The US Department of Agriculture Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced that it is voluntarily preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) regarding a petition to deregulate [legalize] the commercial sale of the first genetically engineered tree in the US, a freeze tolerant eucalyptus tree. Eucalyptus trees are not native to the US and are a documented invasive species. They are also highly flammable and known to deplete ground water. The freeze tolerant GE eucalyptus trees will be able to survive in regions too cold for their non-GE relatives.
This EIS indicates that the agency is aware of both the potentially severe environmental impacts these GE trees will have and the overwhelming public opposition to them. In the agency's history, however, APHIS has never rejected an industry request to deregulate a GE plant.
For more information see Global Justice Ecology Project (http://globaljusticeecology.org/) and the STOP GE Trees Campaign (http://globaljusticeecology.org/stopgetrees.php), who are mobilizing the public tosign-on an urgent action alert and/or submit comments opposing the commercial release of GE trees.