Not so sure…

this is a good idea:

“H.AMDT.449 (A031) Amends: H.R.2112 Sponsor: Rep Young, Don [AK] (offered 6/15/2011) AMENDMENT PURPOSE: An amendment to prohibit the use of funds made available by this Act to the Food and Drug Administration to approve any application for approval of genetically engineered salmon.”

While I have  grave concerns about the state and nature of the FDA approval process as regards genetically engineered salmon ,  I’m not sure Congress should address this from this angle. Refusing to authorize money to continue the process doesn’t solve the problems in the FDA approval methodology and guidelines nor does it truly address any of the issues surrounding the debate.

 
 QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT TRANSGENIC FISH

‘Q. How will these products be regulated?

A. Most, but probably not all, gene-based modifications of animals for production or therapeutic claims fall under CVM regulation as new animal drugs. As strange as it may seem at first, many of the modifications being investigated involve the addition of new animal drug substances. For example, adding growth hormone to a cow can be accomplished through use of BST injections, through gene therapies to create BST-producing regions in the body of the cow, or through germ-line modification, making a transgenic variety that contains extra BST-coding genes in every cell of the body, including reproductive cells. It all amounts to adding an animal drug, but the conditions are different – dose, areas of the body where the drug is released, opportunity for a withdrawal time, etc. The substances being added are for the purpose of improving animal health or productivity.’

The approval process appears to rely on a narrow set of criteria for judgment which gives but passing glance at the larger world the “product” will inhabit.

If we want to be able to balance other considerations against possible approval , wouldn’t we be better off addressing that?

I am anti-transgenic fish for a variety of reasons but am quite concerned about this vote.

Do we want to applaud what amounts to an end run around such important issues by simply falling back to “starve the beast” behavior?

Do we?

Please read the Daily Journal regarding H.AMDT.449 when the amendment was introduced and tell me what you think.

Are we going to enact law, in the form of budgetary support or not,  everytime we get our britches in a bunch?

————————————————

Relying on Congress’ Constitutional  authority to regulate interstate commerce our same Representative filed this :

H.R.517
SUMMARY AS OF:

1/26/2011–Introduced.

Amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly known as the Clean Water Act) to repeal the authority of the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to prohibit the specification of, or to deny or restrict the use of, a defined area as a disposal site for the discharge of dredged or fill material into navigable waters.

—————–

It was referred to the Subcommittee  on Water Resources and Environment  1/27/11, the day after introduction.

I don’t know at this time if it has truly been taken up or is just sitting there like so many proposed bills do but I see something quite fishy in this proposal.

Navigable waters are more than navigable waters. They are also fish waters, drinking waters, etc. which we expect the EPA to have authority to regulate or participate in regulating.

The EPA is due to review issues surrounding  the  Pebble Mine   which certainly includes nearby navigable waters .

The largest single concern regarding Pebble is the proposed method of containing mining waste so it doesn’t get into any waters , including navigable waters.

To me, supporting our salmon fishery with an end run around regulatory bodies via budget witholding while proposing to ignore that same fishery in support of  mining interests (on state land) getting  protection of sorts  by amending important federal environmental law does not speak to good law or policy.

—————————————–

But setting all that aside for a moment, why didn’t our Representative use this method in this latest argument with a federal agency?

Why not propose to change the FDA agency’s scope and duties as he did here with the EPA?

Is it because it’s easier to legislate with appropriations than actually creating law openly? 

I’m not happy about this.

We haven’t settled transgenic fish issues properly.

If this bill passes into law we have just put off the day we have to deal with this.

And told ourselves we HAVE dealt with it with headlines like these :

 No ‘Frankensalmon’ in America: Congress bans FDA from approving genetically modified fish

 

GMO salmon Frankenfish banned for sale in U.S., almost
 Both articles give a fair amount of useful background, links to the FDA approval process and so on  but don’t address  the “ban” language directly.    It is not a ban in any open legislative sense- it is a prohibition against spending money to finish that which statute apparently already allows the FDA to do.

If this passes into law, we have not banned transgenic fish , we have refused to directly ban it in favor of a sneak attack on funding to finish the approval process.

This should scare the bejabbers out of everyone no matter what side of the transgenic fish issue they are on.

There are some real problems with how approval is granted but fixing the program makes more sense than this amendment does.

This is no way to develop nor advance meaningful policy decisions.

Yarg.

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Published in: on June 25, 2011 at 9:00 am  Comments (3)  

3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thanks for keeping on top on this stuff.

  2. I, too am “Not so sure” about anything Don Young proposes these days. Especially since 2006 when he sponsored a rider to the Coast Guard bill in conjunction to the CDQ program. It pretty much sealed the fate of the poor people in Western Alaska in regards to fishing rights for subsistence salmon users. The salmon runs are in drastic decline all over the state expect for a few “hot spots” here and there.

    It could very well be that backdoor agreements and catering to lobbyists backed by millions of dollars is so much easier “…than actually creating law openly?” As you’ve said, “..quite fishy..” alright.


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