A federal judge has left the door open to planting Roundup Ready alfalfa through this fall when he denied a request from a radical environmental group to halt the sale of seed because it violated the Endangered Species Act.
Samuel Conti, federal judge from the District Court of Northern California, rejected the Center for Food Safety’s request for a ban on Roundup Ready alfalfa seed in late June.
The judge has set the first hearing on the case for Dec. 2, effectively keeping the legal door open for planting the herbicide resistant alfalfa through the prime fall alfalfa planting season in the West.
Each side is to present its written arguments and provide other information by early December.
This represents another defeat for the Center for Food Safety and other radical environmental groups like Earthjustice which have been fighting unsuccessfully to permanently jerk Roundup Ready alfalfa off the market since it was approved for planting in 2005 by the Food and Drug Administration and USDA.
The radicals filed a federal lawsuit not long after RR alfalfa was approved for planting in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, citing the failure to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) by USDA when the department evaluated Roundup Ready alfalfa.
In 2007, a judge in the same Northern California federal district course halted that sale and planting of Roundup Ready alfalfa until the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) could complete an EIS to evaluate the potential environmental effects of deregulating the product.
APHIS completed the EIS in December 2010, and last January USDA authorized the resumption of sale and planting of Roundup Ready alfalfa.
Before the EIS ruling and the halting of seed sales, 5,485 growers in 48 states had planted more than 263,000 acres of Roundup Ready alfalfa.
While the EIS was in progress, the U.S. Supreme Court, on a 7-1 vote overturned the lower court’s order to halt seed sales.
In March, the Center for Food Safety filed another lawsuit challenging the USDA, claiming the Endangered Species Act was not factored into the decisión to allow the sale of RR alfalfa seed.