Biotech lobbies against environmental protection laws

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The GM industry is lobbying against EU directive which would make polluters pay for damage caused to biodiversity and Sites of Special Scientific Interest, a leading protester has revealed.

Writing in the Guardian’s ‘Society’ supplement, GeneWatch researcher Becky Price reports that biotech companies have lodged complaints against closing two loopholes in the proposed Environmental Liability Directive (ELD).

The first loophole would allow a biotech company whose crop had caused environmental damage to claim that they had obtained a ‘permit to release’ the organism, and the second, that the state of scientific knowledge at the time of the crop trial did not predict a dangerous outcome.

‘If the biotech companies have confidence in their industry,’ writes Price, ‘are happy with current safety assessments, and are keen to win over a distrustful public, why are they so reluctant to take responsibility for environmental damage?’

Since the ELD would only legislate against ‘significant adverse effects’ upon species, Price argues that the new lobbying indicates a fear within the biotech industry itself over the potential harm its products may cause.

This article first appeared in the Ecologist September 2007