House Defeat of GMO Grass Seed Ban Highlights Need for Science-based Policies
This week, the state House in a 103-37 vote rejected a proposal that would have banned the use of genetically modified grass seed in Connecticut. The state Senate earlier approved the ban of a product that apparently won’t be on the market for at least a few years.
Although there are often concerns with anything “new,” Connecticut should be seen as a state that encourages, not stifles, innovation. The bill’s defeat is hopefully a sign that Connecticut will continue to foster a culture of research and development as an economic driver.
The GMO grass seed bill is not the only legislation that the General Assembly is considering this year where advocates claim public policy action is necessary to address a potential scientific risk to human health or the environment. But objectively evaluating that potential risk often requires time and scientific expertise that may not be readily available to legislators–especially in a short legislative session.
An example is SB 237, which seeks to ban the storage, treatment, recycling or reuse of wastewaters associated with hydraulic fracturing–a process used to access abundant supplies of natural gas in New York and Pennsylvania–supplies that could provide Connecticut and New England with a cleaner and cheaper source of energy for generations.
It is best to take politics and emotion out of this debate as much as possible and adhere to science and pursue what will serve the greater good for Connecticut. A recent Yale University Study concluded that the ability of individuals, regardless of their party affiliation, to make decisions based on science is impaired when the debate becomes more political–and less scientific and fact-based–in nature.
Many of the comments in support of SB 237 were based on emotion rather than fact, such as:
- “We will never be able to undo the damage of spills or leaks in our lifetime”).
Those on the other side of the issue generally speak in terms based on science rather than emotion, such as:
- “EPA is conducting a study [due out later this year] to better understand any potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources. The scope of the research includes . . . extensive investigation into the life cycle of wastewaters associated with hydraulic fracturing”).
In light of the Yale study, one can now argue that it is both good policy and good science to consider such science-based bills in as nonpolitical a context as possible. Legislators should focus on nonpolitical, factual statements and not let the very emotional and political nature of other claims direct policy decisions for the state.
EXPLORE BY CATEGORY
Stay Connected with CBIA News Digests
The latest news and information delivered directly to your inbox.