Small Plant Biotech Firm Spokesperson:
"As a representative of one of the smaller firms involved in biotechnology development we naturally supported the Walsh rider reducing EPA regulation of Bt plants. Rep. Walsh has consistently supported the principles of regulatory reduction and smaller government. Those efforts strengthened the United States by allowing capitalism to be most productive and most competitive. As an industry innovator we welcome Rep. Walsh's efforts and the return to the basic principles upon which our Country was founded.
While we respect the good intentions and sound science of the Environmental Protection Agency, we believe that their regulatory effort is unduly lengthy and onerous. Bt is a naturally occurring disease that has been used for many years by the organic farming industry and by home gardeners. It is highly recommended as a safe and effective way to limit the damage from caterpillars and reduce the use of less selective pesticides. The EPA regulations will require extensive, lengthy, and expensive testing prior to the release of plants for agricultural use.
The time and expense will naturally discourage a number of smaller firms from participating in this effort. Limiting participation in these scientific explorations will harm both farmers and consumers. It will force farmers to continue the use or chemical pesticides with the resulting increased potential for environmental damage. In addition, use of pesticides increases the risk of consumer and farm worker exposure. Once Bt has been approved, the limited number of firms participating will result in reduced competition and increased prices to the farmer. Those increased prices will be reflected in increased food costs and thus reduced choices for many consumers.
Our firm believes that Bt seed could be released for use without further testing. If scientific data collection or additional review for consumer safety is desired then that role can be adequately filled by the State agricultural agencies and by the private organizations involved in certifying organic farmers. Release of these seeds will serve to reduce pesticide use and increase choices for farmers and for consumers."