Tag Archives: Agriculture

Federal Dicamba Ruling Called ‘Vital Victory for Farmers and the Environment’

“The court today resoundingly reaffirmed what we have always maintained: The EPA’s and Monsanto’s claims of dicamba’s safety were irresponsible and unlawful,” said one plaintiff.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 2-6-2024 by Common Dreams

CUPPED LEAVES — Soybeans showing the cupped leaves which are a symptom of dicamba injury. File photo. (U of A System Division of Agriculture)/flickr/CC

In what one plaintiff called “a sweeping victory for family farmers and dozens of endangered plants and animals,” a federal court in Arizona on Tuesday rescinded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2020 approval of the highly volatile herbicide dicamba for use on certain genetically engineered crops.

In a 47-page ruling, U.S. District Judge David C. Bury found that the EPA failed to comply with public notice and comment requirements under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), legislation passed in 1947 to protect agricultural workers, consumers, and the environment.

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Nearly Half of Flowering Plant Species Face Threat of Extinction

“Effectively managing the plants and fungi that form the building blocks of our habitable planet is key to halting wider biodiversity loss and restoring Earth’s ecosystems to full function,” says a scientific report.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 10-11-2023 by Common Dreams

Global scientists warn that 45% of known flowering plant species could be threatened with extinction. Photo: Diana Robinson/flickr/CC

Global scientists warned Tuesday that 45% of known flowering plant species could be at risk of disappearing, underscoring the need for urgent international action to tackle the planet’s sixth mass extinction—the first driven by human activity.

That figure is among the key findings from State of the World’s Plants and Fungi, the fifth annual report from the U.K.’s Royal Botanic Gardens (RBG), Kew about such species amid the intertwined biodiversity crisis and climate emergency.

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Global Biodiversity Panel Warns Humans’ Introduction of Invasive Species Threatens Nature, Food Security

“With so many major drivers of change predicted to worsen,” said one researcher, “it is expected that the increase of invasive alien species and their negative impacts, are likely to be significantly greater.”

By Julia Conley. Published 9-4-2023 by Common Dreams

The buffelgrass invasion has forever changed the southwestern desert ecosystems by crowding out native plants and fueling frequent and devastating fires in areas where fires were once rare. Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters/flickr/CC

As wildfires burned through 3,200 acres of land on the Hawaiian island of Maui earlier this month, ultimately killing at least 115 people and destroying the city of Lahaina, some observers noted that the dry grasses that colonial occupiers introduced in the place of Hawaii’s natural forests made the fires spread faster than they would have if the land had been left intact.

On Monday, a study resulting from nearly five years of research by experts from 49 countries revealed how the grasses are among thousands of harmful invasive alien species that have been introduced by human activities and placed communities across the globe at risk, with the human-driven climate emergency often exacerbating the negative impact of invasive plant and animal species.

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‘A Huge Win’: Texas Judge Finds Law Limiting Local Rule Is Unconstitutional

“When local policymaking is stifled, community voices are silenced,” said a coalition of progressive groups.

By Julia Conley. Published 8-31-2023 by Common Dreams

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Photo: World Travel & Tourism Council/flickr/CC

Local leaders in Texas’ increasingly progressive major cities were joined by workers’ rights advocates and other pro-democracy groups on Thursday as they applauded a district court judge’s ruling that a Republican-authored law aimed at superseding local regulations is unconstitutional and should be temporarily halted.

House Bill 2127, which has been called the Death Star Law by progressive groups, had been set to go into effect on Friday and would prevent cities from enacting and passing local ordinances, including many that would protect workers’ rights.

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Complying With Right-Wing Supreme Court, Biden EPA Guts Wetland Protections

“Congress and local elected officials must now step in and do more to protect clean water through durable legislation and state-based action,” said one advocate.

By Julia Conley. Published 8-29-2023 by Common Dreams

Located on the western edge of Eugene, Oregon, the West Eugene Wetlands is a beautiful and rare area of grassland habitats. Comprised of less than one percent of the original native wet prairie, Photo: Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington/flickr/CC

Under a U.S. Supreme Court ruling condemned by clean water advocates earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday announced a revised rule that could clear the way for up to 63% of the country’s wetlands to lose protections that have been in place nearly half a century under the Clean Water Act.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan said he had been “disappointed” by the 5-4 decision handed down in Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency in May, but he was obligated under the ruling to issue a final rule changing the agency’s definition of “waters on the United States.”

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Mastercard Move at Cannabis Shops Intensifies Call for US Decriminalization

“An industry that employs hundreds of thousands of people, provides billions in economic benefits, and promotes safer alternatives to pharmaceuticals and commonplace vices continues to be treated like a pariah,” said one cannabis entrepreneur.

By Julia Conley. Published 7-28-2023 by Common Dreams

A recreational marijuana dispensary in Denver, Colorado Photo: My 420 Tours/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Cannabis reform advocates on Friday said a new decision by credit card company Mastercard illustrates why the substance must be decriminalized at the federal level to ensure that legal U.S. dispensaries are able to operate safely and securely.

The company announced this week that it has instructed U.S. financial institutions to stop allowing customers to use its debit cards to purchase marijuana products at cannabis stores, which now operate legally in 38 states for medicinal use and 23 states for recreational use, as well as in the District of Columbia.

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UN should be learning from sustainable food producers – not hosting Big Ag

Small-scale farmers and Indigenous groups say they have again been shut out of the UN Food Systems Summit

By Shalmali Guttal and Sofia Monsalve. Published 7-21-2023 by openDemocracy

With support from Oxfam, small-scale farmers in Tanzania are thriving. Photo: Alun McDonald/Oxfam/CC

A UN summit on global food systems should be an opportunity to address structural inequalities and tackle hunger. It should be a chance to learn from small-scale producers whose sustainable food practices feed 70% of the world. Instead, next week’s conference in Rome will be a festival of greenwashing, allowing Big Agriculture corporations to tighten their grip on food systems.

This will be the second Food Systems Summit (UNFSS). The first, in 2021 was supposed to address the lack of progress towards the UN’s sustainable development goals. It was dubbed a “people’s summit” by the organisers, but caused an outcry among local producers when their calls to roll back the power of transnational corporations were cynically ignored.

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‘Very Troubling’: US Honeybees Just Suffered Second Deadliest Year on Record

Beekeepers lost 48.2% of their managed hives to threats including the varroa mite and adverse weather.

By Olivia Rosane. Published 6-23-2023 by Common Dreams

Beehives weighted down for protection from strong winds. Photo: N.C. Cooperative Extension

The year that spanned April 1, 2022 to April 1, 2023 was the second deadliest on record for U.S. honeybees.

Beekeepers lost 48.2% of their managed hives, according to the initial results of the Bee Informed Partnership’s annual Colony Loss and Management Survey, released Thursday.

“This is a very troubling loss number when we barely manage sufficient colonies to meet pollination demands in the U.S.,” Jeff Pettis, a former government bee scientist and current president of the global beekeeper association Apimondia who was not involved in the study, told The Associated Press. “It also highlights the hard work that beekeepers must do to rebuild their colony numbers each year.”

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DeSantis Anti-Immigrant Law Sparks Mass Worker Exodus in Florida

“How can one man pass one law and destroy all these businesses in Florida?” asked a lifelong Republican who owns a tomato packing company.

By Kenny Stancil. Published 6-20-2023 by Common Dreams.

As a new Florida immigration law is set to take effect in July, some migrants have already left the state. Screenshot: MSNBC

A new Florida law cracking down on undocumented immigrants, signed last month by far-right Gov. Ron DeSantis and set to take effect on July 1, has pushed thousands of workers to flee the state.

Now even some capitalists who otherwise support DeSantis and the state’s GOP-controlled House and Senate are beginning to speak out about how the law is likely to hurt their bottom lines.

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‘Landmark Victory’: New York Passes Nation’s First Legislation Restricting Bee-Killing Pesticides

The Birds and Bees Protection Act would eliminate 80 to 90% of the neonics used in New York each year by banning applications that are either easily replaceable or do not give an economic boost to farmers.

By Olivia Rosane. Published 6-10-2023 by Common Dreams

Common eastern bumblebee, bombus impatiens, covered in pollen on a flower. Photo: Christa R./Flickr

New York state on Friday became the first state in the nation to pass legislation restricting neonicotinoid pesticides (neonics) that are toxic to bees and other pollinators and wildlife.

The Birds and Bees Protection Act would eliminate 80 to 90% of the neonics used in New York each year by banning applications that are either easily replaceable or do not give an economic boost to farmers.

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