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Organic Consumers Association

State/Local Efforts to Control GMOs

  • Organic Consumers Association, March 25, 2013

Current Efforts to Ban GMOs

OREGON: GMO Free Jackson County: Makes it unlawful for any person to propagate, cultivate, raise, or grow genetically engineered plants in Jackson County." A video about the effort can be found here: http://youtu.be/imzPue6xGCs

GMO Bans in Effect

Colorado
City GMO Restriction
: In the City of Boulder, it is illegal to plant GMOs on public land. The City is the largest land owner in the city, with approximately 40, 000 acres under its control.

Washington
San Juan County: Washington was able to pass what is known as Initiative Measure No. 2012-4, which actually bans the growth of genetically modified organisms within the county.

Maine
Town GMO Ban
: On March 25, 2006 the town of Montville approved a resolution that declared itself a GMO free zone. “Montville Bans Genetically Modified Seeds,” Bangor Daily News, 27 March 2006
http://youtu.be/imzPue6xGCs

California
County
    Yes    No    Prohibited
Mendocino    57%    43%    Yes
Marin    61%    39%    Yes
Butte    39%    61%    No
Humboldt    35%    65%    No
San Luis Obispo    41%    58%    No
Sonoma    44%    56%    No

County GMO Ban: Measure H passed by voters (March 2004) in Mendocino County which states that “it shall be unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to propagate, cultivate, raise, or grow genetically modified organisms in Mendocino County.” (Measure has yet to be codified)
http://www.gmofreemendo.com/

Santa Cruz County, California – Passed by Board of Supervisors (moratorium)

County GMO Ban: Marin County voted for a measure which states that “it is unlawful for any person or entity to cultivate, propagate, raise or grow genetically modified organisms in Marin County.” (2004)
http://www.smartvoter.org/2004/11/02/ca/mrn/meas/B/

County GMO Ban: Trinity County passed Ordinance No. 1284 which states that “it is unlawful for any person to propagate, cultivate, raise, or grow genetically engineered organisms in Trinity County.” Chpt 8.25 of County Code (2004)

City GMO Ban: City of Arcata City ordinance states that “it is unlawful for any person, partnership, corporation, firm or organization of any kind to sell, distribute, propagate, cultivate, raise or grow seeds or crops of genetically engineered organisms in the City of Arcata…” Ordinance No. 1350 (2004)
http://www.environmentalcommons.org/arcata-ordinance-1350-final.pdf

City GMO Ban: Point Arena passed Ordinance No. 193 which states that “it is unlawful for any person, partnership, corporation, firm or organization of any kind to sell, distribute, propagate, cultivate, raise or grow seeds, whole plants, or crops of genetically modified organisms in the City of Point Arena” Chpt 8.25 of City Code (2004)
http://www.environmentalcommons.org/Point-Arena-Ordinance.pdf

Legislation and regulations controlling GMOs

Hawaii
Bt Cotton Geographic Restriction
: Under EPA regulations, “current Agency restrictions in Hawaii preclude the sale and use of B.t. cotton for commercial planting [on the islands].” This is due to potential gene flow into the wild cotton species found in those areas. Biopesticides Registration Action Document for the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Plant-Incorporated Protectants, October 15, 2001
http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/biopesticides/pips/bt_brad.htm

Florida
GE Fish Regulation
: Under broad the broad mandate to regulate state aquaculture, the Division of Aquaculture within the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services created a Transgenic Aquatic Species Task Force. Under the Best Management Practices (BMPs) rule, “certified aquaculturists must apply to and receive from the FDACS, Division of Aquaculture, written authorization prior to culturing any transgenic aquatic species.” Aquaculturists must comply with the BMPs in order to receive an Aquaculture Certificate of Registration. Aquaculture Best Management Practices Rules, January 2005 (Note: To date, the Task Force has approved only one transgenic fish: the Glofish)
http://www.floridaaquaculture.com/publications/BMP%20Rule-Manual112805.pdf

Bt Cotton Geographic Restriction: Under current EPA regulations, the agency has “imposed sale and distribution restrictions on B.t. cotton in Florida, restricting its use to those sites North of Tampa (Route 60).” This is due to potential gene flow into the wild cotton species found in that area. Biopesticides Registration Action Document for the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Plant-Incorporated Protectants, October 15, 2001 http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/biopesticides/pips/bt_brad.htm

Arkansas
GE Rice Regulation
: The Arkansas Rice Certification Act (HB2574) regards rice with “characteristics of commercial impact. These characteristics include those “that may adversely affect the marketability of rice in the event of commingling with any other rice [and]…that cannot be identified without the aid of specialized equipment or testing.” The Act allows the State Plant Board to prohibit or place restrictions on the “selling, planting, producing, harvesting, transporting, storing, processing, or other handling” of such rice. Ark. Code Ann. §2-15-201 to 2-15-208 (2005)
http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/ftproot/acts/2005/public/act1238.pdf

Alaska
GE Fish Labeling
: Bill (SB25) passed requiring that “food is conspicuously labeled to identify the fish or fish product as a genetically modified fish or fish product…” Alaska Stat. §17-20-040 (2005)
http://www.legis.state.ak.us/folhome.htm

Aquaculture Ban: Alaska Fish and Game statutes state that “a person may not grow or cultivate finfish in captivity or under positive control for commercial purposes.” Since the statute bans all finfish, this would includeGE fish. Alaska Stat. §16.40.210 (1990)
http://www.legis.state.ak.us/folhome.htm

Idaho
GMO Restriction
: Idaho Plant Pest Act of 2002 (HO448) passed, which states that “the shipment, introduction into or release within this state of any plant pest, biocontrol agent, or genetically engineered plant or plant pest, or any other organism which may directly or indirectly affect the plant life of this state as an injurious pest, parasite or predator of other organisms, or any arthropod, is prohibited, except under permit issued by the Department [of Agriculture].” Idaho Code Ann. §22-2016
http://www3.state.id.us/cgi-bin/newidst?sctid=220200016.K

Indiana
Seed Contract Restriction
: Bill (HB1119) passed which states that “a seed contract may not give … a seed supplier or an agent of a seed supplier the right to enter real property owned or occupied by the farmer to acquire samples [for testing] of the crop grown from the seed or any other plant growing on the real propertyunless” specific conditions, such as written notification, are met. Ind. Code §15-4-13 (2002)
http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/code/title15/ar4/ch13.html

Maine
GE Pesticide Regulation
: Maine pesticide law provides that “No commercial applicator may use or supervise the use of any pesticide within the State without prior certification from the board, provided that a competent person who is not certified may use such a pesticide under the direct supervision of a certified applicator.” Me. Rev. State. Ann. Tit. 258-A, §1741-D (2006)
http://janus.state.me.us/legis/statues/22/title22sec1471-D.html

On December 12, 1998, the Board of Pesticides used this authority to prohibit the planting of several genetically engineered, Bt corn varieties because there was no sufficient need for use of the pesticide incorporated into the corn varieties.

GE Seed Regulation: Bill (HP952) passed which states that “the manufacturer or seed dealer of the genetically engineered plants, plant parts or seeds shall provide written instructions to all growers on how to plant the plant parts, seeds or plants and how to grow and harvest the crop to minimize potential crosscontamination.” Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 7, §1052 (2001)
http://janus.state.me.us/legis/statutes/7/title7sec1052.html

GE Labeling: Bill (SP569) passed which states that “a label may be placed on any food, food product or food ingredient offered for sale in the State designating that food, food product or food ingredient as free of or made without recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid technology, genetic engineering or bioengineering…The rules must allow any food 1% or less of which consists of genetically engineered ingredients to be labeled as free of genetically engineered ingredients.”

Law further states that “if a manufacturer, distributor, processor, wholesaler or retailer falsely labels or advertises any food, food product or food ingredient offered for sale in the State as free of or made without recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid technology, genetic engineering or bioengineering, the food, food product or food ingredient is misbranded…” Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 7, §530-A (2001)
http://janus.state.me.us/legis/statutes/7/title7sec530-A.html

Milk Labeling: The Department of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Resources sets out criteria for the State of Maine Quality Trademark on milk and milk products in the Code of Maine Rules. A licensed user of the label must have submitted “a sworn statement stating that the milk producer has not used recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST) in the previous 60 days, does not possess, and does not intend to use (rBST) during the upcoming year.” 01-001 CMR Chapter 136 (1994)
http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/rules/01/001/001c136.doc

Maryland
GE Fish Ban
: Bill (HB189) passed which states that “the Department [of Natural Resources] may not issue a permit for the raising of a transgenic species or a genetically altered species, unless the permit limits the aquaculture operation to waters of the State that do not flow into any other body of water; and the aquaculture operation is constructed in a manner that assures that transgenic or genetically altered stocks are precluded from entering any other waters or contaminating other aquatic species of the State.” Md. Code Ann., [Nat. Res.]§4-11A-02 (2001)
http://mlis.state.md.us/cgi-win/web_statutes.exe

Massachusetts
Currently, 7 towns have passed resolutions voicing opposition to GMOs and, calling on the state’s US Senators and Congressional Representatives to support legislation regulating GMOs.

Michigan
GE Fish Restriction
: Bill (SB226) passed which states that “unless authorized by a permit issued by the department…a person shall not knowingly release or allow to be released into this state [a genetically engineered fish or a nonnative fish]…that is not naturalized in the location of release.” 2003 Mich. Pub. Acts No. 270 (effective March 2004)
http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2003-2004/publicact/htm/2003-PA-0270.htm

GE Fish Restriction: Bill (SB229) passed which states that “…each genetically engineered variant of an aquaculture species shall be considered a distinct aquaculture species. A genetically engineered variant of an aquaculture species is not included on the list of approved aquaculture species … unless specifically identified…A genetically engineered organism that is a variant of an aquaculture species is not covered by an aquaculture research permit…” 2003 Mich. Pub. Acts No. 272 (effective March 2004)
http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2003-2004/publicact/htm/2003-PA-0272.htm

Minnesota
Wild Rice Law
: This law states that “the board shall establish an advisory committee on genetically engineered organisms to provide advice at the request of the board on general issues involving genetic engineering and on issues relating to specific proposals, including the identification of research needed for adequate regulation of field trials.” Minn. Stat. §116C.91-116C.98 (2006)
http://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/bin/getpub.php?pubtype=STAT_CHAP&year=current&chapter=116c#stat.116C.92.0

GMO Regulation: Bill (H2212) passed which is meant to “establish permits for the release of certain genetically engineered agriculturally related organisms to protect humans and the environment from the potential for significant adverse effects of those releases.” Minn. Stat. §18F.01 to 18F.13 (1994)
http://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/bin/getpub.php?pubtype=STAT_CHAP&year=current&chapter=18F

GE Pesticide Regulation: Minnesota statutes state that “a person may not use, distribute, or conduct release experiments with a genetically engineered pesticide in any amount in the state until it is registered under this section.” It further states that “the commissioner may issue an experimental genetically engineered pesticide product registration if the commissioner determines that the applicant has adequately demonstrated that the proposed release does not have the potential for unreasonable adverse effects on the environment.” Minn.Stat. §18B.285 (1991)
http://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/bin/getpub.php?pubtype=STAT_CHAP&year=current&chapter=18b

Mississippi
GE Fish Regulation
: Bill (H0336) passed which states that “an aquaculturist shall obtain a cultivation and
marketing permit for cultured aquatic products produced from…any aquatic plants or animals which have beengenetically modified or are to be genetically modified by means other than breeding and crossbreeding.” Miss Code Ann. §79-22-9 (2000)
http://www.sos.state.ms.us/pubs/mscode/

Missouri
GE Rice Regulation
: The Missouri Rice Certification Law (HB 741, amended to include SB 387) allows an advisory council to condition or prohibit the production, transporting, or handling of rice varieties with
characteristics of “commercial impact.” MO H.B. 741 and S.B. 387 (2007)
http://www.senate.mo.gov/07info/BTS_Web/Bill.aspx?SessionType=R&BillID=8005
http://www.house.mo.gov/bills071/bills/HG741.htm

Nebraska
GE Pesticide Regulation
: Bill (LB588) passed, known as the Pesticide Act, with the intent “to regulate, in the public interest, the labeling, distribution, storage, transportation, use, application, and disposal of pesticides for the protection of human health and the environment.” The act defines a biological control agent as “any living organism applied to or introduced into the environment that is intended to function as a pesticide against another organism” and further classifies it as a pesticide, to be regulated by the Act. Genetically engineered B.t. crops fall within the definition of “biological control agent.” Neb. Rev. Stat. §2-2622 to §2-2654 (1993)
http://srvwww.unicam.state.ne.us/legislature/legaldocs/Statutes/CHAP02/

GE Seed Inspection: Bill (SB2235) passed which states that “the commissioner shall establish procedures for inspecting, analyzing, and verifying the genetic identity or physical traits of seeds or crops. The procedures must address the compilation of all necessary documentation and other administrative functions.” N.D. Cent.Code § 4-42 (2001)
http://www.legis.nd.gov/cencode/t04c42.pdf

Seed Collection Restriction: Bill (HB1442) which states that “before a person holding a patent on a genetically modified seed may enter upon any land farmed by another for the purpose of obtaining crop samples to determine whether patent infringement has occurred, the person holding the patent: Shall notify the agriculture commissioner in writing of the person's belief that a patent infringement has occurred and include facts from the allegation; shall notify the farmer in writing of the allegation that a patent infringement has occurred and request written permission to enter upon the farmer's land; and must obtain the written permission of the farmer.” N.D. Cent. Code § 4-24-13 (2001)
http://www.legis.nd.gov/cencode/t04c24.pdf

Oregon
GE Fish Ban
: Oregon Administrative Rules states that “the Department [of Fish and Wildlife] shall not authorize the release of transgenic fish into locations where such fish may gain access to wild fish populations.”Or. Admin. Rules 635-007-0595 (2004)
http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/rules/OARS_600/OAR_635/635_007.html

Bentgrass Control Area: The department of agriculture, under the Oregon Administrative Rules, established “a control area…in Jefferson County to regulate the production of bentgrass. This control area is designed to provide physical separation between varieties of bentgrass produced using techniques of modern biotechnology and conventionally bred varieties with which they might cross-pollinate.” The rule prohibits using processing equipment for both GE and conventional bentgrass and restricts GE bentgrass to the control are unless shipped in sealed containers. Or. Admin. Rules 603-052-1240 (2002)
http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/rules/OARS_600/OAR_603/603_052.html

South Dakota
Seed Collection Restriction
: Bill (SB179) passed titled “An Act to regulate sampling procedures for verification of transgenic seed use.” It states that “before a person holding a patent on transgenic seed may enter upon any land farmed by another for the purpose of obtaining crop samples to determine whether patent infringement has occurred, the person holding the patent” must provide written notification and receive permission of the farmer. S.D. Codified Law § 38-1-44 through 38-1-50 (2001)
http://legis.state.sd.us/statutes/DisplayStatute.aspx?Statute=38-1&Type=StatuteChapter

Vermont
GE Seed Labeling
: Bill (H.777) passed which states that “for all seed containing genetically engineered material the label or labeling shall specify the identity and relevant traits or characteristics of such seed, plus any requirements for their safe handling, storage, transport, and use, the contact point for further information and, as appropriate, the name and address of the manufacturer, distributor, or supplier of such seed.” Additionally, “for seeds sold in Vermont which contain genetically engineered material, the manufacturer or processor distributing such seed in Vermont shall report annually…regarding sales during the previous calendar year.” Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 6, §644 (2004)
http://www.leg.state.vt.us/statutes/sections.cfm?Title=06&Chapter=035

83 towns have passed resolutions against GMOs. See http://www.gefreevt.org for map and information.

Washington
Canola Control Areas
: Bill (HB 1888) passed which states that “species, hybrids, varieties, and variations of plants of the genus Brassica have potential to form genetic crosses, particularly when they are grown in geographic proximity, and will, if not properly regulated, result in significant loss of quality, purity and value in the seed produced” This law allows growers and processors of a Brassica seed plant to petition the Washington State Department of Agriculture to request specific production zones that prevent genetically engineered crop use. Wash H.B. 1888, Chapter 181 (2007)
http://www.leg.wa.gov/pub/billinfo/2007-08/Pdf/Bills/Session%20Law%202007/1888.SL.pdf

GE Fish Ban: In the Washington Administrative Code, an aquatic farmer must have a valid marine finfish aquaculture permit for any fish rearing program but it states that “the use of transgenic fish (as defined by the actual transfer of genetic material from one species to another) is prohibited.” Wash. Admin. Code 220-76-100 (2003)
http://apps.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=220-76-100

Wisconsin
GMO Release Notification
: State statutes titled “Notice of release of genetically engineered organisms into the environment” sets up requirements for regulated releases, including proper notification of the Department of Agriculture. Wis Stat. §146.60 (1989)
http://www.legis.state.wi.us/rsb/stats.html

State laws restricting local control of GMOs

Arizona: SB1282 Passed 4/22/05

Florida: HB1717 Passed 5/6/2005

Georgia SB87 Passed 2/18/2005

Idaho HB38 Passed 3/23/2005

Indiana HB1302 Passed 3/25/2005

Iowa HF642 Passed 4/6/2005

Kansas HB2341 Passed 4/1/2005

North Dakota SB2277 Passed 3/16/2005

Ohio HB66 Passed 6/30/2005

Oklahoma HB1471 Passed 4/18/2005

Pennsylvania HB2387 Passed 11/29/2004

South Dakota SB152 Passed 2/25/2005

Texas HB2313 Passed 6/17/2005

West Virginia SB580 Passed 4/16/2005


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