Does Bt Corn threaten any Rare Prairie Skippers

Paul Cherubini cherubini at
Fri Aug 25 00:03:19 EDT 2000

Cris Guppy wrote:

> You state "the EPA said it was unaware of any threatened or endangered
> lepidopterans that breed inside or at the edges of corn fields."
> So the question is, did the EPA look? Comprehensively? Not likely, 
> given the amount of field inventory required.

No, the EPA did not look comprehensively. As Doug pointed
out, the EPA considered possible impacts of Bt corn mainly on leps officially
classified by the US Federal Government as threatened or endangered. 
Yes, both you and Doug are right the EPA has never and will never require 
a study that considers ALL non-target leps species. There is no precedent
for that level of impact assessment. Imagine the years of time and 
amount of money that would be involved and tens to hundreds of millions 
of dollars that would have to be added to the cost that farmers pay for 
the Bt corn seed. 

Farmers are already paying extra for Bt corn seed. They
will not continue paying this premium unless there is a return on the
investment in the form of higher yield or higher price for their crop. 
High yield is the main point of the new transgenic crop technology.

If the world farming community fails to adopt transgenic technologies that
produce higher and more nutritious yields on existing farmland in 
the coming years, humanity will have no other choice but to cut down
more millions of acres of wildlands to feed the additional 2.5 billion 
people that will be around in the year 2040.

According to one pro-GM crop technology website

"6 million square miles of land around the world is currently used for crops,
but if we were still getting the level of crop yields achieved
in 1950, we'd already have plowed down another 15 million square 
miles of forest and wildlands to get today's food supply."
That would have cost us wildlife habitat equal to the total land area of 
the U.S., Europe and South America." (The USA has a total
land area of about 3.7 million square miles).

Paul Cherubini

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