Appeals court puts destruction of biotech sugar beets on hold

By Agri-Pulse Staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



San Francisco, Dec. 7 - Biotech sugar beets may not be plowed under---at least not yet. But it may be several weeks before the courts determine the final outcome. On Monday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked immediate destruction of the Roundup Ready sugar beet root crop, granting a temporary stay until Dec. 23.

 

Ninth Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey White had ordered that beet stecklings, the root stock for seed-producing plants, be plowed under by Dec. 14.

The Appeals Court decision was made in response for a request to appeal by Monsanto, American Crystal Sugar Company, Syngenta Seeds and Betaseed Inc. The 9th Circuit has set a briefing schedule that extends into February.  

In August, Judge White blocked the planting of biotech beet seeds, pending a new environmental impact study. But in early September, USDA issued permits to plant the stecklings.

 

The Center for Food Safety, Organic Seed Alliance, the Sierra Club and High Mowing Organic Seeds sued to revoke the permits, saying they defied the deregulation ruling. The plaintiffs asked White for an injunction to uproot the stecklings before the case progressed.

The plants in question would produce seeds for crops to be planted in the spring of 2012. Crops that will be planted next spring won't be affected by the decision.

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