Do you live in the Southeast US? Please help us spread the word about the July 5 deadline for public comments on the potential approval of genetically engineered tree plantations on the Southeast! Share the following letter (or use it to inspire your own letter) to your local paper and inform your neighbors of this crucial development. Please CC ruddyATglobaljusticeecology.org so we can keep record of your letter. Thank you!
I am writing today because there is a serious issue threatening Southeast forests and communities – the unprecedented development of genetically engineered (GE) eucalyptus tree plantations. Right now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking public comments until July 5th on a draft Environmental Impact Statement they released in April that recommends approval of these GE tree plantations.
This would be the first ever approval of a GMO forest tree and it is critical that the public oppose the commercial release of these trees. These destructive GE trees plantation would be used for the paper and pulp industry, liquid biofuels, wood pellet manufacture, (primarily for export to Europe) and biomass incinerators. It is an assault on forests and communities throughout the region.
Commercializing these GE tree plantations would be a disaster. Eucalyptus is highly flammable and requires large amounts of water, depleting waterways and drying soils. The forest fires which devastated parts of Chile and Portugal this year were exacerbated by eucalyptus plantations. Plantations abutted villages and roads and the fires killed 11 in Chile and 64 in Portugal. People burned to death in their cars. Indigenous and rural communities are also losing their water sources, as the nearby plantations are dropping the water tables.
Chile and Portugal offer a glimpse of what is to come to the Southeast and Gulf states which already have drought and fire issues. nonetheless, plans are being laid to plant GE eucalyptus by the billions across the Southeast, destroying biodiverse forests, displacing wildlife and threatening communities.
Unlike other GE organisms, trees can live for decades or centuries. Once these trees are out, there is no calling them back. They must be rejected today. Go to stopgetrees.org for more info and to take action.