Environment Magazine

Fearing Protestors, Tree Biotech Conference Cancels Visit to GE Tree Test Plot

Posted on the 02 May 2013 by Earth First! Newswire @efjournal

EF! confronts GE tree scientists on the high seas in Charleston, SC in 2007


There is still a month to go before activists hit the streets of Asheville, NC to protest the 2013 Tree Biotechnology Conference, but the industry is already showing signs of retreat. Apparently fearing that protestors will follow them wherever they go, the conference organizers recently cancelled a group trip to a test plot of genetically engineered eucalyptus trees. While the counties in which these test plots are planted are publicly known, the exact location of these mutant trees is a closely guarded secret. It seems they don’t want a mob of Earth Firsters to find out where they are!

 The 2013 Tree Biotechnology Conference is an international gathering of scientists, forestry corporations and university researchers with a major focus on genetically engineered tree production. GE trees pose an unprecedented threat to native forests. Timber and utility corporations want to plant millions of acres genetically engineered trees throughout the South to burn for electricity, as well as to continue supplying the unsustainable lumber and paper industries. These trees would be engineered to produce their own pesticides, grow straighter and faster, tolerate manufactured pesticides, produce sterile seeds, and reduce lignin content (this is what makes the wood in a tree strong enough to stand up). If these traits escaped into native tree populations, the effects would be devastating and irreversible.

 In another setback for the GE tree industry, the USDA just announced the results of their public comment period on the proposed approval of commercial plantings of genetically engineered eucalyptus trees. While over 30,000 people spoke out against the commercial planting of these Frankentrees, an underwhelming, four, yeah that’s right four, people spoke out in favor of planting GE trees. Though this public comment period shows that there is next to no support for GE trees, it is no time to let our guard down considering that government agencies regularly ignore the public opinion.

 Help us keep the up the pressure on the USDA and the tree biotech industry. Join activists from around the country as we stand up for native forests and send a loud NO to GE trees with a week of protests and educational events in Asheville, NC May 26- June 1st.

 For more info: www.treebiotech2013.org

 See you in the streets!

 -Katuah Earth First!

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