Category Archives: Food Security
The EPA May Have Been in Bed With Big Pesticide for Years
By Charles Pierce, Esquire – 20 March 17
The miracles of the discovery process, part infinity.
There is, at the moment, a massive lawsuit against the Monsanto company regarding Roundup, its most popular pesticide. The company is being sued by citizens who maintain that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is responsible for their cancers. On Tuesday, the judge overseeing the case unsealed some of the documents that have been filed related to the case, and nobody comes out clean—not the company and, sadly, not the EPA, either.
From The New York Times:
The court documents included Monsanto’s internal emails and email traffic between the company and federal regulators. The records suggested that Monsanto had ghostwritten research that was later attributed to academics and indicated that a senior official at the Environmental Protection Agency had worked to quash a review of Roundup’s main ingredient, glyphosate, that was to have been conducted by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The documents also revealed that there was some disagreement within the E.P.A. over its own safety assessment. In one email unsealed Tuesday, William F. Heydens, a Monsanto executive, told other company officials that they could ghostwrite research on glyphosate by hiring academics to put their names on papers that were actually written by Monsanto. “We would be keeping the cost down by us doing the writing and they would just edit & sign their names so to speak,” Mr. Heydens wrote, citing a previous instance in which he said the company had done this.
Bloomberg has focused in on one particular phone conversation that makes nobody look good.
The boast was made during an April 2015 phone conversation, according to farmers and others who say they’ve been sickened by the weed killer. After leaving his job as a manager in the EPA’s pesticide division last year, Jess Rowland has become a central figure in more than 20 lawsuits in the U.S. accusing the company of failing to warn consumers and regulators of the risk that its glyphosate-based herbicide can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. “If I can kill this I should get a medal,” Rowland told a Monsanto regulatory affairs manager who recounted the conversation in an email to his colleagues, according to a court filing made public Tuesday. The company was seeking Rowland’s help stopping an investigation of glyphosate by a separate office, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, that is part of the U.S. Health and Human Service Department, according to the filing.
The good people at DeSmog Blog have a solid review of the curious history that the EPA has with glyphosate, about which the EPA seems curiously ambivalent as regards classifying it as a carcinogen.
For example, why did the EPA determine in 1985 that glyphosate should be classified as a group C carcinogen — possibly cancer-causing in humans but lacking sufficient studies of humans and animals — only to reverse that decision six years later? Did it have anything to do with Monsanto’s influence over the agency, or did new studies emerge that cast doubt on previous conclusions? The latter seems less likely considering the fact that the bulk of independent research has reached the same conclusions about the existence of a probable link between Roundup’s glyphosate and cancers. Another question that these documents could finally answer is why the EPA has been constantly at odds with the majority of the scientific community over the potential dangers of glyphosate. If, in fact, Monsanto was submitting ghostwritten research to the agency, which then failed to do its own testing, that might explain why the EPA has never found a link (beyond the original determination in the 1980s). The answers to those questions may appear during the ongoing trials against Monsanto and as more documents are released from the trial.
This behaviour seems bizarre at best, and ethically dubious at worst, and it happened under the stewardship of the previous administration. I am not optimistic that things will improve under Scott Pruitt, the new EPA administrator, whose campaigns back in Oklahoma were into Monsanto for considerable dough. The discovery process can be a wonderful—if terrifying—thing.
Welcome news from the Liberal and Labor church of free trade – Adam Smith would be proud of Mr Turnbull, Mr Shorten and their Uruguay DOFAT mandarins
Today the Queensland Government has confirmed White Spot virus has been found in wild prawns in Moreton Bay off Brisbane and now cannot be stopped.
KAP Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter said, “I congratulate the Government of the Australia with their Free Trade policies and no quarantine.
“Our prawn industry has been sacrificed on the altar of Free Trade.
“Not only all our industries have been exported overseas, and our jobs exported overseas but you’ve imported workers from overseas, which has been a cancer upon our pay and conditions and job opportunities in Australia — but now you’ve succeeded in destroying our oceans.
“Because the currents flow north, White Spot will now be taken up the Qld coast and infect the Great Barrier Reef.
“This was done with eyes wide open.
“Every single person associated with the prawn industry and every scientist who ever looked at this knew if you brought the prawns in, you’d bring the White Spot in… and the IHHNV and heaven only knows which hundreds of other diseases we haven’t identified…and these damn people in Canberra run around talking about our clean green image,” said Mr Katter.
The Australian Prawn Farmers Association (APFA) President Matt West owns a prawn farm in the Mackay region. In a media report from January this year, Mr West says although his stock are some distance from the Sth East Qld region damaged by the outbreak, the disease can spread rapidly, “especially if it gets hold in the wild”.
NB: Cairns News published an exclusive story on January 10, 2107 about Chinese prawn importer Sino deliberately altering prawn samples for biosecurity testing. The company has been charged by Federal Police for falsifying records allowing white spot infected prawns to be introduced into Queensland. Imported green prawns infected with white spot virus used by anglers for fish bait are thought to have infected seven Gold Coast prawn farms and now Moreton Bay near Brisbane.
Letter to the editor
by Viv Forbes
There was a time when true environmentalists strove to protect wild things. Now the green shirts have become enemies of the environment by pushing green energy and demonising the building blocks of life – carbon and carbon dioxide.
Wind turbines and their cobweb of connecting roads and transmission lines have destroyed native trees and grasses, scarred and uglified wild hilltops, and littered continental shelves with naval and aerial obstacles. They create wind and rain shadows and decimate resident and migratory birds and bats.
Industrial-scale solar is no better, stealing sunlight from every plant that tries to live in the shadow of the panels. Solar-thermal arrays have the additional trick of roasting any birds, bats and insects which fly through their focussed rays of heat.
These green energy toys produce piddling amounts of unreliable weather-dependent energy at great economic and environmental cost.
Greens also promoted diesel to replace cleaner petrol in vehicles. Thank them for more urban pollution.
Their promotion of ethanol and bio-diesel has caused the widespread conversion of cropland and clearing of natural vegetation and forests to grow industrial crops like corn and palm oil. This has also reduced food supplies, increased food prices and forced some poor people to poach in parklands.
And the stupid promotion of burning wood for power and home heating has taken some cities back sixty-five years to the era of London smogs. Forests are again being cleared and wood smoke is again choking urban communities.
None of these expensive and destructive activities will have any measurable or beneficial effect on global temperature.
What is the real agenda?
Islam strikes again
Letter to the Editor
I had to pick something up from Grays Online at Lidcombe yesterday and on the way back we called into Maccas on the corner of Parramatta Rd and Silverwater Rd.
I got a Quarter Pounder and my wife got some Crispy Chicken, BLT Burger (Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato) the crispy was some rectangular things like corn chips but her bacon was cold and sort of pale and watery. When she questioned it at the counter and said the bacon should be cooked and a bit crispy, she was informed that they now do the bacon in the microwave because if they put it on the grill it would contaminate the other meats and they would lose their HALAL Certification. She then said,
“So I can’t have it how we have eaten it all our lives because this minority say it offends them?” The only reply was a shrug of the shoulders and a comment that this was a HALAL Store.
It seems that even the mighty Maccas have bowed to the Muslim Halal Beast. So next time you get a burger from Maccas and wonder why the bacon doesn’t taste right, you’ll know that it was thawed out and heated up in the microwave because it offends less that 3% of the population, (according to Google) and they want to keep their Halal Certification.
I guess that scratches Maccas off my food list. Maybe a good thing and I’ll lose some weight.
From Donald in Sydney
Singapore-owned Wilmar Sugar refuses to pay cane growers fair price.
Thanks to the Liberal National Party cane farmers cannot go to arbitration because the LNP removed the clause from Shane Knuth’s bill.
19 February 2017: KAP Federal Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter and State Member for Dalrymple, Shane Knuth MP today, in the Burdekin town of Ayr, attended a meeting with cane farmers to end the sugar marketing stalemate with Singaporean based company Wilmar.
In 2015 Mr Knuth introduced into the QLD Parliament the Sugar Industry (Real Choice in Marketing) Amendment Act 2015 giving an estimated 4,500 cane growing families choice in who they market with – the Bill passed with the support of the LNP and Independent Member for Cook. It was the second KAP Private Members Bill to become legislation and came within 24 hours of passing the ethanol mandate.
“The outcome of the meeting today still does not give clarity because there is no manoeuvre by the Federal Government to introduce a Code of Conduct,” Mr Knuth said.
“The numbers in the QLD Parliament have not been secured by the LNP, as yet, to get any amendments to the sugar marketing legislation. But as I did in the past when we drafted this legislation – working with the LNP and Canegrowers – we will be doing the same to ensure effective changes can take place,” Mr Knuth pledged.
Mr Katter whose electorate of Kennedy is highly reliant on sugar, was critical of the LNP for removing the final arbitration from the KAP legislation.
“The State representatives who were there today – we are only in this hole, without any cane supply agreements (no contracts between farmers and millers), because the LNP took out the clauses for final arbitration – where the referees decision is final. That was in there and the LNP took it out. We didn’t have the numbers without the LNP so it had to go through QLD Parliament without that clause,” Mr Katter said.
“With all of the QLD State LNP seats now in serious doubt and vulnerable to attacks from KAP and PHON, we might be able to get the QLD State LNP more scared of us than their corporate masters.
“George Christensen has crossed the floor on ethanol. His crossing the floor on ethanol was an act of very great courage and I think he has played a key role in convincing the Feds to stop them from intervening and overturning the sugar marketing legislation.
“The LNP today says ‘we believe in a competitive market and when it doesn’t work we intervene’. Fancy saying that when they (the LNP) introduced the deregulation.
“Statements about ‘we believe in competition setting the market price’. What an appalling statement! Do you believe the market sets the price of milk with only two buyers in there? Or the price of apples, bananas, oranges or sugar?
“The two giant supermarket chains set the market price. Sugar has a 400% mark-up on the price for refined sugar that the industry gets paid.
“Our second underlying problem is the world sugar market price is set by Brazil and they have over the last 16-17 years received $420 a tonne, and I doubt whether we have got $360 a tonne. We can’t survive on $360 a tonne average price.
“George Christensen no doubt was instrumental in getting the Deputy Prime Minister to stop any intervention from Canberra to overturn the Sugar Marketing legislation. Farmers and every worker in Australia should be entitled to arbitration. Thanks to KAP for introducing the legislation, at least one industry now has arbitration.
“We thank the Deputy Prime Minister for listening to George Christensen on this issue,” Mr Katter ended.
The deadly mantra of free trade has threatened the existence of the $358 million Australian prawn industry after white spot disease contaminated prawn farms in the Logan River south of Brisbane.
Imported raw green prawns from Vietnam, Thailand and China where the highly contagious white spot virus is rampant, have wiped out southern farms, forcing the government to place a ban on imports of green prawns.
Infected prawns die quickly and all the Logan River farms have been destocked in the hope of decontaminating the river.
It is thought that green prawns used for fish bait, were the source of contamination.
Although the virus has no effect upon humans, it would have a serious economic impact on the seafood industry in southern Queensland.
North Queensland farms have not yet contracted the virus and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce says the priority was to protect the northern industry which catches 20,000 tonnes of wild prawns and farms another 5200 tonnes worth $86 m annually.
Chinese prawn importer, Sino, had its import licence revoked on Friday and will face serious criminal charges for breaching Australian quarantine laws.
Sino and four other companies allegedly were caught providing samples of non-infected green prawns for biosecurity testing by the Federal Agriculture department when their imported consignments were known to be infected.
Four more foreign importers are in the government sights allegedly for deliberately breaching biosecurity rules.
Other imported products such as cooked, marinated or crumbed prawns do not carry the virus.
Federal Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter whose electorate has a prawn farm, warned the Federal Government not to allow imports from white spot infected countries.
“All other ‘smart’ countries won’t import seafood from a country that has white spot, Mr Katter remarked.
“But we have some of the lowest quarantine protections in the world.
“Quite frankly I can’t think of anything that has been stopped from coming in.
“Out of probably 100 horticultural applications, all have been agreed too, similarly with seafood.
“Australia has for some time been a net importer of seafood. We pleaded with the authorities to refuse the application to bring in imported prawns. They brought in prawns. Now we have white spot.”
The grocery duopoly, Woolworths and Coles, being the largest retailers of imported prawns, have found themselves smack in the middle of the industry crisis, that Logan River farmers say will eventually kill off all farmed prawns.
The duopoly, best known for not supporting local farmers, enforcing low farm-gate prices and dodgy supply contracts has remained quiet, but should take the blame for the impending destruction of the local prawn industry square on the nose.
The Liberal, National and Labor free trade policies have produced the toxic fruit of Australian primary industries.
Fortunately American President-elect Donald Trump has sounded the death knell for free trade but it will be too late for Australia.
Liberal Senator for Queensland Ian McDonald wants the defence force to buy 23 agricultural and grazing properties next to Townsville city to accommodate Singaporean troops
Katter Australia Party – 2 December 2016
KAP Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter is continuing the fight for nervous landholders who look set to lose their properties through the Australian Defence Force’s expansion plans.
Mr Katter met with Finance Minister Cormann and the Defence Minister Pyne during the last sitting week in Parliament.
Mr Katter told the Finance Minister there are more cost effective areas than Hervey Range for the ADF’s training expansion needs to meet the Singapore Defence Deal.
Mr Katter said, “I told him there won’t be much change from half a billion. One of these properties was recently sold for over $17m.
“Well there are 23 properties in this proposed resumption area.
“They can acquire a vastly more secure area for under 30 million verses half a billion!
“My experience of these issues is that Government end up paying two or three times the market price when these things are fought out in the courts.
“An extra two hours’ drive to the other side of Pentland (where I propose the ADF buy out) would be neither here nor there.
“The other side of Pentland is very poor country. There is no run off from that area to the Great Barrier Reef or domestic water.
“All the problems of the Range simply do not exist at Pentland
“You do not take prime agricultural area to use for a military training area.”
In fierce contrast to Mr Katter, Senator Ian McDonald — who is based in Townsville supports the deal.
Mr Katter said, “The Liberal spokesman (who I’m sure many Liberals would like to put a bung in his mouth, in his vast wisdom he lost the LNP the seat of Townsville and most of the QLD seats too…) well, he’s come up with a gem here.
“Probably the most serious issue here is the strangling of development .
“Townsville has only one serious growth corridor which is Hervey Range.
“This proposal will land lock Townsville. It is disastrous for the city.
“We are positive for the expansion, but not at the expense at our future meat works, the future growth of our city, the destruction of prime agricultural land and serious issues of ordinance running on to the Great Barrier Reef.”
Harry Palmer Comments:
Senator MacDonald has confirmed – “All the seats of fools are now taken in parliament” as that voice of the people diminishes further under this LNP government control generating a fast dawning back to democracy with Bob Katter remaining true voice of the people of Queensland in the house that makes the rules.