November 2, 2013 in Letters, Opinion

I-522 not a burden

 

Initiative 522 doesn’t burden farmers with costs or frivolous lawsuits. A genetically engineered (GE) crop farmer just adds a label during a box run in the next 18 months. A non-GE farmer can opt out of exemption by labeling “May Be Produced with Genetic Engineering.”

Non-GE farmers with non-genetically modified organism certification have nothing more to do. Non-GE farmers desiring exemption without third-party certification simply grow from non-GE seed, and not intentionally or knowingly commingle with GE crops. A commingling standard is not a contamination standard, so reasonably cleaned equipment can be shared between GE and non-GE; there is no zero-tolerance.

Non-GE farmers need to keep seed receipts (needed for taxes, too) that now show if the seeds were GE. But there are no applications, certifications, inspections, mandatory testing, new records systems or significant cost. It’s easier than proving you don’t have GE today when the other farmers conceal their GE crop.

Lawsuits are pre-empted by a mandatory state investigation first. If a bounty hunter files suit after the state finds no wrongdoing, at most they get reasonable attorney fees if they win. Not much incentive for a high-risk suit. No bounty, no bounty hunters.

Ron Cully

Spokane


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