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24.05.2017 |

Critics claim liability bill would banish GMOs from Oregon

Critics of a bill imposing liability on GMO patent holders say it would effectively banish biotech crops from Oregon.

SALEM — A proposed bill imposing new financial liability on biotech patent holders in Oregon would effectively banish genetically engineered crops from the state, opponents claim.

Under House Bill 2739, biotech patent holders would be liable for triple the economic damages caused by the unwanted presence of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

The bill is now before the House Rules Committee, which is considering an amendment clarifying when landowners can file lawsuits over GMOs on their property and the defenses available to patent holders, among other provisions.

The amendment would also ensure that patent holders cannot transfer liability to farmers who cultivate GMOs, though they could transfer liability to seed companies.

“It’s putting the onus on the producers and people who sell these crops rather than grow them,” said Amy van Saun, an attorney with the Center for Food Safety, a non-profit that supports HB 2739.

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