APHIS calling for comments on proposed freeze resistant GE eucalyptus trees.

The APHIS has received a petition (APHIS 11-019-01p) from Inc. of Summerville, SC, seeking a determination of nonregulated status of two Freeze Tolerant Eucalyptus (FTE) lines designated 427 and 435.
APHIS is calling for comments from the public until the 29th of April 2013:

Environmental groups across the country have raised about the impact of genetically engineered eucalyptus plantations. are not native to the Americas and are considered an .

EcoGen, LLC recently announced plans to develop eucalyptus plantations in southern Florida to feed biomass facilities. Additionally, South Carolina-based has requested USDA permission to sell billions of genetically engineered cold tolerant for , Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. The USDA is expected to respond to this request in the coming months.

are documented as an invasive pest in California and Florida. But because they cannot grow in sub-freezing temperatures, they have been engineered to be cold-tolerant, enabling them to survive temperatures down to 20°f – vastly expanding their range.

“GE are a disaster waiting to happen – it is critical the USDA rejects them,” said Global Justice Ecology Project Executive Director Anne . “In addition to being invasive, are explosively flammable. In a region that has been plagued by droughts in recent years, developing plantations of an invasive, water-greedy and fire-prone tree is foolhardy and dangerous.”

“The forests of the Southeast are some of the most biodiverse in the world,” said Scot Quaranda, of Asheville, NC-based Dogwood Alliance. “They contain species found nowhere else. Species like the Louisiana Black Bear, the golden-cheeked warbler and the red-cockaded woodpecker are already endangered. Eucalyptus plantations could push these and other species over the edge,” he added.

The Georgia Department of Wildlife opposes GE due to these impacts.

The STOP GE Trees Campaign is planning events around the Tree Biotechnology 2013 Conference this May in Asheville, NC, where GE tree industry representatives and researchers will gather to discuss the use of GE trees and their deployment across the US South.


Global Justice
Stop GE Trees campaign

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