Thursday, March 06, 2003

Eternal vigilance...
The Des Moines Register finally realizes that Iowa has a $25 million stake in ProdiGene:
Regardless of where the crops are grown, the fund hopes to use the leverage of its financial stake in ProdiGene to get some of the company's research and processing done in Iowa, said officials with the fund.
That sounds like a good idea, considering how successful they've been. And there are no questions about legality or crippling regulation to worry about. I guess Iowans don't have the compunctions of this Colorado farmer, who recently wrote to his legislature:
[T]he US GMO regulatory system, which describes itself as being transparent, is about as transparent as a brick wall. Because it won't tell us the precise location of field trials and production fields of drug and chemical crops, nor will it tell us the precise nature of those crops (what they are modified to produce), we farmers do not have the right to know such crops are in our neighborhoods and what they might be producing.

This is appalling! Is our regulatory system supposed to operate in secrecy?

The biotech companies and the regulators say there are concerned about vandals and protecting "confidential business information." Well, how about protecting farmers growing ordinary crops? While I know of no farmers who would vandalize someone else's crops, I do many who would at least like to know that the growers of such crops have adequate liability insurance to cover any damages from contamination.

Which legislature, by the way, presumably has better things to do than sink $25 million of taxpayer money into companies like Prodigene. You have to respect the guy for being appalled, as opposed to unsurprised, which is about all I can muster.


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