Reuters reported last week that the Delaware Audubon Society, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and the Center for Food Safety have banded together and sued the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and its parent department, the U.S. Department of the Interior, for illegally growing genetically modified crops in a national wildlife refuge located in Delaware. (I promise I don't make this stuff up.)
Reuters says that PEER uncovered documents through the Freedom of Information Act that show that 100,000 acres of refuge lands are being used by the DOI/USFWS to cultivate to GMO crops.
According to a press release made by the three plaintiffs:
Allowing farming within wildlife refuges interferes with the protection of the wildlife and native species that the national refuge system is designed to protect. In fact, a 150 acre Test Area at the Prime Hook Refuge was taken out of agricultural production for three years and produced a wide diversity of bird, animal and plant habitats and species diversity. However, the Refuge destroyed those habitats by allowing the Test Area to be plowed under for farming at the end of the three year period.
The groups goes on to say that:
Yet, without any consideration of the environmental effects of allowing such crops on federal refuge lands, Casey Stemler, a special assistant acting on behalf of Matt Hogan, a former Safari Club lobbyist now serving as the acting Assistant Secretary of Interior for Fish, Wildlife & Parks, overrode the Refuge manager and ordered that planting of GE crops proceed at the Prime Hook Refuge.
You hear about this all the time in the Bush administration now–it's happened with EPA, NASA, NOAA. In BushWorld, the interests of industries and corporations consistently override sound science, public interest, and environmental common sense.
And now the USFWS/DOI ignores the advice of the manager of a wildlife refuge and plants GM crops there. Just despicable…but not really surprising.
Image courtesy of Asheville Global Report