Wildlife Refuge

National Wildlife Refuge land in eight states planted with genetically modified crops is the target of a lawsuit filed against the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service by a number of food and safety groups last week.

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, this marks the fourth in a series of lawsuits targeting the government approved practice of planting GMOs in the nation’s Wildlife Reguges.

Citing National Wildlife Refuges as sanctuaries for endangered flora and fauna as well as home to other critical species, the suit was filed by groups including Beyond Pesticides, the Center for Food Safety and the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, who claim that the U.S. government agency broke federal laws when giving approval to farmers to plant genetically engineered seeds on the public land, mostly in the Midwest.

The crops in question are mainly Monsanto’s controversial Roundup ready seeds—such as corn, soy, cotton and canola—known for a number of environmental issues including creating pesticide resistant “superweeds” and insects. Further, claim the plaintiffs, the pesticide-reliant crops are damaging to the environment, and the lack of any significant review of the crops planted on wild lands adds more concerns for the food and safety groups, who state that glyphosate—the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup pesticide—has shown to degrade soil ecosystems, pollute waterways and wetlands as well as harm plants and animals, including some endangered species.

The Obama administration approved planting GMOs at more than 50 National Wildlife Refuges this past summer as part of a plan to restore and manage habitats, including supplementing food for wildlife.

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

Image: StuSeeger