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Obama appointed biotech proponent Vilsack as Secretary of Agriculture

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

When former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack's name first surfaced as a possible Secretary of Agriculture, it triggered an outcry among progressive foodies, reported Alternet. The Organic Consumers Association organized a massive campaign in which 20,000 emails opposing Vilsack were sent to the transition team. Obama said his former rival for the White House has "led with vision, promoting biotech to strengthen our farmers and fostering an agricultural economy of the future that not only grows the food we eat, but the energy we use…Tom understands that the solution to our energy crisis will be found not in oil fields abroad but in our farm fields here at home."

Both politicians support corn-based ethanol as a transitional fuel source while we move toward more advanced cellulosic ethanol made from agricultural waste. And while some had hoped that the President-elect was simply playing politics and telling Iowans what they wanted to hear in order to win the caucus there, Obama has at least also stayed true to his hard line position against big agricultural subsidies by nominating Vilsack, who is a rare farm state politician against that kind of pork. Also to Vilsack's credit, his support of ethanol is part of a "kitchen sink" strategy that he believes is necessary to combat global warming; during his brief bid for the Democratic nomination he advocated a 75 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050, reported Alternet.

That Vilsack is a proponent of ethanol and biotech shouldn't come as a surprise, as Obama campaigned on the same page. He's been a cheerleader for TransOva, an Iowa corporation that specializes in bovine cloning, Vilsack is reported to have frequent contacts with Monsanto executives while governor, including taking rides on the corporate jet. And perhaps most troubling for local agricultural interests is Vilsack's support of legislation that would take away the rights of cities and counties to restrict the use and distribution of genetically modified seeds.




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