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Re: E-M:/ Act now to oppose SB 777 seed law

Enviro-Mich message from Cynthia Price <skyprice@gmail.com>

I saw Jerry Van Woerkom (chair of Senate Ag Committee) this evening
and he confirmed what his staff person Jeff Cobb had e-mailed me last
week: this will not be taken up again until after the first of the

Strategically, I don't know which is better: keep up the pressure on
the members of the committee (though not necessarily Liz Brater since
she's come out against already -- unsurprisingly) the entire time
between now and then, or save it up until it comes up again and then
barrage them. I'm inclined toward the first.

And believe me, Chuck, the issue with not being able to control -- or
even label -- non-native invasives locally was brought up to Van
Woerkom at least twice. And would carry weight with him since he's
sponsored legislation (which passed) against non-natives.

People from the Mott Group at MSU (Mike Hamm's group with wonderful
former lobbyist Jean Doss working for them) are monitoring the
situation so I don't think anyone will try to sneak it out of

Cynthia Price
Greater Grand Rapids Food Systems Council

On 11/28/05, Chuck Cubbage <charles.cubbage@comcast.net> wrote:
> Carol and EMers
> Thanks to Carol for providing the update on SB777 status.  In addition to
> the points Carol made, below is another contained in the text of an email I
> sent to Sen Jelinek.
> Regards,
> Chuck
> My concerns are not based on negative impressions of the value of genetic
> engineering.  There is great promise in developing such tools.  However, we
> lost the use of numerous valuable pesticides due to inappropriate and over
> uses.  The effects of which included unintended loss of the effectiveness of
> specific pesticides and hence their loss as a tool.  There have been
> concomitant economic losses.  Pesticides, even persistent pesticides have
> 1/2 lives so the ecological damage will be reduced, but the loss of the
> specific compound is effectively permanent.
> The traits contained in GE seeds have and will continue to escape into
> "weeds" grown in near proximity to GE crops.  The result will be the loss of
> the effectiveness of these tools the same as it is for pesticide resistance.
>  Unfortunately, once these genetic traits escape to non target plants, there
> is no corresponding 1/2 life as with pesticides.  This will exacerbate the
> problem far more than we have experienced with loss of pesticides due to
> resistance.
> Other legitimate concerns regarding SB 777 include the following:
>   a.. As a social decision, SB 777 is intended to prevent cities, townships
> or counties from taking any action to regulate genetically engineered seeds.
>  To stop the unchecked spread of GE contamination throughout the
> environment, counties and towns in other states have taken steps to prohibit
> or otherwise restrict use of GE seeds.  In our democracy, I believe we need
> to carefully balance local preferences of Michigan communities.
>   b.. A issue of fairness and economics:  This bill does not protect the
> economic and business interests of organic farmers whose crops and
> livelihoods are threatened by GE contamination (as noted above, this
> contamination is not conjecture, but a reality).  I find the apparent utter
> disregard for livelihood of a growing niche market that is especially
> important to Michigan agriculture a major concern.
>   c.. The bill also preempts and invalidates local laws on noxious weed
> seeds or use/planting of invasive plant seeds.  These kinds of ordinances
> are often part of a local program to enhance native plant species and
> encourage healthy habitats for wildlife and people.  Local communities
> should not have this power taken from them.

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