Battle Over Beets Continues

Environmental groups failed to show that seed plants for Roundup Ready Sugar Beets would cause irreparable harm, a federal appeals court said Friday. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a  previous injunction that called for the destruction of the plants.

“We conclude the district court abused its discretion in granting a preliminary injunction requiring destruction of the steckling plants,” the court wrote. “Plaintiffs have not demonstrated that the … plants present a possibility, much less a likelihood, of genetic contamination or other irreparable harm. The undisputed evidence indicates that the stecklings pose a negligible risk of genetic contamination, as the juvenile plants are biologically incapable of flowering or cross-pollinating before February 28, 2011, when the permits expire.”

The decision is the latest shot in a battle over Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Sugar Beets. In August, in an attempt to continue sugar beet production despite a court imposed ban on Roundup Ready seeds, USDA approved the planting of ‘stecklings’ or beet seedlings. The approval was challenged by Earthjustice in the federal courts, which issued an injunction against the planting of stecklings.

Last month USDA successfully deregulated Roundup Ready Sugar Beets but maintained some restrictions.

The view from CFB

“The fact that the 9th Circuit overturned this injunction gives you an idea of just how egregious the suit was,” said Troy Bredenkamp, Executive Vice President of Colorado Farm Bureau.

The 9th Circuit is known for its lax judicial rulings and its sympathy toward environmental causes. Its rulings have been overturned by the Supreme Court more than any other circuit.

CFB supports the use of Roundup Ready beets.


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