[PCA] LAW: U.S. issue - State Seed Preemption bills (fwd)

Plant Conservation plant at plantconservation.org
Thu Mar 17 11:11:46 CST 2005

-----Original Message-----
From: Peter Jenkins [mailto:peterjenkins at icta.org]
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2005 1:08 PM
To: aliens-l at indaba.iucn.org
Subject: U.S. issue - State Seed Preemption bills - PLEASE FORWARD TO

U.S. folks - There's a movement afoot in various State legislatures to
adopt new laws that preempt any local regulation of seeds.  This is an
ag/biotech industry response to some California counties having adopted,
or considering adopting, ordinances that prohibit planting of genetically
engineered (GE) crops.  Without debating the pros and cons of local GE
bans, it is worth noting that these State preemption bills sweep very
broadly and generally would not allow any local regulation of seeds, even
if the seed may present weediness risks in that locality. The bills are
not limited to GE crop seeds.

The handy Seed Law Preemption Tracker,
http://www.environmentalcommons.org/gmo-tracker.html provides the status
of those pending bills, some of which appear to have been adopted already.
States listed there are PA, OK, IN, IA, AZ, ID, and GE; there may be others
and the number grows almost daily. Here, e.g., is the text of the Georgia
bill (SB 87) that has reportedly passed both houses there:

"No county, municipal corporation, consolidated government, or other
political subdivision of this state shall adopt or continue in effect any
ordinance, rule, regulation, or resolution regulating the labeling,
packaging, sale, storage, transportation, distribution, notification of
use, or use of seeds."

Their unintended effect could be to expose counties to greater risk of harm
from invasive plants.  Although no current list is available that I know
of, I think some counties, particularly in South Florida, have lists of
specially-regulated plants aimed at preventing local sale and use of more
disastrous invaders like melaleuca and Brazilian pepper. (Perhaps someone
on this list can provide updates on the status of local weed regulations.)
The State seed preemption bills, if adopted, could nullify some aspects of
such local weed ordinances.

Native plant and anti-weed folks are urged to look out for these bills and
consider advocating against them.  Please feel free to forward this notice
to appropriate lists.


Peter T. Jenkins, Attorney/Policy Analyst
International Center for Technology Assessment
660 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Suite 302
Washington, DC 20003 USA
Tel: 202.547.9359 ext. 13
Fax: 202.547.9429
Email: peterjenkins at icta.org

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