US at final stages of approving next generation GM herbicide-resistant crops, galvanizing activists

Two key federal agencies are in the final stages of approving a new herbicide-resistant crop “system” that would constitute the second phase of genetically engineered agriculture. Dow AgroSciences has produced a new set of crops that have been genetically engineered to be resistant to both glyphosate and another chemical, 2,4-D, known most notoriously as half of the infamous Vietnam War-era defoliant Agent Orange.

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opened a 30-day public comment period on Dow’s application, specifically on its specialised use of 2,4-D. The other agency in charge of deciding on the application, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), has already given its provisional approval for the new crops, which include a corn plant and two types of soybean.

Related article:  EU renews glyphosate herbicide license for 5 years, ending 'heated debate'

In announcing the start of this final phase of the regulatory process, the EPA was clear in the rationale behind Dow’s new herbicide, which is known as Enlist Duo. “Weeds are becoming increasingly resistant to glyphosate-based herbicides and are posing a problem for farmers,” the agency said in a statement. “If finalized, EPA’s action provides an additional tool to reduce the spread of glyphosate resistant weeds.”

Critics are warning of a spectrum of concerns around Dow’s application, particularly regarding the impacts of increased use of 2,4-D. This compound is already in use, with U.S. farmers currently using around 26 million pounds per year.

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Read the full, original article: US Nearing Approval of Next Generation of Herbicide-Resistant Crops

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