New Press Releases
March 11, 2014
Press Releases : Farmers warn of threats to farm economies posed by Dow’s new genetically engineered corn and soybean varieties
Press Release: Today over 387,000 farmers, farmworkers, health professionals, and concerned individuals from across the country joined together in urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to reject Dow AgroSciences’ application seeking approval of controversial genetically engineered (GE) corn and soybean varieties that are resistant to the hazardous herbicide 2,4-D.
Press Releases : Label Review Reveals Another Reason FDA Guidance Won’t Stop Misuse of Antibiotics in Livestock
Press Release: Label Review Reveals Another Reason FDA Guidance Won’t Stop Misuse of Antibiotics in Livestock
Press Releases : UK Government Pressed on Pro-GM Position
Food & Water Europe today asked the UK Government to change its vocal but ill-founded pro-GM position in light of the evidence that GM and non-GM farming are incompatible.
March 7, 2014
Press Releases : Del. McIntosh Kills Fracking Wastewater Bill, Leaves Maryland Vulnerable to Contaminants From Out-of-State Fracking Waste
Annapolis, MD — “Today, the Maryland House of Delegates Environmental Matters Committee lost a valuable opportunity to provide protection for Marylanders against the dangers of fracking when it blocked legislation to ban the treatment, storage, disposal, and discharge of fracking wastewater in Maryland. It’s regrettable that the committee wasn't allowed to pass the legislation. “It's outrageous that instead of asking for a simple yes or no vote, Chairwoman Maggie McIntosh asked 'Who needs to vote for this to get re-elected?' The fact that she then told a legislator that he didn't need the vote ‘down there’ in his district shows her intent to not let the legislation through no matter how much support it had in committee.
March 6, 2014
Press Releases : USDA’s New Food Safety Measure Ruffles Advocates’ Feathers
Press Release: In a letter delivered today to the White House, over 100 farm, consumer, environmental and multi-issue advocacy groups and businesses across the country denounced the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s plan to deregulate poultry inspections and increase maximum slaughter line speeds from 140 to 175 birds per minute. The groups also delivered 219,785 petitions against the proposal.
New Fact Sheets
There are no new Fact Sheets this week
New Issue Briefs
There are no new Issue Briefs this week
There are no new Reports this week
March 11, 2014
Don’t feel bad if you’re not familiar with the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This controversial trade deal has been negotiated mostly behind closed doors, and the text of the agreement was only recently made available to Congress. Even now that the text is available, members of Congress still have to jump through a few hoops to gain access. Over 600 multinational corporations have been made “special advisors” for the purpose of assisting our trade representatives draft the deal, and everything we know about the contents of the TPP is from leaks. Inside the trade deal, known as the TPP, is a provision that will allow companies to challenge — as illegal trade barriers — any government policies that purportedly infringe on corporate profits. In short, a corporation could sue federal, state and local governments if it believes that a law or regulation will negatively impact its bottom line. This is scary in all sorts of ways. Companies could challenge local laws that prohibit or delay the environmentally dangerous practice of hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) for natural gas. Already a company incorporated in Delaware is challenging Quebec’s fracking moratorium under a similar investment provision under the North American Free Trade Agreement.
For the life of me I cannot understand why anybody serious about reducing or stopping the degradation of our nation’s waters would consider that trading pollution is a realistic way to do so. So far, the only regulated interests that have expressed interest in trading pollution on my local river are those that cannot meet their current pollution caps, and so they would like to simply pay more money to keep on polluting. While some refer to it as cap-and-trade, we’d be more accurate calling it trade-and-pay. In a variation of the same approach, there are a few such interests that have managed to acquire surplus capacity to discharge into a waterway and so they hope to get paid to sell their surplus capacity to somebody else who can use it. For the years I have been sounding the alarm about the evils of trading, at least some environmentalists have argued that it is pointless to oppose this because the “train has already left the station.” But, isn’t the point to reduce pollution, not make sure everybody pollutes up to their regulated limits? Even if the math and the concept of market incentives like trading somehow make sense to you in the context of conservation, then how about moral problems? How does it square with basic fairness that somebody can pollute in one place and then compensate for it elsewhere with cash? The answer is that it is outrageous, and deferring pollution onto others is a recipe for fundamental injustice. Consequently, those with the most attractive “marketplaces” will get the very best environmental quality money can buy. Everyone else will get only trades as the gap between environmental haves and have-nots will just get wider.
How the FDA’s Voluntary Guidance Fails to Curb Antibiotic Misuse in Livestock
March 10, 2014
It was slick business as usual last week in the Maryland Environmental Matters Committee. If you blinked, you might have missed your chance to count the votes on HB 409. On Friday, March 7, a bill that would have banned the treatment, storage, discharge and disposal of fracking wastewater or "flow back" in Maryland was up for a vote in the committee. The bill was sponsored by Del. Shane Robinson and had 33 additional cosponsors, including eight members of the committee. Yet, even with that level of support, leadership dismissed the bill as if it were an unserious piece of legislation. The legislation is necessary because the state’s wastewater facilities are not equipped to handle or process many of the chemicals that would turn up in fracking fluid, so the bill was designed to protect Maryland’s wastewater systems from fracking associated risks. And while there is currently no fracking wastewater coming into Maryland, fracking wastewater was treated in Baltimore in 2010 and there is no law in place to prevent this happening again when there’s a new administration in 2015.
In 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) put forward a shockingly favorable regulatory review on AquaBounty Technologies’ genetically engineered salmon, offering preliminary determinations that the fish are healthy, of little threat to the environment and safe to eat. The scientific community skewered the agency’s far-reaching, short-sighted determinations, while hundreds of thousands of consumers stated clearly they wouldn’t eat the slow-growing, sickly, escape-prone fish. Here we are in 2014 and, as the world turns, it increasingly turns against AquaBounty’s GMO salmon. Many of the nation’s largest conventional grocers—including Kroger, Safety, Target, HEB, Aldi, Giant Eagle, Meijer, Marsh, and dozens of others—have said they won’t sell AquaBounty’s GMO salmon even if the FDA does approve it. This list of stores, which continues to grow, already represents close to half of the nation’s retail grocery sales. This means that even if FDA were to approve GMO salmon today, by the time the first fillets hit the stores (AquaBounty says 2016), there very well may not be a single retail outlet willing to stock GMO salmon. And polls show again and again and again that consumers will avoid GMO fish if they can, though that depends on whether FDA requires labeling.
If Dow has its way, one of the harsh chemicals in Agent Orange will be sprayed in massive amounts all over the U.S. and on crops bound for Europe. Act now to prevent it.
March 7, 2014
In the battle over the future of U.S. energy policy, the oil and gas industry has presented many bogus justifications for pursuing fracking. Playing on the public’s genuine patriotism, energy independence is trotted out as the most compelling argument. This rings even more hollow in the current debate about using natural gas as a bargaining chip in the crisis unfolding in the Ukraine
This week, the Albertsons supermarket chain announced it was buying the Safeway supermarket chain, which would be one of the largest grocery store mergers in 25 years.
March 6, 2014
He’s called an “arch-enemy of do-gooders” by 60 Minutes. Thanks to his orchestration of massive corporate PR campaigns using “deceptive corporate front groups” to discredit public interest efforts, he’s earned the nickname “Dr. Evil.” And now, thanks to our outsized effectiveness in relation to our relatively small budget, he’s targeting us.
Blogs : 3,000 Cows Living Next Door
With huge influence over lawmakers, the dairy industry in New Mexico is protected by what is called the “Right to Farm” Act. In the recent legislative session, there was an attempt to exempt agricultural facilities from prosecution for nuisance such as flies, smell and water contamination. The proposed amendment came on the heels of a number of nuisance suits that were filed by multiple residents neighboring big dairy farms this past year.