WASHINGTON—The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), one of the world’s top science and technology think tanks, along with a group of independent scientists, today submitted a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke calling on the department to reverse a Fish and Wildlife Service policy that phased out the use of genetically modified (GM) seeds. The letter, spearheaded by ITIF, argues that the policy was improperly adopted three years ago and stands at odds with the conservation objectives of the Fish and Wildlife Service.
According to the group, the ban against use of GM seeds is “arbitrary and capricious,” as genetically modified crops are shown to be the most modern, precise, efficient and effective methods of seed improvement. Additionally, the policy should have been adopted through a notice-and-comment rulemaking process under the Administrative Procedure Act.
The group writes, “The prohibition of ‘genetically modified’ crops is a wrong-headed and anti-environmental policy, and the conceit that it is being advanced out of respect for a ‘land ethic’ is indefensible.”
The letter also calls on the Interior department to rescind the ban on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides. Instead, the group calls for a case by case evaluation that would allow for their use except where they pose a credible threat to endangered species.
ITIF senior fellow Val Giddings said, “Labeling crops as ‘genetically modified’ stigmatizes their use, when in reality their safety is proven and their benefits are significant. They are shown to produce maximum sustainable yields with minimum environmental impact. The Interior department should reverse these policies and get back to the conservation mission of the Fish and Wildlife Service.”