EPA Vs. Pesticide Alternatives

As environmentalists are quick to tell us, pesticide usage around the world has often been excessive. In addition pesticides are expensive – one of the things which holds back intensive agriculture in parts of the developing world.

An alternative to heavy pesticide use is developing specialized plant species which ward of pesticides naturally, without needing heavy spraying of pesticides. Unfortunately if the Environmental Protection Agency gets its way, research and development into alternatives to chemical pesticides may grind to a halt.

The EPA is proposing to regulate the substances which plants produce to protect themselves against pests and diseases. That’s right – plants which naturally produce pesticides to ward of insects (which is basically every single known species) will have to be tested and given a special “plant-pesticide” label.

The EPA’s proposal is aimed specifically at genetically modified plants. Extremist environmentalists such as Jeremy Rifkin have apparently sold the EPA on the notion that genetically modified organisms need special regulation even though they pose no greater risk to human health or the environment than plants crossbred using traditional methods.

The combination of labeling all such plants as containing pesticides along with additional regulatory costs for registering new hybrids would likely mean an end to much promising development. As John Sanford, Ph.D., president of Sanford Scientific, Inc., put it, “This policy creates a major disincentive for all but a few companies and will force most companies to abandon efforts to develop genetic alternatives to chemical pesticides.”

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