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Why This Matters: Trust in government matters when it comes to approving an experiment like this one. The problem here is that environmental organizations and local citizens groups do not have confidence that the EPA has their best interest at heart. Zika and other mosquito-borne illnesses can also cause serious health problems — particularly for pregnant women and their unborn babies — and their numbers will be increasing due to climate change. We need to find ways to protect ourselves from the growing mosquito threat without using harsh chemicals and ensure that experimental programs like this one have had sufficient testing and oversight. Friendly males that don’t bite — slick marketing, but is it safe?
“Oxitec’s Friendly™ safe, non-biting male mosquitoes are designed to suppress local wild populations of disease-spreading mosquitoes. Friendly™ mosquitoes carry a self-limiting gene, which means that when Friendly™ mosquito males mate with wild females, their offspring inherit a copy of this gene, which prevents females from surviving to adulthood. Since these females do not mature to reproduce, there is a reduction in the wild pest population. Male offspring survive, carrying a copy of the self-limiting gene; in turn, these males pass the self-limiting gene to half of their offspring, of which female carriers of the gene cannot survive. Presence of the self-limiting gene thereby declines over time, potentially offering multiple but still self-limiting generations of suppression for every Friendly™ male mosquito released.”
What Environmental and Community Leaders Say
Jaydee Hanson, policy director for the International Center for Technology Assessment and Center for Food Safety, said in a statement.“With all the urgent crises facing our nation and the State of Florida — the Covid-19 pandemic, racial injustice, climate change — the administration has used tax dollars and government resources for a Jurassic Park experiment.” Other angry local residents are incensed that they are being used as “guinea pigs” for the “superbug” or “Robo-Frankenstein” according to CNN. Nearly 250,000 people have signed a petition opposing the genetically modified mosquitos.
Monsanto has lost another appeal — this one a $25 million damages award to a San Francisco resident who suffered from cancer after spraying Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide on his property for more than 26 years, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Why This Matters: There are thousands of cases pending against Monsanto for Roundup — a common weedkiller used in residential yards all across the U.S.
EPA’s acting chief of enforcement sent a memo to staff last week (that The Hill obtained) calling for them to “[s]trengthen enforcement in overburdened communities by resolving environmental noncompliance through remedies with tangible benefits for the community” with a particular emphasis on “cornerstone environmental statutes.”
Why This Matters: The Biden administration can immediately make progress correcting environmental injustice through fair and strong enforcement of current laws
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