CONTACT: Organic Consumers Association: Katherine Paul, 207-653-3090,firstname.lastname@example.org FINLAND, Minn. – On Wednesday, May 20, voters in two counties in Oregon passed ballot initiatives to ban the growing of genetically engineered crops.
Jackson County’s Measure 15-119 passed overwhelmingly, by 66 percent to 34 percent. Proponents of the ban raised only $375,000 compared with a record nearly $1 million raised by the opposition, which included agribusiness giants Monsanto, Syngenta and DuPont Pioneer.
Voters in Josephine County passed Measure 17-58 by a vote of 58 percent to 42 percent. However, the ban will be tested in court because the state passed a controversial law in October 2013, stripping counties of the right to pass GMO bans. The Jackson County measure is exempt from the state law because it had already qualified for the ballot prior to the passage of S.B. 863.
Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), and the Organic Consumers Fund which mobilized its members and donated $50,000 to the Oregon campaigns, issued this statement today:
“The passing of these two GMO bans in Jackson and Josephine Counties should send a clear signal to politicians that citizens not only reject unregulated and hazardous GMOs, but are willing to defy the indentured politicians who pass laws, like Oregon’s S.B. 863, that take away county rights to ban GMOs and obliterate a 100-year tradition of home rule and balance of powers between counties and the state.
“This is a tremendous victory for the citizens of these two counties, and for the farmers who are determined to fight the threat of unwanted contamination by GMO crops. It is also a victory for the national anti-GMO movement as it builds momentum for similar bans in counties in other states.
“The margins of victory for these two measures also bode well for passing Oregon’s Ballot Initiative #44 in November 2014, a statewide ballot measure to require mandatory labeling of GMO foods and foods containing GMO ingredients, sold at retail.
“And finally, these victories make it clear to agribusiness giants like Monsanto and Dow that the day has come when they can no longer buy and lie their way to victory. By using the tools of democracy, such as ballot initiatives, citizens can overcome corporate and government corruption through honest campaigns, built on a foundation of truth, science and fair play.
“The OCA looks forward to helping the citizens of Josephine County defend their right to ban GMOs when they go to court to test the state’s new law, S.B. 863, and to helping the Oregon Right to Know campaign pass a strong GMO labeling law in November.”
The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. The Organic Consumers Fund is a 501(c)4 allied organization of the Organic Consumers Association, focused on grassroots lobbying and legislative action.