The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service will cease planting genetically engineered crops on all its refuges within a dozen Northeastern states in accordance with a settlement reached in a suit brought by Widener Law’s Environmental & Natural Resources Law Clinic
on behalf of the Delaware Audubon Society, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), and the Center for Food Safety.
“This settlement follows directly from the March 2009 precedent-setting victory the Clinic won prohibiting farming with genetically modified crops at the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge. It means that farming in Delaware's National Wildlife Refuges will not occur unless and until the environmental consequences of such practices are fully explored," said Professor Ken Kristl
, Director of Widener Law’s Environmental & Natural Resources Clinic.
"This settlement is the culmination of Clinic student work that began four years ago. It is gratifying to know that Widener students helped shape federal law through their hard work and innovative thinking," added Kristl.
Filed in the U.S. District Court for Delaware, the Bombay Hook Suit charged that the Fish & Wildlife Service violated the National Environmental Policy Act when it made illegal Cooperative Farming Agreements that permitted hundreds of acres on the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware to be plowed over without environmental review. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service promised to revoke any authorization for further agriculture involving genetically engineered crops at Bombay Hook as well as the Rappahannock River Valley Refuge, the Eastern Shore of Virginia Refuge, the Montezuma Refuge in New York, and Blackwater Refuge in Maryland until a proper analysis of the environmental impact is conducted.
"One of the great things about this settlement is that it extends the prohibition against farming to four other East Coast National Wildlife Refuges beyond the state of Delaware. So from the kernel of the Prime Hook decision, you can see a growing impact of this decision as our clients push the precedent across the country," concluded Kristl.