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Boulder County commissioners' GMO decision doesn't separate fact from fiction

When faced with the question of continuing to allow the planting of genetically engineered seed on open space agricultural land, there was an evidence-based path available to the commissioners. The county staff had gathered local data on the sustainability impacts of various cropping systems, presented to the commissioners as a white paper. Both CU and CSU are home to many well-respected, independent scientific experts ready and able to discuss recent research, global scientific consensus, and otherwise help separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, when sifting through the mountain of scientific data.

Instead, these two commissioners fully ignored the results of their own staff's data collection, presumably because it demonstrated that genetically engineered cropping systems fared far better in sustainability measures than organic cropping systems. In contrast to the 2011 process that created Boulder County's Cropland Policy, this Board of Commissioners made no attempt to reach out proactively to the local scientific community. At the invitation of the county's farmers (and out of their own desire to see policy based on the best scientific evidence) some of our local academic experts did speak with the commissioners, providing peer-reviewed studies and answering any and all questions the commissioners posed to them.

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