Sen. Harkin served (rBGH-free) milk and cookies; Sen. Grassley makes “Biggest Biofools” list; UPDATE – Grassley’s response

 New Thursday: see Sen. Chuck Grassley’s response to “Biofools” list below…

Milk and cookies outside Sen. Harkin's Cedar Rapids office

Milk and cookies outside Sen. Harkin's Cedar Rapids office

Photo: Paul Deaton, of Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility; Angela Gadzik, University of Iowa student and volunteer with Food and Water Watch and Stephanie Rynning, UI student and intern with Food and Water Watch, listen Wednesday as Theresa Carbrey, at right, addresses the benefits of organic milk outside Sen. Tom Harkin’s Cedar Rapids office at the Wells Fargo Building, 150 First Ave. NE. Carbrey is education and member services coordinator for new Pioneer Co-op in Iowa City. 

 It wasn’t Sen. Harkin himself, but members of Food & Water Watch, along with representatives of New Pioneer Co-op and Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility, presented hormone-free milk and cookies and more than 1,000 petitions today to Sen. Tom Harkin’s Office in Cedar Rapids. The petitions call on Harkin to support including language in the Child Nutrition Act that allows local jurisdictions to choose milk free of artificial hormones for school lunch programs. According to Food & Water Watch, the United States is the only industrialized nation that still uses rBGH – recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone – despite major concerns about its links to cancer. As major retailers have moved away from rBGH, “this risky milk is being dumped into our public school system,” members said.

According to Roberts Dairy’s Web site, the genetically engineered drug, injected into dairy cows to induce them to increase milk production, is estimated to be used in 15 to 20 percent of the cows in the United States. It was approved by the FDA in 1993. As of Feb. 1, 2008, Roberts Dairy uses only milk from dairy farmers who have pledged to not treat their cows with artificial growth hormones. While the FDA has found no significant difference between milk from treated and untreated herds, “some of our customers prefer their milk to come from untreated cows,” the dairy’s Web site says. Others, including Anderson-Erickson and Swiss Valley, have also gone rBGH-free.

Caitlin Seeley, field organizer for Food & Water Watch, said that Harkin supports local farmers and child nutrition. “We’re urging him to support (the language change) and really be a champion on this issue,” she said.

Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food. The group challenges the corporate control and abuse of food and water resources by empowering people to take action and by transforming the public consciousness about what people eat and drink.
More information about the School Milk Campaign is at: http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/food/school-milk

Also today, Friends of the Earth and the Rainforest Action Network singled out Grassley with other policy-makers and corporate leaders as the top national “biofools” in a contest sponsored by the two organizations. The grassroots contest is part of a nationwide effort to highlight the dangers of industrialized biofuels as a false solution to climate change.

The groups noted that Sen. Chuck Grassley supports claims that biofuels are “contributing to a cleaner environment,” ignoring the scientific evidence that biofuel production is contributing to the rapid destruction of rainforests abroad and the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico here at home. I have an inquiry in to Grassley’s office, but haven’t heard a response yet.

NEW – This just came today (Thursday) from Sen. Grassley’s office:

“The International Energy Agency just released a report that corn-ethanol reduces greenhouse gasoline emissions compared to gasoline by nearly 40 percent.  They also say that number will improve to 55 percent by 2015.  So, if being pro-biofuels, pro-farmer, pro-Iowa, pro-environment and pro-jobs and anti-imported foreign oil gets you recognized like this, then Senator Grassley is happy to have it.” 

 

Here is more from Friends of the Earth and Rainforest Action Network:

Three policy makers and three corporate leaders were singled out today as the top national “biofools” in a contest sponsored by Friends of the Earth and Rainforest Action Network. The grassroots contest is part of a nationwide effort to highlight the dangers of industrialized biofuels as a false solution to climate change.

Despite growing scientific evidence that they contribute to air pollution, deforestation and climate change, industrialized biofuels are being promoted by government and agribusiness as a ‘clean’ solution to climate change and to our nation’s fossil fuel addiction. Replacing just 10 percent of world demand for diesel for road transport with biodiesel would require 75 percent of the world’s existing soy, oil palm and rapeseed crops. Even current government mandates for these so-called renewable fuels will create enough demand for biofuels to cause food shortages and environmental catastrophe around the world.

The online contest will be held on April 1, 2009, as concerned citizens vote online to determine the nation’s biggest biofool. The winner will be announced on the group’s joint webpage: http://www.biofoolsday.org.

Nominees include:

Linda Cook, Executive Director, Shell Oil. Citing economic concerns, Cook recently announced that Shell Oil will no longer invest in wind and solar energy and focus their energy solely on liquid fuels, hugely increasing the oil giants investment in biofuels.

Hugh Grant, CEO, Monsanto. The global biofuels rush has provided a perfect new market for Monsanto’s genetically modified plants, an inevitable ingredient of biofuel feedstocks. The agribusiness giant dismisses evidence that biofuels are harmful for the environment or have anything to do with food price spikes and shortages.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA). Senator Chuck Grassley supports claims that biofuels are “contributing to a cleaner environment,” ignoring the scientific evidence that biofuel production is contributing to the rapid destruction of rainforests abroad and the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico here at home.

Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin (D-SD). Representative Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin has been a strong advocate for reducing global warming pollution, but supports attempts to strip federal forest protections from biofuels policy, claiming that prohibiting the clear-cutting of our federal forests for biofuel production keeps us dependent on foreign oil.

Sen. John Thune (R-SD). A longtime proponent of biofuels, Senator John Thune recently advocated increasing the amount of biofuels that can be blended into gasoline, removing critical forest protections, and potentially eviscerating the global warming standards in biofuels policy.

Patricia Woertz, CEO, Archer Daniels Midland. A former Chevron executive before her tenure at ADM, Woertz is leading the agroenergy charge. ADM is a leading importer of palm oil, a popular biofuel feedstock and a leading cause of deforestation in Southeast Asia.

Friends of the Earth – http://www.foe.org – is the U.S. voice of the world’s largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 70 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has been at the forefront of high-profile efforts to create a more healthy, just world.

Rainforest Action Network campaigns to break North America’s oil and coal addictions, protect endangered forests and Indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and nonviolent direct action. For more information, visit: www.ran.org

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Doug Ray said,

    It seems odd to me that Friends of the Earth and Rainforest Action Network were included as nominees for the top Biofool award along with the three corporate leaders and three policy makers.

  2. 2

    Cindy Hadish said,

    Doug,

    Sorry you read it that way. Those two groups did the nominating – there were six nominees on the list – and information about each organization was included at the end.


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