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Colorado county may follow its seat by banning GMOs

(January 23, 2001 – Cropchoice news) – The word out of Colorado is that Boulder County is considering whether to ban genetically engineered crops from land it owns.

In August, the City of Boulder banned biotech crops on its land (See August 30 Cropchoice story – Colorado town bans GMOs on leased farmland). City leaders – perhaps acting on the precautionary principle -- decided that the public knows too little about the long term effects of biotech plants on nature and people to risk planting them.

Less than a year after the City's decision, the Boulder County Commissioners will hear public comments next Tuesday as they consider their own ban.

"Why would Boulder County want this on open space? What possible benefits could it give?" organic farmer and calculus professor John Martin told the Daily Camera. Martin owns and operates the Stonebridge Farm, adjacent to a tract of county open space. He worries that the pollen of genetically altered crops could contaminate organic or non-genetically engineered conventional crops.

In defending genetically engineered crops, plant scientists say that they can increase yields, resist plant diseases and produce medicines.

But many in the Boulder County community aren't convinced. Residents have expressed their concerns about the effects of biotech crops on the environment. They voiced the oft-raised worry that pests will develop resistance to such bio-engineered crops as Bt corn and soy. (See Ten reasons why farmers should think twice before growing GE crops)

Last summer, the County Commissioners requested that people submit scientific articles from journals, trade and news publications, and their summaries to help the county governing body learn about the issue.

According to the Daily Camera, farmers grew genetically engineered crops on 60 acres of county land.

Source: Boulder Daily Camera