Horse News

Scotts-Monsanto GM Grass Threatens National Forests, Rivers, Ranchers, and Farmers




Now biotech companies want local residents to pay the costs of clean-up! Action Alert!

Over a decade ago, Scotts partnered with Monsanto to market a GM bentgrass resistant to glyphosate (Roundup). It was planted next to the Malheur National Forest in test plots ostensibly controlled by Oregon State University. Unbeknownst to most people, it was also planted all over the US—in California, Iowa, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and seventeen other states.

It was supposed to be confined and controlled, but it very quickly escaped and spread out of the test plots in Oregon into Idaho, and crossbred with natural grasses to create new breeds that were also resistant to glyphosate. It clogged up irrigation ditches, threatening food crops and contaminating pasture-raised cattle with GMOs. In addition to the immediate threats to farmers and ranchers, grass seed—which is among Oregon’s top five commodities—is now under threat.

Initially, Scotts-Monsanto tried to stop the spread and clean up the contamination. But it was unable to do so because the original bentgrass (and now the other grasses it cross-pollinated with) are glyphosate-resistant. More toxic herbicides have been brought in to try to keep irrigation ditches clear, and to stop the grasses from clogging and eventually killing waterways important to wildlife and humans.

Now, according to The Oregonian, Scotts-Monsanto is walking away from the monster it created, leaving farmers, ranchers, wildlife, and eventually the fishing industry (if it spreads to the Columbia River) to deal with it. The current conundrum is that herbicides necessary to kill the invasive GM grasses are toxic to aquatic life, including fish. Soon the grasses will become resistant to even the most toxic chemicals, and nothing will eradicate the invasive grasses but heavy equipment.

Worst of all, the effects of GM products replacing natural grasses and plants on wildlife were completely predictable.

Scotts-Monsanto was fined $500,000, the maximum penalty under the Plant Protection Act, and agreed never to sell GM bentgrass. In addition, the companies were ordered to eradicate the GM nuisance in irrigation districts so farmers could continue farming.

But the federal government is apparently stepping in to help Scotts-Monsanto avoid liability. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently deregulated the GM grass, a move that shifts the burden of controlling GM bentgrass from Scotts-Monsanto to local landowners and American taxpayers.

The law is clear: if a plant poses a risk, the USDA is not to deregulate it. Scotts-Monsanto has already signed an agreement not to sell the product. So why is the USDA violating the law and deregulating GM bentgrass? Why would Scotts-Monsanto ask that it be deregulated when it has agreed not to sell it? It may be because GM bentgrass has been planted all over the United States, and when it’s discovered that the Oregon scenario is happening in every state, Scotts-Monsanto can pin it on the government and the taxpayers avoiding responsibility for costly clean-ups.

There are precedents for farmers and consumers holding biotech companies legally accountable in these scenarios. Midwestern corn growers filed a class-action lawsuit against Syngenta last year, claiming the company’s GM corn contaminated their crops and cost them billions in international sales. In 2011, Bayer paid $750 million to Southern rice growers in a similar scenario.

We hope justice is done in Oregon, and the parties responsible for this mess are forced to clean it up.

Action Alert! Tell the USDA to stop offering legal liability protection to biotech companies. Please send your message immediately.


8 replies »

  1. Monsanto’s ally Pompeo to head the CIA

    Trump has tapped Congressman Mike Pompeo to head the CIA.
    In April of 2014, Pompeo introduced the bill that would become The Dark Act, banning states from passing laws mandating GMO labeling on food. Instead, The Dark Act introduces very weak and confusing federal GMO labels. Few people will pay attention to them or even realize they’re there.

    Mike is also a heavy supporter of the NSA’s surveillance programs: “Congress should pass a law re-establishing collection of all metadata, and combining it with publicly available financial and lifestyle information into a comprehensive, searchable database. Legal and bureaucratic impediments to surveillance should be removed.” (The Atlantic, 11/18/16)


    • Pompeo represents the Koch Industries district, so I’m not surprised by the Dark Act. And if Jon Rappoport is so sure about HRC’s pay for play involvements with her diplomatic contacts and the State Dept., then the ever-ready Director Comey of the FBI hasn’t said a word, although he was quite glib back last July and 11 days before the Elections regarding her e-mails. Otherwise, I’m sure Comey is doing a good job hunting for the mole in the Trump administration/campaign. Putin thinks they have their mole hooded, in prison with enhanced interrogation methods being applied to him in the Kremlin. Alas, Hillary’s problem were not her e-mails but the white-males desperate to stop her.


  2. Pompeo’s DARK Act Will Keep Consumers In The Dark

    After two states have passed GE labeling bills and more than 30 are poised to consider similar labeling bills and ballot initiatives, the food and biotech industry have goat-roped some members of Congress into introducing legislation to block state GE labeling laws.

    Rep. MIKE POMPEO (R-Kans.) has introduced the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act to keep consumers, well, in the dark about whether or not their food contains GE ingredients. The bill would also allow foods labeled as “natural” to contain GE foods, and prevent the federal Food and Drug Administration from requiring mandatory labeling.

    Apparently, POMPEO is among the 7 percent of Americans who tell pollsters they don’t want to know what they’re eating. (Full story here)…


  3. This is why I want to holler when I read that people want to get rid of invasive species (with more poisons). It will never be possible! I’m sick of our wildlife refuges and national forests being used as open-air laboratories, when we have no idea what the outcomes will be! Have we learned nothing from the past? There’s a great PBS documentary about Rachel Carson that is a must-watch.


  4. Grow Your Own Food. I have seen people investing in poultry for eggs that Never thought of it before. You raise Your Own fruits veggies and go to local orchards. Its at a point where people will be raising their own food including meat. (No, Vegans dont pass out but some folks bodies require proteins from meat that have proven to not be replaced by distitutes). Either way the horse slaughter issues become EVEN MORE IMPORTANT than EVER. These changes are allowing the groundwork for coming food deceptions.


  5. I was unable to locate a list of the 21 states this “plant” was released into. Can anyone provide one? It’s important to recognize if any of this has entered HMAs as horses will further spread the seeds. Thanks.




    NORMAN R. SCOTT (Chair), Cornell University, Ithaca, New York (Emeritus)
    PEGGY F. BARLETT, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
    HAROLD L. BERGMAN, University of Wyoming, Laramie
    SUSAN CAPALBO, Oregon State University, Corvallis
    GAIL CZARNECKI-MAULDEN, Nestle Purina PetCare, St. Louis, Missouri
    RICHARD A. DIXON, University of North Texas, Denton
    GEBISA EJETA, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
    ROBERT B. GOLDBERG, University of California, Los Angeles
    FRED GOULD, North Carolina State University, Raleigh
    GARY F. HARTNELL, Monsanto Company, St. Louis, Missouri
    GENE HUGOSON, University of Minnesota, St. Paul
    MOLLY M. JAHN, University of Wisconsin, Madison
    ROBBIN S. JOHNSON, Cargill Foundation, Wayzata, Minnesota
    JAMES W. JONES, University of Florida, Gainesville
    A.G. KAWAMURA, Solutions from the Land, Washington, DC
    STEPHEN S. KELLEY, North Carolina State University, Raleigh
    JULIA L. KORNEGAY, North Carolina State University, Raleigh
    PHILIP E. NELSON, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana (Emeritus)
    CHARLES W. RICE, Kansas State University, Manhattan
    JIM E. RIVIERE, Kansas State University, Manhattan
    ROGER A. SEDJO, Resources for the Future, Washington, DC
    KATHLEEN SEGERSON, University of Connecticut, Storrs
    MERCEDES VAZQUEZ-AÑON, Novus International, Inc., St. Charles, Missouriqu

    Click to access NAS%20Review%20of%20Proposals.pdf


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