Congressional Testimony on Safety of Recombinant DNA
Techniques held on Oct 5 and Oct 6
In Congressional hearings held in the U.S. House and Senate Tuesday,
October 5 and Wednesday, October 6, many ASPP member witnesses provided testimony which
explained a number of the benefits offered by plant research using biotechnology.
ASPP members Jim Cook and Mike Thomashow presented testimony before the House Science
Subcommittee on Basic Research on Tuesday. Their written statements can be found on
the House Science Committee website at http://www.house.gov/science/106_hearing.htm#Basic_Research
In the hearing held by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry yesterday (Wednesday), testimony was presented by ASPP members Brian Larkins, Bob Buchanan, Charles Arntzen, Ralph Hardy, John Ohlrogge, Ray Bressan, Dean Della Penna, and Roger Beachy. Senate Agriculture also held a follow-up hearing today with representatives from USDA, EPA and FDA, Consumers Union, NAS, and farm producer and refiner groups. Chairman Lugar relied on and cited information presented yesterday by ASPP scientists on several occasions as he conducted today's follow-up hearing. The Committee video taped the October 6 hearing of ASPP members and will edit it for use in dealings with European representatives concerning trade issues. The statements of the witnesses and Chairman at yesterday's hearing can be found at: http://www.senate.gov/~agriculture/wit99106.htm
From the Committee Chair, to the committee staff to people in attendance, we heard comments remarking about the good preparation the scientists' statements reflected. A number of media representatives were in attendance and there has been national press coverage.
The hearings provided an influential audience of policy makers and attending media convincing examples of the value offered by research using modern transformation technologies. Members of the congressional committees and attending media heard more about the safety of research using biotechnology and the value-added foods and renewal energy sources that will be coming with the next generation of biotech products. Hearings like this provide facts needed by supporters in the Congress to help fend off anti-biotech proposals. The testimony and responses to questions by ASPP members also cited the value of Congressional support for basic plant research.
Tuesday and Wednesday were an extraordinary two days in which ten ASPP members
and their colleagues provided compelling reasons for supporting research using
biotechnology. It was a splendid job made possible by the considerable dedication of
time and thoughtful input by the participants.
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