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Monsanto Roundup-Ready Alfalfa Should Be Blocked, Court Told

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, Millions Against Monsanto page and our Environment and Climate Resource Center page.

Alfalfa genetically modified to withstand Monsanto Co. (MON)'s herbicide should be taken off the market because regulators didn't properly consider how it affects endangered plants and animals, environmental groups told a federal appeals court.

Advocacy groups are seeking for the second time in six years to overturn the U.S. Department of Agriculture's decision to deregulate alfalfa engineered to be resistant to Monsanto's Roundup-Ready weed killer.

Use of the plant encourages farmers to douse fields with Roundup, which increases the likelihood of contamination of other plants and animals within habitat near fields of alfalfa, the fourth-most-planted U.S. crop behind corn, soybeans and wheat, according to lawyers for the Washington-based group Center for Food Safety.

The use of Roundup-ready alfalfa "will result in substantial harm," George Kimbrell, an attorney for the Center for Food Safety, told a three-judge panel today at a U.S. Court of Appeals hearing in San Francisco. "It will cause the loss of millions of dollars in export fees."

Kimbrell's client is asking the court to ban or at least encourage the government to limit the use of Roundup-Ready alfalfa on grounds that unconditional deregulation violates federal laws protecting endangered species and guarding the environment against noxious weeds.