LTE in support of HB 2739 - "GE developers should be held accountable"

Must read! This powerful letter to the editor from Malheur County Farmer, Jerry Erstrom, was just published in the Capital Press. Erstrom argues in favor of HB 2739, and highlights the real-time need for protection from GE contamination in Oregon. He also points out that those opposing the bill are (not surprisingly) funded by Monsanto and other Big Ag chemical companies, and are (not surprisingly) using the same old "sky is falling" talking points that we hear all the time when anyone tries to regulate or label GMOs. 

GE developers should be held accountable

By Jerry Erstrom

June 21, 2017 | I am a farmer in Malheur County, Ore., where I grow seed crops (including non-GE alfalfa), vegetables, and Roundup Ready field corn.

I am not opposed to genetically engineered crops, but as a farmer of some non-GE varieties and after my experience with GE contamination in my alfalfa seed production and with the GE creeping bentgrass escape, I am a supporter of making the right people accountable if crops are damaged. That is why I support HB 2739.

As the chairman of the Malheur County Weed Board, I’ve had a front row seat to the damage caused by Roundup Ready GE bentgrass, which spreads easily on the wind and through water, infesting irrigation ditches and cross-pollinating with wild relatives.

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Lincoln County Measure 21-177 Update, May 17

Still Too Close To Call For Lincoln County Pesticide Measure
By Rachael McDonald

May 17, 2017 | We won’t know the final vote count on a ballot measure to ban aerial pesticide spraying in Lincoln County until early June. The ordinance is currently passing with a 27 vote margin.

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Lincoln County Ballot Measure 21-177 Would Ban Aerial Pesticide Spraying

The local initiative, entitled “Freedom of Lincoln County from Aerially-Sprayed Pesticides”, would ban aerial pesticide spraying in coastal Lincoln County, and will be voted on in the upcoming May 2017 election. This would be the fourth Community Rights Measure that Oregonians will have voted on.

Citizens for a Healthy County say the ordinance will:

  1. Ban aircraft application of pesticides on clearcut forest land in Lincoln County.
  2. Protect our right to choose clean drinking water.
  3. Relieve our families and properties, wildlife and watershed from pesticide drift.
  4. Allow spray by backpack or tractor for farm, home, or fishing boat applications.
  5. Establish a local bill of rights to enable people to make important decisions about what happens in our community.
  6. Affirm and protect our rights to safety guaranteed to us under the Oregon State Constitution Article 1.
  7. Safeguard our wildlife from Atrazine and 2,4-D

You can read the full text of the ordinance here:

Measure Would Ban Aerial Pesticide Spraying In Lincoln County
By Rachael McDonald

May 8, 2017 | Oregon voters in coastal Lincoln County are considering a ballot measure that would ban aerial spraying of pesticides and herbicides.

It’s a practice that became a concern last month for City of Depoe Bay Supervisor Brady Weidner when he found an email in his inbox. It said Hancock Timber was going to spray herbicides from helicopters on a recently logged track near the city’s reservoir within a few days. Weidmar was alarmed because that reservoir supplies water to the small coastal community.

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HB 2739 - Oregon GMO liability bill survives crucial deadline.

HB 2739 survived the deadline! Biotech patent holders would be legally responsible for losses caused by their genetically engineered crops in Oregon if this bill is passed.

Read the full text of HB 2739, and stay updated on it's progress here: Oregon State Legislature | HB 2739
Oregon GMO liability bill survives Legislature’s deadline
By Mateusz Perkowski

April 18, 2017 | House Bill 2739 would allow landowners to sue biotech patent holders for the unwanted presence of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, on their land.

The bill has now been referred to the House Rules Committee, which isn’t subject to an April 18 legislative deadline that recently killed other proposals.

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GE Bent Grass Takes Root in Oregon

GMO grass that 'escaped' defies eradication, divides grass seed industry
By Jeff Manning

January 8, 2017 | After more than a decade of unsuccessful efforts to eradicate the genetically modified grass it created and allowed to escape, lawn and garden giant Scotts Miracle-Gro now wants to step back and shift the burden to Oregonians.

The federal government is poised to allow that to happen by relinquishing its oversight, even as an unlikely coalition of farmers, seed dealers, environmentalists, scientists and regulators cry foul.

The altered grass has taken root in Oregon, of all places, the self-professed grass seed capital of the world with a billion-dollar-a-year industry at stake. The grass has proven hard to kill because it's been modified to be resistant to Roundup, the ubiquitous, all-purpose herbicide.

The situation is particularly tense in Malheur County, where Scotts' altered grass has taken root after somehow jumping the Snake River from test beds in Idaho.

"Imagine I had a big, sloppy, nasty Rottweiler, and you lived next door in your perfectly manicured house," said Bill Buhrig, an Oregon State University extension agent in Malheur County. "Then I dump the dog in your backyard, I take off and now it's your problem."

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