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Environment: Feds to ban genetically engineered crops, neonicotinoid pesticides in wildlife refuges

Resident bald eagle in Summit County, Colorado guarding the nest.

Recent studies show that neonicotinoid pesticides can persist in the environment, so the decision to ban them from federal wildlife refuges is good news for bald eagles. bberwyn photo.

New directive ends some long-running legal squabbles

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Federal wildlife and land managers say they’ll end the use of genetically engineered crops and ban systemic neonicotonoid pesticides in the next 18 months. In a July 17 memo  chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System James Kurth wrote that it’s not essential for his agency to use the potentially harmful products to meet its wildlife management objectives. Read the FWS memorandum.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service thus becomes the first federal agency to restrict the use of GE crops and neonicotinoids in farming in the U.S.

Public land and health watchdog groups have been challenging the agency over the use GE crops since 2005, including five lawsuits, two legal petitions and multitudes of administrative challenges and appeals, resulting in numerous court rulings against the agency. In one case, a judge ordered the agency to eradicate genetically engineered plants from wildlife refuges in the Southeast. Continue reading

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Environment: Judge orders U.S. Fish and Wildlife to find and eradicate genetically engineered plants in wildlife refuges

Battle over genetically engineered crops continues

Use of genetically engineered crops is widespread, but a judge blocks their use in wildlife refuges in the southeastern U.S.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — National Wildlife Refuge managers in the Southeast will have a tough job ahead, as a federal judge has ordered the agency not only to halt the planting of genetically engineered crops, but to eradicate those that have already been planted, as well as any stray plants that might escape.

The ruling is in response to a lawsuit by environmental and watchdog groups aimed at halting the use of genetically engineered crops in wildlife refuges. After finding in October that prior approval of GE crop planting violated environmental laws, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg directed the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to halt planting of GE crops under any of its cooperative-farming agreements throughout the ten-state Southeast Region. Continue reading

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