USDA to Revisit Rules Governing GM Crops

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on Thursday that it will begin revising rules governing genetically modified crops. Several of the proposed revisions sounded like good news to wary enviros. One proposed a wide-ranging environmental impact statement assessing the ecological impact of current regulations, something environmental and consumer groups have been calling for for years. Another proposed broadening the authority of the USDA to regulate several GM plants and insects not covered under current rules. While enviros expressed concern that the new process may not result in the stricter regulations they’ve been fighting for, they viewed this announcement as a positive step. A biotech trade group joined enviros in expressing qualified approval of the proposals, hoping that increased scrutiny of regulations would improve public trust of GM organisms. Members of the two groups could be seen nervously shifting from foot to foot, glancing shyly at each other.