Today, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its intent to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) to consider the environmental impacts of crops genetically engineered for tolerance to the herbicide dicamba.
Dicamba, because of its potential to drift and volatilize, has proven to be one of America’s most dangerous herbicides for non-target plant damage. Non-target plant damage associated with herbicide spray drift and volatilization is a major concern for specialty crop growers and processors, and credible estimates project dramatic increases in the amount of dicamba to be applied upon the introduction of dicamba tolerant crops.
On April 18, 2012, the Save Our Crops Coalition (SOCC) petitioned USDA to prepare an EIS to consider the environmental impacts of dicamba tolerant crops. SOCC is pleased that USDA has now chosen to undertake a comprehensive review of these crops. SOCC hopes that this process will better inform the decision makers at USDA and EPA about the vastly increased potential for non-target plant damage impacts caused by dicamba spray drift and volatilization.
Statement of the Chairman of the Save Our Crops Coalition, Steve Smith:
We are very pleased that USDA has chosen to prepare an environmental impact statement to consider the plant damage impacts of dicamba tolerant crops. It’s entirely appropriate that USDA, the stewards of American agriculture, have taken the first step in protecting the millions of acres of American cropland affected by this unprecedented threat. The interests of the public best served by an informed decision making process. We appreciate that USDA has acknowledged the need to gather more information about the environmental impacts of dicamba tolerant crops before reaching a decision regarding their widespread use.