Franken-Alfalfa OK, Says Supreme Court

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Inscribing superstition in the field

The Supreme Court overturned a lower court ruling that essentially banned genetically enhanced alfalfa until an environmental impact study had been done. The 7 to 1 victory for science over environmentalist superstition is, however, qualified. In its opinion in Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Farms, the court noted:

"Such harms, which respondents will suffer even if their crops are not actually infected with the Roundup ready gene, are sufficiently concrete to satisfy the injury-in-fact prong of the constitutional standing analysis. Those harms are readily attributable to APHIS's deregulation decision, which, as the District Court found, gives rise to a significant risk of gene flow to non-genetically-engineered varieties of alfalfa."

Note the language – "infected" and "significant risk." Infected? Gene flow between crop plants is absolutely normal. The specific trait, herbicide resistance, has been ruled safe for humans and the environment for more than a decade. The case should have been thrown out at the district court level as a frivolous waste of time.

Nonetheless, one political practitioner of the higher environmental superstition, Sen. Patrick Leahy (I D-Vt.), issued a press release decrying the decision:

Once again, it appears that the Court is siding with big business, putting the interests of  corporations ahead of hardworking Americans, specifically farmers, as well as the environment. …

I believe the decision erroneously approves Monsanto's argument for a dangerous pollute-first, investigate-second approach to enforcing federal environmental laws.

Really? And just who does the senator think wants to grow biotech alfalfa? How about hardworking farmers who want ot use the latest technology to be better stewards of their land and lower costs? I wish the Court had come down more firmly on the side of science, but this will have to do for now.