EPA Recommends Deregulating Highly Invasive GE Grass
The EPA released a final environmental impact statement on December 7 giving the green light to creeping bentgrass, a highly invasive type of grass genetically engineered by Monsanto and Scotts Miracle Gro-Co. to withstand what would normally be a lethal dose of glyphosate.
The agency recommended the deregulation of the plant because it “is unlikely to pose a plant pest risk.” Nothing could be further from the truth, based on past experience.
The grass was developed by the companies primarily for use on golf courses, but in the past, bentgrass has escaped from “controlled” plots and invaded irrigation ditches, river banks, and the Crooked River National Grassland in Oregon. It crowds out native plants and the wildlife which depends on them, according to the Center for Food Safety (CFS).
CFS said that Monsanto and Scotts have spent more than 10 years and millions of dollars trying to exterminate bentgrass escapes, but have been unsuccessful. Despite this, the USDA seems poised to grant the industry’s request that the department relinquish any authority over the genetically modified grass.
So far, the GE bentgrass has illegally contaminated at least 3 counties, and its ultralight seeds and pollen have been impossible to eradicate, CFS said. In fact, GE creeping bentgrass was declared a noxious weed in Oregon’s Malheur County in 2016.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons.