Fwd: Deadline 5 July to Stop Genetically Engineered Tree Plantations in the Southeast U.S.

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Jul 3, 2017, 8:19:12 PM7/3/17
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Hello Healthy Food System Advocates, 

Please consider signing this petition to stop the introduction of GE trees in the US.

This petition welcomes individual signers. 

The deadline is July 5.

Thanks for all that you do!

Annie Lorrie

A. L. Anderson-Lazo, Ph.D. 
Participatory Research and Evaluation Consultant
San Diego and Washington DC

From: "Indigenous Environmental Network" <me...@ienearth.org>
Date: June 30, 2017 at 1:39:42 PM CDT
Subject: Deadline 5 July to Stop Genetically Engineered Tree Plantations in the Southeast U.S.
Reply-To: "Indigenous Environmental Network" <me...@ienearth.org>

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tree plantations, genetically engineered trees, stop GE trees
Tell the USDA - NO to GE Trees - TODAY!
Genetically Engineered Trees are a CLEAR & PRESENT Danger!
Happy Friday & Warm greetings to all who are reading this important action alert!
On the eve of the 4th of July holiday, I am sending this request to sign our petition opposing the deregulation of a highly invasive, non-native genetically engineered eucalyptus tree.
This is the first step in the bio-forestry's attempt to convert millions of acres of the southeast U.S. into massive industrial style tree plantations.
I have included as much information as possible in this email to explain why this is a disaster in the making, as biodiversity, clean water resources, and inevitable wild fires are at risk.
Please take about five minutes to read the enclosed information.The consequences of allowing the proliferation of GE eucalyptus go far beyond cultivation.
  • Human rights have been violated in countries where tree plantations swallow once fertile lands.
  • Contrary to industry claims, burning trees for energy is not carbon neutral, clean burning or sustainable.
I believe once you learn the overwhelming potential for harm these trees and their intended uses will incur you will agree and add your name to our petition that we will deliver to the USDA on July 5th. 
Contact me with questions, concerns. I will be available every day up to the 5pm deadline on the 5th - because, YES, this issue is that important!
Thank you for your attention and participation in stopping this travesty before it begins, 
BJ McManama
IEN Save Our Roots
ArborGen Corporation, a multinational conglomerate and leading supplier of seedlings for commercial forestry applications, has submitted an approval request to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to deregulate and widely distribute a eucalyptus tree genetically engineered (GE) to be freeze tolerant. This modification will allow this GE variety to be grown in the U.S. Southeast. The reason this non-native and highly invasive tree has been artificially created to grow outside of its tropical environment is to greatly expand production capacity for the highly controversial woody biomass industry.
Four years ago, ArboGen, part of a multinational bio-forestry conglomerate, sought deregulation of a genetically engineered (GE) eucalyptus tree designed to supply biomass and feedstock to energy and consumer products manufacturers. The opposition at this time was 10,000 to one which was astonishing even to the organizations opposing GE trees who circulated petitions and requests for comments to the regulatory board members.
Following the close of the comment period, in 2013, Global Justice Ecology Projects (GJEP), BioFuel Watch and members of other groups opposing industrial-style tree production gathered in Asheville, NC to protest the Tree Biotechnology Conference. This was the largest protest to date and put ArborGen and other bio-forestry corporations on notice that this was going to be a battle for public acceptance due to serious concerns by scientists, environmental and human rights advocates.
Fast forward to 2017
In April of this year the USDA made public their dEIS and their recommendation that they approve ArborGen’s request. To date, the Campaign to Stop GE Trees, partners and allies have gathered almost a quarter of a million comments so far against allowing GE eucalyptus to be grown in the U.S. But we need more people to speak up.
The Indigenous Environmental Network is an active member of this campaign and has been building coalitions of Indigenous and front line communities who will be most negatively impacted by the spread of industrial tree plantations in the U.S. Southeast.
You can sign on to IEN’s petition here.
This human, desires-driven manipulation of nature is not only to meet current market demands for lumber and wood pulp products but to expand and become a major resource for biomass energy generation:

EcoWatch GE Trees

Other end uses for GE trees include unnaturally producing chemical elements for synthetic food additives, health and beauty aids, and feedstocks for the production of chemical fertilizers, plastics, paints and even antacids.
You can help stop deregulation by telling the USDA to reject this GE Eucalyptus tree. It’s accepting public input until July 5th -- so we need you to speak up NOW!
GE tree plantations threaten more than the delicate biodiversity of our wild places.
Indigenous Peoples of the Global South have been exposed to overwhelming exposure to deadly chemicals and have been violently evicted from the lands they have occupied and been caretakers of for countless generations.
From Brazil to Indonesia, New Zealand and Australia, millions of acres of rain forest, wetlands, and grasslands have been completely and forever destroyed. Most notable are the thousands of Indigenous and traditional front line communities who have been forced from their ancient homelands to make way for these massive tree-growing operations. Many are forced to live in close proximity to the plantations and therefore are constantly subjected to exposure of deadly chemicals necessary for each growing cycle.
What can be expected if GE tree plantations are allowed to flourish in the southeast U.S.?
Nothing lives within these plantations. No birds or insects, flora or fauna can survive after the land is converted from a lively bio-diverse ecosystem into a wasteland- only the target tree can survive. All natural vegetation is violently removed and the earth soaked with herbicides and chemical fertilizers. Once seedlings are planted they undergo frequent and intense application of pesticides, and more herbicides/fertilizers.  

Click the image above to learn more.
It is well-documented that communities currently living alongside these plantations have no escape from exposure. These substances saturate the air, infiltrate ground water and rains wash them into nearby streams and rivers. Many from these communities are forced to work in these operations when their subsistence resources, once on their traditional lands, were eliminated. 
"SAVING" forests is a scam!
Ruddy Turnstone lives in Palm Beach County, Florida which borders counties targeted for commercially grown GE eucalyptus. “In Florida, there is a greenwashing campaign to push intentionally grown eucalyptus plantations in order to protect native forests from being cut. I recently visited Chile and saw the impacts of the devastating forest fires myself. I visited communities who lost everything and saw the eucalyptus and pine plantations right next to their food crops and houses. GE eucalyptus means more invasives, more fires and less water, all of which we can't handle any more of. In a rapidly changing climate, we of the Southeast and Gulf Coast need to take the lessons from Chile and Portugal and kick false solutions like GE eucalyptus to the curb."
Southeastern Native American and front line rural communities depend on the forests, rivers, swamps and grasslands for cultural resources, and subsistence needs of food and medicine. Encroachment of massive GE tree plantations will have untold negative effects to the surrounding ecosystems. Water tables will be depleted, as eucalyptus requires and aggressively consumes massive amounts of water.
The timber industry wants these trees just so they have something else to cut down. In other words, they’re not just intent on wiping out our forests -- they want to manufacture entirely new forests to wipe out. Friends of the Earth
There is every reason to believe that wildfires, like those that devastated large swaths of forests in Chile and Portugal due to the presence of eucalyptus plantations can happen here in the southeast. Eucalyptus will change the hydrology of the land already under stress from severe droughts.
Adding millions of water-hungry trees will further stress this limited resource, and threaten natural forests and habitat for thousands of plants, animals, birds, fish and insect alike.
GMO's are HIGHLY Unpredictable!
Genetic engineering also comes with the risk of mutations to both the GE organism and others within the ecosystem it is placed. Stresses like disease, drought, and changes in tolerances toward chemicals used can produce unwanted and destructive consequences. To engineer this GE “freeze tolerant” eucalyptus, ArborGen used gene sequences from 6 different species of bacteria and plants, which provides additional threats of mutations in the tree’s genome when it is exposed to environmental stresses like drought, disease, and chemical exposures.
GE eucalyptus plantations spread across the South would be a disaster,” stated Dr. Marti Crouch, consulting scientist for the Center for Food Safety. “Not only are eucalyptus trees not native to North America, some species have already become invasive and are degrading natural areas. Plants and animals, including endangered species, will be unable to find suitable habitats within landscapes dominated by GE eucalyptus. Approving these trees is just a terrible idea.”
Precautionary Principle Must Be Implemented
There are far too many unanswered questions regarding potential risks associated with releasing millions of GE eucalyptus trees across the U.S. Southeast. These questions alone precipitate a complete moratorium on approval of all genetically engineered trees and suspending all field trials until answers can be provided. If this and other GE trees are deregulated, it is unlikely that Native American Tribes and front line communities will be consulted before GE tree plantations are established within their regions. There is no evidence that requirements will be established and enforced to ensure protection from aggressive expansion tactics that have caused major human rights violations in developing countries.

The Indigenous Environmental Network’s (IEN) Save Our Roots campaign is dedicated to stopping the infiltration of GE trees either for restoration or commercialization of GE trees on Indigenous Lands. This includes both treaty and traditional territories where our Peoples have lived and thrived for generations. Our peoples continue to depend on the resources of the forests, rivers, streams, grasslands and swamps that unchecked industrialization of trees and forest products will threaten. Industrial forestry is another capitalistic commodification of nature and part of an out of control extreme extraction economy.
More information and petitions:
Campaign to Stop GE Trees
BioFuel Watch
Center for Food Safety Organizational Letter
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The Indigenous Environmental Network  |  PO Box 485  |  Bemidji, MN 56619  |  http://www.ienearth.org/

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Lorette Picciano
Executive Director
Rural Coalition/Coalición Rural
1029 Vermont Ave NW Suite 601
Washington, DC 20005

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