Brown urges support for GM
Durham, North Carolina, May 30— Cynthia
Brown, US Senate candidate for the Democratic Party primary
in North Carolina, issued a statement today regarding federal
legislation that would mandate labeling of all food products
containing Genetically Engineered ingredients.
“This law is long-overdue,” said Brown. “Our Congress
has waited until thousands of products on our supermarket shelves
already contain ingredients that are not proven to be safe—ingredients
that have been rejected by consumers in most European countries.
I can only hope that our elected representatives will side with
the American people on this one and not with Monsanto’s campaign
The Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know
Act of 2002 was recently introduced in the US House of Representatives
by Rep. Dennis Kucinich and in the Senate by Sen. Barbara Boxer;
it is one of a number of bills dealing with genetically modified
foods being introduced in this session of Congress.
Candidate Brown worried, however, that the Right
to Know bill’s effectiveness would be undercut by a provision
of the Fast Track bill passed by the House of Representatives
and under consideration in the Senate.
“This essential piece of information about our
food may be taken away from us before the Right to Know law
is even passed,” Brown warned. “If Fast Track passes in the
Senate, labeling foods to indicate the presence or absence of
GMOs [genetically modified organisms] will become illegal—they’re
calling it a ‘barrier to trade’. You bet it is! People don’t
want these ‘frankenfoods’ anywhere in the world. If consumers
can avoid them, they do. So the biotech companies have spared
no expense to make it illegal to tell consumers what they’re
A recent survey by North Carolina Citizens for
Safe Food indicated that over 80% of Food Lion shoppers would
buy food labeled as containing no Genetically Engineered ingredients.
Brown wished Kucinich and Boxer “all the support
the American people and Congresspersons of conscience can give
them,” but concluded, “we’ve got to stop Fast Track, or this
law—however necessary—will be thrown out the minute it’s passed.”
Source: Statement by Cynthia Brown for Senate
NC groups call on Sen. Edwards
to oppose Yucca Mtn. waste dump
Durham, North Carolina, May 30—A coalition
of North Carolina citizens led by Durham City Councilwoman Tamra
Edwards met with Senator John Edwards’ staff yesterday to express
their staunch opposition to the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear
dump and to urge Edwards to vote against the Nevada site.
Pressure is growing on Edwards to express his
views on Yucca Mountain as the debate over the proposed national
high-level nuclear waste dump heats up. Nationally, attention
is focusing on the North Carolina Democrat, who is widely viewed
as a swing vote. Thus far, fourteen environmental and religious
groups have signed on to a letter exhorting Edwards to vote
against the dump. In a vote on Yucca in 2000, Edwards voted
in favor of the dump, due, according to the Raleigh News and
Observer (5/8/00) to lobbying from Carolina Power & Light’s
executive vice president, William Orser.
“As an aspiring presidential candidate, Edwards’
vote on Yucca could be a harbinger of his upcoming national
policy choices on both environmental and energy policy issues.
Yucca Mountain is in step with the unsustainable, industry-driven
policy of increased reliance on nuclear energy, and it is deeply
incompatible with environmental protection,” said Nora Wilson,
a project organizer with the North Carolina Waste Awareness
and Reduction Network.
Last December, the General Accounting Office referred
to the Yucca project as a “failed scientific process,” and stated
that a site recommendation would be premature. Industry lobbying
has intensified, and a Senate vote on Yucca Mountain could come
as soon as late June. Citizens cited the hundreds of outlying
technical and scientific questions about the project, as well
as the risks associated with as many as 100,000 nuclear fuel
rod shipments traveling across 44 states, as reasons for Edwards
to vote against the repository.
Source: NC WARN
habitat protection for the Appalachian Elktoe mussel
By Charles Matthews and Missy Neff
Asheville, North Carolina, June 5 (AGR)—On
Tues., June 4, approximately thirty people attended a public
hearing in Erwin, Tennessee, to debate whether the United States
Fish and Wildlife Service should designate critical habitat
for the Appalachian Elktoe mussel in rivers and tributaries
in which the mussel still survives.
A critical habitat is a specific geographic area
that is essential for the conservation of a threatened or endangered
species that may require special management and protection.
The Appalachian Elktoe is an endangered mussel species that
serves an important function in cleaning rivers and is generally
considered an excellent measure of the overall aquatic health.
The hearings were largely dominated by pro-environment forces,
including five speakers from the Southern Appalachian Biodiversity
A few opponents to the critical habitat designation
voiced concerns about scientific uncertainties regarding the
Elktoe along with fears of economic decline in affected areas
provided such designation. Environmental groups and private
citizens were quick to respond to these concerns by arguing
that there are significantly more financial incentives to designate
critical habitat for the Elktoe than not. Clean water -- which
the Elktoe helps maintain -- would cost less money to purify,
while bringing in greater recreational revenue, argued environmentalists.
One opponent to the critical habitat designation
was Southern Appalachian Multiple-Use Council executive director
Steve Henson. Henson portrayed environmentalists as radical
extremists bent on driving down private land values. In the
past he has gone as far as to equate environmental organizations
and their actions to al-Qaida terrorists and the attacks of
Terry Bagwell of the Nolichucky Outdoor Center
spoke in favor of the critical habitat designation to water
quality and tourism. Others offering support for the designation
included East Tennessee State University botanist Tim McDowell,
Marcy Reed of the Tennessee Committee for Wilderness Planning,
and Francis Lambert of the Tennessee League of Women Voters.
Source: Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project