Gov't to ask Tennesseans about genetically modified crops in wildlife refuges

ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) -- Meetings planned in four states will ask people what they think about using genetically modified crops on refuges to provide food for migrating waterfowl.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been taking public comment since April for an environmental analysis required under a ruling in a lawsuit by three environmental groups. The groups contend biotech crops encourage overuse of herbicides and the growth of herbicide-resistant weeds, hurt beneficial insects and change soil ecology.

Farmers harvest part of the crops grown on refuges. A ruling last year noted that herbicide-resistant plants made up 92 percent of the nation's soybean acreage and 80 percent of the corn acreage in 2008.

The meetings are Monday in Decatur, Ala.; Tuesday in Dyersburg, Tenn.; Wednesday in Natchez, Miss., and Thursday in Alexandria, La.

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