EPA sued over Bt crops

A coalition of environmental activists, led by Greenpeace (Washington, DC), filed a lawsuit in February to try to force the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA; Washington, DC) to repeal its approval of Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) transgenic crops. The plaintiffs contend that the EPA has not sufficiently studied the possible effects on the environment of the genetically modified (GM) crops produced by such companies as Monsanto (St Louis, MO) and Mycogen (San Diego, CA). Greenpeace and its supporters are particularly concerned that GM crops planted on about 20 million acres of US land in 1998 will lead to widespread insect resistance to bacterial proteins from Bt that are also used by organic farmers as an emergency pesticide. Studies have so far failed to support the claim that GM plants will foster resistance to neighbors, and Alan Goldhamer, executive director of technical affairs for the Biotechnology Industry Organization (Washington, DC), adds that "courts have traditionally found in favor of the EPA" in similar suits. Still, Goldhamer cautions biotechnologists against complacency: "We take this as a credible suit. The [EPA] has to respond to the complaint and document its actions."

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Dove, A. EPA sued over Bt crops. Nat Biotechnol 17, 315 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1038/7835

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