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36 More Vermont Towns Against Genetic Engineering

(Friday, March 7, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- From a news release.

2003 Town Meeting: 36 More Vermont Towns Against Genetic Engineering

Wednesday press conference at Gardener's Supply, Intervale Rd. in Burlington, 10:30 AM

Nearly 40 Vermont towns, from Brattleboro north to Bakersfield, voted at Town Meeting this week for resolutions opposing the genetic engineering (GE) of food and crops. As of 10:30 PM Tuesday evening, 36 have supported their resolutions, 4 have tabled the issue and 3 voted against it. A total of 69 Vermont towns have now gone on record against GE foods, beginning in 2000.

The details of the resolutions vary considerably from town to town, but all the resolutions call upon legislators and congressional representatives to support the labeling of GE foods. Most also support legislation for a moratorium on the planting of GE crops. Many towns have also declared that companies developing GE crops should bear legal liability for all harm resulting from these crops, instead of individual farmers. At least nine towns passed language either calling for a moratorium on the planting of GE crops in the town, or actively discouraging the planting of GE crops.

"This is an important milestone toward making Vermont the first state to go GE-Free," said Jim Moulton of Jamaica, Vermont, a volunteer organizer with the Windham County Genetic Engineering Action Group. "This would be a tremendous boon to our state's farm economy and to the integrity of Vermont's environment." The groups that make up the Town-to-Town Campaign are supporting legislation that has been introduced in the Vermont House, as well as working closely with farmers and local communities across the state that are wanting to take local action.

The following towns have passed resolutions this year (final language will be available in a few days):

Andover, Bakersfield, Brattleboro, Brownsville, Cabot, Chester, East Montpelier, Eden, Fletcher, Glover, Goshen, Halifax, Hardwick, Hartford, Hartland, Johnson, Landgrove, Londonderry, Middlebury, Morristown, Newark, Plymouth, Peru, Rochester, Rockingham, Royalton, Salisbury, Shoreham, Sharon, Tunbridge, Underhill, Vershire, Westford, Weston, Weybridge, Windham.

Resolutions were tabled in Albany, Arlington, Peacham and Fairfield, and voted down in Cornwall, Barnet and Wilmington.

Representatives of the sponsoring organizations, and people from towns that passed resolutions, will be speaking to the press at the Gardener's Supply greenhouse on Intervale Road in Burlington at 10:30 AM on Wednesday. There will be a rally on the State House lawn at noon on Thursday, March 13th.

The Town-to-Town Campaign is a grassroots initiative supported by the Institute for Social Ecology Biotechnology Project, Vermont GE Action Network, Rural Vermont, and the Windham County GE Action Group. Continuing updates are available at http://www.nerage.org.