Benton County Activists Regroup

gmoUntil this week, activists in some Oregon counties were pushing to ban genetically modified crops, sometimes referred to as GMOs. Now, they are now looking at a statewide initiative.

On Wednesday, Oregon lawmakers put the brakes on anti-GMO initiatives in four counties when they passed Senate Bill 863 this week. The bill prohibits local ordinances banning genetically modified crops.
Supporters of the bill say it ensures that farmers across the state can operate under one set of state regulations rather than patchwork of local rules.

Scott Bates is the director of GMO-free Oregon. He says he’s now considering a statewide initiative to ban GMO crops.

“(Senate Bill) 863 mandates that anything that deals with agriculture be dealt with at the state level, so we’ll definitely be looking at taking the fight to that,” he said in an interview Thursday.

Gov. John Kitzhaber said this week that he is convening a task force to address state regulations of genetically modified crops. He says he plans on introducing legislation to address the issue in 2015.

By Cassandra Profita for OPB, a NW News Exchange co-op member