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August 6th, 2014

History Will Repeat Itself With New Herbicide-Tolerant Crops

By Genna Reed airplane spraying pesticide

Working against the advice of consumer, environmental, public health and family farm groups, the USDA has released its final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Dow’s controversial “Enlist” varieties of corn and soybeans, genetically engineered to be resistant to 2,4-D and glyphosate (Roundup). This statement is the final step in the agency’s regulatory process for GE crops before issuing a formal approval. 

USDA’s analysis did not deviate from the draft version released in January, and recommends approving all three varieties (one for corn and two for soybeans). A quick review of the final version of the EIS and its appendices reveals that the agency did not address the risks we flagged during the comment period, including the increased likelihood of 2,4-D drift that will negatively impact plant health and the livelihoods of farmers. It also failed to account for the impacts of increased 2,4-D on superweeds that will certainly become even more difficult to manage once they are resistant to multiple herbicides.

The comments on the draft EIS overwhelmingly called for the agency to deny approval of these genetically engineered crops. The USDA received over 10,000 comments, 90 percent of which opposed the approval of “Enlist” corn and soybeans. There were also over 600,000 petition signatures from a variety of organizations, including 61,132 Food & Water Watch members. Not only does the public disapprove of Dow’s “Enlist” crops, but fifty members of Congress agree, having signed onto a letter asking USDA and EPA to reject “Enlist.”

The USDA is planning on moving forward with the approval of 2,4-D corn and soybeans in the next few months. This decision will go down in history as one of the worst for agriculture as a whole, and certainly a terrible one for GE crops. While weed resistance continues to get worse every day for farmers due to past reliance on Roundup, the USDA is suffering from some seriously short-term memory loss. Like the saying goes, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Unfortunately, the unfair reality is that the weed resistance explosion and increased spraying of 2,4-D that will occur once these crops are approved will have the greatest effect on those farmers who aren’t even growing GMOs or using 2,4-D. 

Fortunately, there’s still time to help. Take action today and tell USDA that approving 2,4-D tolerant crops is a shortsighted plan for weed management. 


33 Comments on History Will Repeat Itself With New Herbicide-Tolerant Crops

  1. Andrew Redhead says:

    Having dealt with Roundup-resistant weeds, I have no illusions about the environmental disaster this ridiculous policy will help to unleash.

  2. Susan Salter says:

    To USDA…
    Approving 2,4-D crops is a terrible mistake and will result in increased use the the pesticide. I am sorry you cannot learn from your past errors or listen to the number of Americans that disapprove such GMO crops.

  3. Tom Wolske says:

    lol ease don’t approve the new enlist soybeans. We are using too much pesticides already.

  4. Ronald Starkey says:

    I’d say I was surprised but prior actions of USDA in this area have made me quite cynical. The money from Monsanto et al and the top people in the department are operating against the peoples choice. We are doomed.

  5. shirley sullivan says:

    Please do not approve 2,4-D tolerant crops!

  6. Tamera Bennett says:

    It’s clearly time for cleaning house of all these government agencies. Their agenda is clearly one to further wrongful corporations and their enviromentally damaging chemicals. No regard for the health and well being of the people. Shameful really.

  7. Regina McNerney says:

    What part of the ever increasing need for more and more and more round-up on our crops does the USDA not understand. The USDA must not approve 2,4-D tolerant crops…we must turn away from this approach and find safer, more natural methods of weed management before the weeds take over the crops or we all get sick from pesticides!

  8. Yvonne Stone says:

    We have enough problems with the environment already 2,4D, is just compounding the problems. Stop using it!

  9. Elizabeth Wiley says:

    Please do not approve 2,4-D tolerant crops!! Please do not make it more difficult to have healthy food. Please do not approve Dow’s “Enlist” corn and soybeans!!
    We to have our government promote health, not poison!!
    This is considered a very unwise step for the agency to take by many knowledgeable members of Congress and other organizations. Please make the right decision for the nation’s health!

  10. owens iris g. says:

    You are killing the world!

  11. Sharon Crandall says:

    I would like to know the names of the people in the USDA and EPA responsible for this decision.

  12. Michelle Adams says:

    Do not allow Enlist varieties of corn and soybean.

  13. Dixie McGrew says:

    Reliance on genetically-engineered crops for weed control seems to me extremely short-sighted. Can’t you see you’re only making it worse?

  14. Gerry Rhoades says:

    This is outrageous and proves that the USDA supports big business at the expense of the American people. The USDA will ruin US agriculture.

  15. Roberta Nunn says:

    Let’s see Michelle Obama grows those crops in her garden.

  16. Nancy Mugridge says:

    We can’t keep testing these toxins on the public by open air cultivation using these methods. We already know that the weeds become tolerant & require more spraying.

  17. Cara Person says:

    Stop destroying our world! You are ruining the world for our younger generation and its unbelievable and disgusting!!

  18. John Wise says:

    Start working for the health and welfare of consumers and farmers instead of the profit margins of the polluters. That would be refreshing. Roll back GMO crops that allow more pesticide use and ultimately the destruction of American farming.

  19. Alice Ahern says:

    If the USDA doesn’t listen to the people, farmers or experts,
    they need to be dismantled and replaced with public Servants
    who act in the best interest of the public vs. bow to big money

  20. Marge Poston says:

    We must stop this insanity!!! Have we learned nothing from the past?? The path is leading to the anialation of mankind!! Why can this not be seen by those who are so greedy that money blinds them from the fact that they are killing themselves as well????

  21. Margaret says:

    Why are you so eager to kill citizens? Stop siding with corporations that can’t be killed and start siding with live citizens who PAY YOUR SALARY!
    You don’t have children or grandchildren who are going to be affected by your decisions, I do. I don’t want them dying from poisoned crops.

  22. Warren Hollingsworth says:

    Incredible. Totally at a loss for words.

  23. Shas Cho says:

    This is incredibly stupid.
    After 30 years of tropical floods and sun
    in Laos and Cambodia and Vietnam,
    2,4-D (Agent Orange) is still causing cancers, neurological disorders,
    respiratory diseases, infertility, abortions,
    and more than 500,000 documented birth defects of this type:

    Monsanto and DOW (and hence the FDA) know this very well;
    they have made many millions of dollars from it.
    And now they are pushing hard
    to drench the crops and farm lands
    of the entire world with this poison
    so as to make even more millions
    from the suffering and death of innocent people.
    I guess the difference between Murder and Business
    is just whether one is being paid to do it!

  24. Michael May says:

    How is this not criminal activity?? Protection of our food supply is supposed to be the USDA’s purpose. If business deviates from proper practices OSHA is all over them. How does the USDA get away with this irresponsible behavior??

  25. Dominique says:

    As one of the apparent minority of people with concerns re. Herbicides and GMOs, I feel my voice is not being heard. I grow my own organic food but am surrounded by conventional farmers who spray. Every year, I see a decrease in frogs, toads, pollinators, birds and I am very concerned.

  26. GM says:


  27. Kate Kenner says:

    The USDA needs to plan for the future and not just for the present. I n the end 2,4-D will backfire. I have to wonder what the USDA is allowing these toxins to be used.

  28. Nelson Baker says:

    Do not approve these chemicals as they are hazardous to humans and animals.

  29. Constance Garcia-Barrio says:

    Genetically engineered plants have yet to be proven safe. They must be labeled so that the public can protect its health.

  30. Sandra Woodall says:

    Roundup ready crops were supposed to be the answer to weed control. Lots of Roundup was sold. We have Roundup resistant weeds.

    2,4-D ready crops are now supposed to be the answer to weed control.

    Why do you think the outcome will be any different?

  31. Julie Woodman says:

    Why is this happening? this is a crazy decision.

  32. Maria Teresa Schollhorn says:

    No herbicide tolerant crops, please.

  33. Jose A. Arce says:

    Stop this. Please save our future.

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