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Judge will hear no new arguments in Roundup Ready beets case

FARGO, N.D. -- A California federal district judge March 17 declined to hear new arguments on 2011 and 2012 plantings of Roundup Ready beet root production.

FARGO, N.D. -- A California federal district judge March 17 declined to hear new arguments on 2011 and 2012 plantings of Roundup Ready beet root production.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White of San Francisco, who has made earlier rulings against the U.S. Department of Agriculture for insufficient study in deregulating Roundup Ready beets, declined environmentalist plaintiff groups' efforts to keep the issue in his court.

Appellants have challenged the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service granting of an Environmental Assessment. The EA that runs through the 2011 and 2012 crops is an interim rule that allows the planting of genetically modified beets under a tight set of rules.

By doing this, White has shifted the next round of litigation into the District of Columbia. There, the sugar beet industry, including American Crystal Sugar Co. of Moorhead, Minn., and Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative are asking the judge for a "declarative judgement," which would verify the industry's ability to plant the beets under the EA, and that it complies with the National Environmental Policy Act and the Plant Protection Act.

Government and plaintiffs answers in that case are due in early April, 60 days from when the case was filed in early February.

Related Topics: CROPS
Mikkel Pates is an agricultural journalist, creating print, online and television stories for Agweek magazine and Agweek TV.
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