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A Bay Area biotech discussion

(Jan. 28, 2002 CropChoice news) -- The Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology will host a policy dialogue, ``Environmental Savior or Saboteur? Debating the Impacts of Genetic Engineering,'' on February 4, 2002 from 10-11:30 am PST in the Hawthorne Room of San Francisco's Golden Gate Club in the Presidio. Margaret Warner, Senior Correspondent for the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, will moderate the lively discussion with policymakers, environmentalists and researchers. A poll will also be released on consumer attitudes towards agricultural biotech and the environment.

``Much has been researched and written about whether genetically modified crops are good or bad for the environment,'' said Michael Rodemeyer, executive director of the Initiative. ``We hope, through this policy dialogue, to stimulate an informative discussion about the present and expected impacts of agricultural biotechnology on the environment and to help examine the science as well as the passions for why people feel so strongly -- one way or another -- about this technology.''

Panelists are:

  • Charles Benbrook, an environmental consultant and the former executive director of the National Academy of Sciences Board on Agriculture, will critique contemporary claims of environmental and economic benefits from today's genetically modified crops
  • Professor Martina McGloughlin, director of the Biotechnology Program at the University of California-Davis, will discuss the environmental benefits of biotechnology
  • Carl Pope, president of the Sierra Club, will discuss why he believes there should be a moratorium on all genetically modified products until they have been adequately tested to better understand which of them pose environmental risks
  • Peter Raven, president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and recently named "Hero of the Planet" by Time Magazine, will discuss how biotechnology could be a boon to biodiversity, not a threat.

Note: The dialogue will be presented via a live Internet webcast. To watch go to http://www.pewagbiotech.org or http://www.ConnectLive.com/events/pewagbiotech To RSVP to attend the event in person, contact djnordquist@pewagbiotech.org. The event is open to the media and members of the public.

The Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research project whose goal is to inform the public and policymakers on issues about genetically modified food and agricultural biotechnology, including its importance, as well as concerns about it and its regulation. It is funded by a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts to the University of Richmond.