.

-The GJEP Team

By Jane Ayers, May 20, 2014. Source: Reader Supported News

Matt Suhr and Aluna Michelle, owners of HappyDirt Veggie Patch in Medford, Oregon, are dedicated to producing naturally grown, chemical-free food – a few miles from a farm owned by Swiss biotech company Syngenta that grows GMO seed. Photo: Kathryn Boyd-Batstone/Envision

Matt Suhr and Aluna Michelle, owners of HappyDirt Veggie Patch in Medford, Oregon, are dedicated to producing naturally grown, chemical-free food – a few miles from a farm owned by Swiss biotech company Syngenta that grows GMO seed. Photo: Kathryn Boyd-Batstone/Envision

Will there be peace in the valley? According to local Rogue Valley farmers in Southern Oregon, only if Monsanto and Syngenta farmers stop planting GMO crops that threaten their livelihoods. A Jackson County ballot measure, #15-119, is set for a vote on Tuesday, May 20th, in Southern Oregon. The measure would protect some of the nation’s purest non-GMO seed supply from ruin. Southern Oregon is considered in the top five of seed producing regions in the world, so much is riding on this county vote. The ballot measure bans “any person from propagating, cultivating, raising or growing genetically engineered [defined] plants in Jackson County” and would require any GMO plants to be harvested, destroyed, or removed within 12 months. Our Family Farms Coalition and GMO Free Jackson County have pushed for the rallying of Non-GMO: YES on Measure 15-119. However, Monsanto and Syngenta recently spent over $800,000 trying to defeat the Rogue Valley’s local farmers’ initiative.

In this ideal farming valley, the local support is extremely noticeable (except for the editorial board of the local newspaper, Mail Tribune, which was recently bought by a new company). A few days ago, even Jackson County itself claimed its support for the farmers’ non-GMO measure. Hundreds of local businesses, restaurants, and farmers are on-board to claim this valley as non-GMO. Even the area’s preachers, rabbis, and native elders have had events focusing on the morality of introducing genetically engineered organisms, thus messing with Creator’s “sacred seed.” Also of concern is the issue of protecting the area’s water from pesticides that are used with genetically engineered crops.

The Rogue Valley is also home of Harry and David’s, and also Amy’s Organics processing factory, which ranks high in worldwide sales of organic soups and frozen dinners. Amy’s Organics and even Whole Foods have expressed to local farmers the desire to purchase more organic vegetables from this valley, to ensure freshness, and to lower their trucking costs by buying more local produce. In addition, hundreds of local restaurants and food businesses have recently joined together in the Food Integrity Project, which is labeling their businesses as non-GMO dining, with different percentages of their menus using foods that are non-GMO.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Food Sovereignty, Genetic Engineering, Industrial agriculture

Victory in the Elliott State Forest! 28 Oregon coast timber sales cancelled

By Wiley Cypress, February 6, 2014. Source: Earth First! Newswire

The first Elliott blockade in 2009. Photo: Earth First! Newswire

The first Elliott blockade in 2009. Photo: Earth First! Newswire

In a major victory yesterday for Oregon’s coastal rainforests, three conservation organizations—the Center for Biological DiversityCascadia Wildlands, and Portland Audubon—reached a settlement with the State of Oregon to cancel 28 timber sales in the Elliott, Clatsop, and Tillamook forests.

As part of the agreement, the State has also agreed to improve future management practices in all three forests for the marble murrelet, a rare sea bird that nests in old growth trees. “This agreement provides immediate relief for the dwindling population of the marbled murrelet,” said Francis Eatherington of Cascadia Wildlands in a press release yesterday.

This settlement marks the conclusion of a lawsuit filed by the conservation groups in 2012. The lawsuit argued that the State Land Board and the Oregon Department of Forestry were harming the marbled murrelet by deliberately approving timber sales in murrelet nesting habitat, which is protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Things were looking bleak for Oregon’s coastal rainforests, and the Elliott in particular, preceding the lawsuit and injunction filed in 2012. Amidst protest both in the forest and at the State capitol,the State approved a plan to nearly double the annual acreage of clearcut allowed in the Elliott, and pushed forward dozens of timber sales in never-before-logged tracts of forest. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Forests

Cascadia Forest Defenders drop banner to protest privatization of forests

Note from the authors: After occupying a banner for two hours, 5 forest defenders have been arrested and are being held in jail until their court date tomorrow afternoon. They are all being charged with criminal trespassing, and disorderly conduct. All but one also face charges of reckless endangerment.

We need your support now more than ever! Our friends will be facing steep court fees, their bail alone has been set at $37,500. Anything you can give is much appreciated. Donate now! 

20 September, 2013. Source: Cascadia Forest Defenders

Photo: Cascadia Forest Defenders

Photo: Cascadia Forest Defenders

Two Cascadia Forest Defenders are occupying a banner dropped from the golden statue on top of the capitol building in Salem, Oregon. The banner proclaims “KITZHABER’S LEGACY: PRIVATIZING THE ELLIOTT – CLEARCUTTING FOR PROFIT.” These forest defenders were moved to action after the proposal to privatize more than 2,700 acres of public land in the Elliott State Forest. This privatization scheme follows suit with Kitzhaber’s attempts to move 1.6 million acres of O&C land into the timber baron trust where Oregon’s people would have little say in the management of these forests.

“We are protesting because we think Oregonians deserve to know that their public land is being sold to private industry.  If it is privatized, we will never be able to have a say on what happens to it again. This is our public comment,” says Erin Grady of Cascadia Forest Defenders.
The plans for privatization of the Elliott include three parcels in the Western side of the Elliott State Forest. All three parcels contain sections of mature, never-before-logged forest –suitable habitat for the marbled murrelet, an endangered sea bird that nests in old growth. This summer, a group of volunteer marbled murrelet surveyors with the Coos County-based conservation group Coast Range Forest Watch, documented murrelet nesting behavior in one of these parcels, making it a candidate for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Forests, Land Grabs

FBI chases anti-GMO activists while ignoring Monsanto’s transgressions

By John Upton, June 24, 2013. Source: The Grist

Beet the system.  Photo: NC State

Beet the system. Photo: NC State

Some experimental GMO crops were torn out of a field in Oregon this month. That means it’s time for the federal government to freak the fuck out and do its best to clamp down again on eco-activism.

The sugar beet plants, which were genetically engineered by Syngenta to survive applications of the herbicide Roundup, were uprooted in the middle of the night from a couple of fields, presumably by anti-GMO activists. The destruction of the experimental crops occurred in the same state where a strain of Monsanto’s illegal herbicide-resistant wheat recently showed up in a farmer’s field,threatening America’s multibillion-dollar wheat export market.

Guess which crime the FBI is desperate to crack?

That’s right: The sugar beet one. The agency announced that it “considers this crime to be economic sabotage and a violation of federal law involving damage to commercial agricultural enterprises.” According to the FBI, a $10,000 reward is being offered for clues by Oregonians for Food and Shelter, a corporate forestry and agriculture group that lobbies for pro-GMO and pro-pesticide legislation. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Food Sovereignty, Genetic Engineering, Industrial agriculture, Political Repression

Victory! Klamath tribes water rights upheld by federal government

By Scott Learn, June 10, 2013. Source: The Oregonian

Photo: Oregonian

Photo: Oregonian

The Klamath Tribes and the federal government called their water rights in southern Oregon’s Klamath Basin for the first time Monday, likely cutting off irrigation water to hundreds of cattle ranchers and farmers in the upper basin this summer.

The historic calls come after Oregon set water rights priorities earlier this year in the basin, home to one of the nation’s most persistent water wars. Drought has cut water flows in upper basin rivers to 40 percent of normal.

“This is a devastating day,” said Becky Hyde, a longtime cattle rancher in the upper basin’s Sprague River Valley. “This is such a core piece of our economy. It’s not like we can lean back on tourism and things can be OK.”

The Klamath Tribes’ water rights apply to flows in Upper Klamath Lake tributaries, including the Sprague, Williamson and Wood rivers that run through the tribes’ former reservation.
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Filed under Indigenous Peoples, Industrial agriculture, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Victory!, Water

Rogue Oregon wheat inflames foes of gene-altered crops

Note: Monsanto says, “There are no food, feed, or environmental safety concerns associated with the presence of the Roundup Ready gene if it is found to be present in wheat,” Monsanto said in a statement. “This is the first report of the Roundup Ready trait being found out of place since Monsanto’s commercial development program was discontinued nine years ago.”

As usual, lies, lies and more lies.  And a total lack of concern for the farmers that are going to lose their shirts due to Monsanto’s monumental blunder.  First RoundUp resistance weeds, now contaminated wheat.  We cannot trust the profit-mongers to handle a technology as dangerous as genetic engineering.  Another reason we must ban genetically engineered trees now.  Please sign our petition for a ban at http://globaljusticeecology.org/petition.php

By Alan Bjerga and Jack Kaskey, May 30, 2013. Source: Bloomberg 

The discovery in an Oregon field of gene-altered wheat developed by Monsanto Co. that was not approved for sale shows a failure of oversight that safety advocates say may endanger consumers and U.S. trading relationships.Scientists said the rogue wheat was a strain tested from 1998 to 2005 by Monsanto, the world’s largest seedmaker, which withdrew its application for approval amid concern buyers would avoid crops from the U.S., the world’s biggest wheat exporter.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said yesterday it is investigating how the unapproved seeds slipped out and were growing nine years after St. Louis-based Monsanto ended its wheat program. The discovery prompted Japan to suspend imports of western-white wheat and feed wheat. Other overseas buyers may follow suit, according to critics including the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Center for Food Safety. Continue reading

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Filed under Biodiversity, Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Genetic Engineering, Industrial agriculture

Genetically modified wheat is discovered in Oregon

Note: Yet another cautionary tale about the dangers of GMO contamination and one more reason to ban GE trees before the nightmare of irreversible GE tree contamination is released.

–the GJEP Team

By Andrew Pollack, May 29, 2013. Source: New York Times

Unapproved genetically engineered wheat has been found growing on a farm in Oregon, federal officials said Wednesday, a development that could  disrupt American exports of the grain.

The Agriculture Department said the wheat was of the type developed by Monsanto to be resistant to the herbicide Roundup, also known as glyphosate. Such wheat was field-tested in 16 states, including Oregon, from 1998 through 2005, but Monsanto dropped the project before the wheat was ever approved for commercial planting.

The department said it was not known yet whether any of the wheat got into the food supply or into grain shipments. Even if it did, officials said, it would pose no threat to health. The Food and Drug Administration reviewed the wheat and found no safety problems with it in 2004.

Still, the mere presence of the genetically modified plant could cause some countries to turn away exports of American wheat, especially if any traces of the unapproved grain were found in shipments. About $8.1 billion in American wheat was exported in 2012, representing nearly half the total $17.9 billion crop, according to U.S. Wheat Associates, which promotes American wheat abroad. About 90 percent of Oregon’s wheat crop is exported.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Climate Change, Commodification of Life, Food Sovereignty, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Industrial agriculture, Pollution