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Posted By: FoodDemocracyNo... on Mar 23rd, 2017

There is, as yet, no 2018 budget for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

 

What exists instead is a “skinny budget” proposal, released on Thursday by the White House. It advances a drastic and aggressively curtailed agenda for the EPA, planning to cut the agency’s budget by 31 percent while laying off 3,200 employees. Popular programs—like EnergyStar and some Superfund cleanups—would be slowed down or eliminated.

 

But a skinny budget proposal is still just a proposal—and a funny one at that. While this proposal hints at President Trump’s governance priorities, and serves as an initial negotiating position, it mostly markets his ideological bonafides to other Republicans. It’s fiduciary fan fiction for conservatives, basically, with little chance of becoming law. Not only will a tiny EPA be politically difficult to enact, but there are also sticky legal limits on the extent to which the non-military side of the government can be defunded.


Posted By: FoodDemocracyNo... on Mar 23rd, 2017

The record-breaking heat that made 2016 the hottest year ever recorded has continued into 2017, pushing the world into “truly uncharted territory”, according to the World Meteorological Organisation.

 

The WMO’s assessment of the climate in 2016, published on Tuesday, reports unprecedented heat across the globe, exceptionally low ice at both poles and surging sea-level rise.

 

Global warming is largely being driven by emissions from human activities, but a strong El Niño – a natural climate cycle – added to the heat in 2016. The El Niño is now waning, but the extremes continue to be seen, with temperature records tumbling in the US in February and polar heatwaves pushing ice cover to new lows.

Posted By: FoodDemocracyNo... on Mar 23rd, 2017

People living close to trees and green spaces are less likely to be obese, inactive, or dependent on anti-depressants, according to a new report.

 

Middle-aged Scottish men with homes in deprived but verdant areas were found to have a death rate 16% lower than their more urban counterparts. Pregnant women also received a health boost from a greener environment, recording lower blood pressures and giving birth to larger babies, research in Bradford found.

 

 

Posted By: FoodDemocracyNo... on Mar 23rd, 2017

Despite the rapid growth of the organic food industry, U.S. production lags significantly behind consumer demand. A new report from the Environmental Working Group shows that with modest reforms to existing programs, Congress could help growers transition away from farming that relies on chemical pesticides and expand the acreage dedicated to organic agriculture.

 

Between 1997 and 2015, sales in the organic sector soared from $3.7 billion to more than $43 billion. This double-digit growth nearly every year makes the organic sector one of the fastest growing segments of the food industry. Major retailers such as Costco report that they can't get enough organic food to meet customer demand.

 

Yet the gap between supply and demand means many American organic food companies have to rely on foreign suppliers for staples like soybeans, corn and rice—demand that could be met by domestic producers.

 

 
Posted By: FoodDemocracyNo... on Mar 23rd, 2017

 

Many of the recent reports exposed conventional foods manufactured in China as fake and even toxic: scams involving rice that contains plastic, fake eggs made from chemicals and many food items containing high levels of arsenic.

 

Now that country-of-origin labeling has been removed by Congress (for meat), and companies are struggling to find new sources of food to meet the growing demand for organics in the United States, it’s becoming more likely that your organic food could come from China or other countries rather than U.S. farmers.


Posted By: FoodDemocracyNo... on Mar 23rd, 2017

Faced with having to defend a proven danger to public health in a court of law, as well as having to face tighter scrutiny in the EU, the chemical industry is lashing out at some members of the scientific community who dare to say what is. Namely, that glyphosate is detrimental to human health and the environment.

 

The spearhead of the new battle strategy, is the Campaign for Accuracy in Public Health Research (CAPHR). While CAPHR has such a nice sounding name to it, it was actually formed in February 2017 by the American Chemistry Council, an umbrella group representing the chemical industry whose membership includes Monsanto as well as other major, industrial chemical companies.

 

 
Posted By: FoodDemocracyNo... on Mar 21st, 2017

Oregon lawmakers are considering a bill that would let farmers sue Monsanto, Scotts Miracle-Gro and other companies that hold patents on genetically engineered seeds if crops grown from those seeds contaminate traditional or organic crops.

 

Cross-contamination from GE crops can make other crops worthless, and can ruin seed lines that have taken decades to develop, farmers told the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

 

Genetically engineered crops also can escape their fields and become pests that are hard to eradicate – something that’s happened with Scotts’ genetically modified bentgrass, which now threatens Oregon’s billion-dollar grass seed industry.


Posted By: FoodDemocracyNo... on Mar 21st, 2017

 

Have you ever wondered whether, tucked away among the endless fields of soybeans and corn in America’s heartland, there are small-scale organic farmers making a living? Matt Wechsler and Annie Speicher’s new documentary “Sustainable“—available on Amazon Video, Netflix, and VFX—answers that question with a resounding yes.

 

 
Posted By: FoodDemocracyNo... on Mar 20th, 2017

This letter is to catch up on efforts to keep the soil in organic farming. The fall NOSB meeting was a disappointment, as we had hoped that the recommendation crafted by the Crops Subcommittee would be permitted a vote, and we would finally make some progress in returning the organic standards to their original meaning. But the proposal was sent back to committee for further review. Apparently the 3 months since then still wasn’t enough time to come up with a more detailed recommendation. The Crops subcommittee has been swamped when all five of the new NOSB members were assigned to it.  So instead of a vote, there will be a discussion document at the Denver meeting in April. Delay is the hydro lobby’s best strategy, and it is succeeding. Hopefully there will be a vote on a final recommendation prohibiting hydro in the fall meeting.

 

 

Posted By: FoodDemocracyNo... on Mar 20th, 2017

U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu issued a strongly worded statement this week regarding reports that unsealed court documents raise new questions about the safety of Monsanto weed killer Roundup and its chief ingredient glyphosate.

 

“New questions about the safety of Monsanto weed killer Roundup are deeply troubling. I worked on the glyphosate issue last term and I believe consumers should immediately stop using Roundup, whose core ingredient glyphosate has been labeled a likely carcinogen and has been linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. We need to find out if Monsanto or the Environmental Protection Agency misled the public.”

Posted By: FoodDemocracyNo... on Mar 20th, 2017

State pesticide regulators are clamping down on spraying farm chemicals near school sites and day care centers under a first-of-its-kind statewide regulation.

 

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation released on Thursday its revised proposal for a spray ban that will affect about 3,500 schools and about 2,500 farmers in California.

 

Under the proposal rule, farmers are prohibited from making certain pesticide applications near school sites and licensed child day care facilities that are within a quarter mile. The rule applies Monday through Friday between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.


Posted By: FoodDemocracyNo... on Mar 20th, 2017

 

The Arkansas State Plant Board amended the Regulations on Pesticide Use to include tight restrictions on the use of pesticides containing the active ingredient dicamba.

 

 

Posted By: FoodDemocracyNo... on Mar 20th, 2017

Monsanto is losing millions of dollars now that farmers in India are switching to indigenous cotton seeds rather than Bt cotton.

 

The agrochemical company is known for pushing a form of Bt cotton in India for the last decade. They have been accused of manipulating laws in order to enter the Indian market.

 

 

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