Visit Our 2015 Sponsors
Thank you to our Sponsors for their generosity and support.
* For information about our Sustaining Sponsorship Program please click here.
 
 


Michigan Agri-Business Association

"Michigan's Voice for Agriculture" 

1501 North Shore Dr., Suite A | East Lansing, MI 48823 | 517-336-0223

- DTN Headline News
APHIS Sued Over GE Crop Info
Wednesday, August 26, 2015 11:38AM CDT

By Todd Neeley
DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) -- USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service violated the Freedom of Information Act by not responding to numerous requests for information from the Center for Food Safety on the agency's proposed regulation of genetically engineered crops, the group alleges in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

In the lawsuit, the CFS outlines a number of contacts the group made with APHIS following the filing of an information request on Dec. 3, 2014, all of which did not result in providing the information the group sought.

APHIS published a proposed update to GE regulations on Oct. 9, 2008, according to the lawsuit. A public comment followed, closing in 2009. The CFS said it filed the FOIA when learning in December 2014 that APHIS was going to withdraw the rule.

"APHIS took no further action on the proposed regulations until March 4, 2015," the lawsuit said. "On that date, the agency announced that, instead of completing or continuing the process of updating its GE regulations, it was suddenly withdrawing the proposed regulations entirely."

When contacted by DTN for comment, APHIS Director of Public Affairs Ed Curlett said the agency could not comment on pending litigation.

The lawsuit said APHIS allegedly didn't provide timely final response to the center's FOIA requests on at least 29 occasions.

Cristina Stella, staff attorney for the Center for Food Safety, said in a news release Tuesday that the information requested by the group is important to consumers.

"APHIS has a track record of irresponsible and inadequate regulation of GE crops," she said. "In the absence of thorough government oversight, public access to information about these crops becomes all the more critical. This lawsuit is necessary to stop APHIS from continuing to ignore its duty to provide the public with information that affects farmers, communities, and the environment.

"The longer APHIS fails to use its full authority to regulate the environmental and agricultural harms from GE crops, such as transgenic contamination of nearby crops, pesticide drift, and endangerment of protected species, the more these harms will occur."

In the lawsuit, the center said it sought records from APHIS related to the proposed GE regulation update. Time and again, the group said, it had followed the FOIA procedure, continued to contact APHIS personnel about the request, but to this day has not received the information requested.

"APHIS has violated FOIA by failing to respond to plaintiff's request within the statutorily prescribed time limit, failing to disclose the requested documents, and unlawfully withholding the requested information," the lawsuit alleges. "CFS now asks the court to order APHIS to respond to the request and produce all responsive agency records improperly withheld from CFS.

"APHIS regularly delays or withholds disclosure of information to which plaintiff is entitled and for which no valid disclosure exemption or unusual circumstances apply. APHIS has maintained an illegal pattern, practice, or policy of: 1) unreasonable delay in responding to plaintiff's FOIA requests; 2) failing to timely disclose requested documents; and 3) unlawfully withholding requested information."

The Center for Food Safety requested all documents related to the status "and/or progress of APHIS's proposed update of Plant Protection Act regulations ... This specifically includes any information related to APHIS's planned withdrawal of the proposed rule."

The group said in the lawsuit that the documents requested did not include submissions already made public.

"Plaintiff's access to non-exempt documents from APHIS concerning GE crops and their regulation is essential to plaintiff's mission and to the public's interest and right to know about the regulation of GE crops," the lawsuit said.

"Part of plaintiff's mission is to ensure that federal agencies with regulatory authority over aspects of food production, such as APHIS, comply with their statutory mandates and federal environmental laws such as the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act. Plaintiff also seeks, with regard to GE foods, to ensure that federal agencies such as APHIS adequately protect public health and the environment by providing thorough premarket analysis of their risks and impacts."

Read the lawsuit here: http://tinyurl.com/…

Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @ToddNeeleyDTN

(AG/SK)


blog iconDTN Blogs & Forums
DTN Market Matters Blog
Katie Micik
Markets Editor
Wednesday, August 26, 2015 8:41PM CDT
Monday, August 10, 2015 5:59PM CDT
Friday, August 7, 2015 2:58PM CDT
Technically Speaking
Darin Newsom
DTN Senior Analyst
Tuesday, August 25, 2015 1:41PM CDT
Saturday, August 22, 2015 7:59PM CDT
Saturday, August 22, 2015 6:52PM CDT
Fundamentally Speaking
Joel Karlin
DTN Contributing Analyst
Thursday, August 27, 2015 6:00PM CDT
Wednesday, August 26, 2015 3:41PM CDT
Tuesday, August 25, 2015 2:57PM CDT
DTN Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor
Thursday, August 27, 2015 3:53PM CDT
Tuesday, August 25, 2015 6:46PM CDT
Thursday, August 20, 2015 7:09PM CDT
Minding Ag's Business
Marcia Taylor
DTN Executive Editor
Thursday, August 20, 2015 9:10PM CDT
Friday, August 14, 2015 5:17PM CDT
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 9:49PM CDT
DTN Ag Weather Forum
Bryce Anderson
DTN Ag Meteorologist and DTN Analyst
Thursday, August 27, 2015 3:16PM CDT
Monday, August 24, 2015 7:11PM CDT
Friday, August 21, 2015 7:58PM CDT
Monday, August 24, 2015 9:14PM CDT
Monday, August 24, 2015 6:39PM CDT
Tuesday, August 18, 2015 8:36PM CDT
DTN Production Blog
Pam Smith
Crops Technology Editor
Thursday, August 27, 2015 5:36PM CDT
Tuesday, August 25, 2015 4:00PM CDT
Monday, August 17, 2015 4:50PM CDT
Harrington's Sort & Cull
John Harrington
DTN Livestock Analyst
Wednesday, August 19, 2015 7:16PM CDT
Friday, August 7, 2015 7:20PM CDT
Friday, July 31, 2015 5:58PM CDT
South America Calling
Alastair Stewart
South America Correspondent
Wednesday, August 26, 2015 3:48PM CDT
Monday, August 17, 2015 7:42PM CDT
Friday, August 14, 2015 6:44PM CDT
An Urban’s Rural View
Urban Lehner
Editor Emeritus
Monday, August 24, 2015 11:09AM CDT
Monday, August 17, 2015 4:53PM CDT
Monday, August 10, 2015 2:37PM CDT
Machinery Chatter
Jim Patrico
Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Wednesday, August 26, 2015 12:25PM CDT
Thursday, August 20, 2015 4:12PM CDT
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 4:12PM CDT
Canadian Markets
Cliff Jamieson
Canadian Grains Analyst
Thursday, August 27, 2015 9:45PM CDT
Wednesday, August 26, 2015 9:28PM CDT
Tuesday, August 25, 2015 8:57PM CDT
Editor’s Notebook
Greg D. Horstmeier
DTN Editor-in-Chief
Tuesday, August 25, 2015 5:57PM CDT
Wednesday, August 19, 2015 4:58PM CDT
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 4:02PM CDT
Copyright DTN. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.
Powered By DTN