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BURLINGTON GREENS STATEMENT ON BIOTECHNOLOGY,

THE STAFFORD CENTER, AND THE UVM-CI TY AGREEMENT


The f ol l owi ng i s a Bur l i ngt on Gr eens posi t i on paper on
genet i c engi neer i ng, i t s connect i on t o UVM' s pr oposed St af f or d
Cent er, and Bur l i ngt on ci t y gover nment ' s l ack of meani ngf ul
r e s p o n s e t o t h e d a n g e r s p o s e d b y t h i s t e c h n o l o g y. Th e p a p e r i s
d i v i d e d i n t o t h r e e s e c t i o n s :
I . W H A T I S B E H I N D B I O T E C H N O L O G Y 1
an over vi ew of t he f or ces dr i vi ng genet i c engi neer i ng
r e s e a r c h a n d t h e p r o b a b l e s o c i a l a n d e c o l o g i c a l
c o n s e q u e n c e s .
I I . T H E S T A F F O R D C E N T E R A G R E E M E N T 4
an as s es s ment of t he Ci t y - UVM agr eement t hat c ommi t s t he
C i t y t o s u p p o r t i n g t h e c o n s t r u c t i o n o f t h e S t a f f o r d C e n t e r
I I I . M O R A T O R I U M O N G E N E T I C E N G I N E E R I N G 6
a st at ement of Green posi t i ons and demands concerni ng
g e n e t i c e n g i n e e r i n g a n d c o n s t r u c t i o n o f t h e S t a f f o r d Ce n t e r .
For mor e i nf or mat i on, cont act t he Bur l i ngt on Gr eens at t he
addr ess bel ow or cal l Paul Fl eckenst ei n at 863- 7385 or Danny
F i s h e r a t 8 6 4 - 4 0 7 1 .
Bu r l i n g t o n Gr e e n s
P O B o x 4 5 6 7
Bu r l i n g t o n , VT 0 5 4 0 6
BURLINGTON GREENS STATEMENT ON BIOTECHNOLOGY,,
THE STAFFORD CENTER, AND THE UVM-CITY AGREEMENT
Wh a t i s b i o t e c h n o l o g y a n d h o w d o e s i t a f f e c t Ve z mo n t e r s ? Bo v i n e
Gr o wt h Ho r mo n e ( B GH) i s o n l y t h e r s t i n a s e r i e s o f g e n e t i c a l l y
e n g i n e e r e d p r o d u c t s t h a t c o u l d s e v e r e l y a f f e c t o u r f a r ms , o u r
h e a l t h , o u r e n v i r o n me n t , a n d o u r l i v e s . T h e i s s u e s a r e s o me t i me s
c o mp l e x a n d t e c h n i c a l , b u t t h e r e a r e a f e w b a s i c f a c t s a b o u t
b i o t e c h n o l o g y e v e r y o n e s h o u l d k n o w.
Bi o t e c h n o l o g y i s a c t u a l l y a wh o l e s e r i e s o f n e w t e c h n o l o g i e s .
Ea c h o f t h e m i n v o l v e s t h e l e d s o r a t o r y me mi p u l a t i o n o f b a s i c l i f e
p r o c e s s e s . T h e s e i n c l u d e c u l t u r i n g l i v i n g c e l l s i n a t e s t t u b e t o
e n h a n c e p a r t i c u l a r g e n e t i c t r a i t s , a l t e r i n g t h e s t r u c t u r e o f
p r o t e i n s a n d e n z y me s , c l o n i n g c e l l s t o ma k e g e n e t i c a l l y i d e n t i c a l
copi es, and ar t i ci al l y i mpl ant i ng ani mal and even human embr yos.
Ge n e t i c e n g i n e e r i n g i s t h e mo s t i mp o r t a n t a n d p r o b a b l y t h e mo s t
c o n t r o v e r s i a l o f t h e n e w b i o t e c h n o l o g i e s . S c i e n t i s t s a r e n o w a b l e t o
d i s s e c t p a r t i c u l a r g e n e t i c t r a i t s o u t o f t h e c h r o mo s o me s o f o n e
a n i ma l , p l a n t , o r v a r i e t y o f b a c t e r i a a n d s p l i c e t h e m i n t o a n o t h e r .
Thi s " gene s pl i c i ng* * i nv ol v es us i ng an enz y me t o open t he DNA i n a
c e l l , i n s e r t i n g a g e n e a t t h a t p o i n t , a n d c l o s i n g i t b a c k u p a g a i n .
Thus , t he genes f or a gr owt h hor mone ( as wi t h BGH) c an be s pl i c ed
i n t o b a c t e r i a , wh i c h c a n t h e n b e r a i s e d i n a l a r g e v a t t o p r o d u c e
c o mme r c i a l q u a n t i t i e s o f t h e h o r mo n e . Si mi l a r l y, g e n e s c a n b e
t r a n s f e r r e d f r o m o n e p l a n t t o a n o t h e r , a n d e v e n b e t w e e n d i f f e r e n t
s p e c i e s o f a n i ma l s .
I . W H A T I S B E H I N D B I O T E C H N O L O G Y
Th e p r o mo t e r s o f b i o t e c h n o l o g y p r o mi s e a l l t y p e s o f n e w
wo n d e r s . T h e y f o r e c a s t b e t t e r me d i c i n e s , h e a r t i e r f o o d c r o p s , a n d
i n s t a n t e n v i r o n me n t a l c l e a n u p s . So f a r , t h e y h a v e c r e a t e d a f e w n e w
p r o d u c t s f o r c h e mi c a l a n d d r u g c o mp a n i e s , r e l e a s e d e n g i n e e r e d
b a c t e r i a i n t o t h e o p e n a i r , r e c e i v e d p a t e n t s f o r n e w b a c t e r i a ,
p l a n t s a n d a n i ma l s , a n d s e r i o u s l y d i s t o r t e d t h e r e s e a r c h a g e n d a o f
p r i v a t e a n d p u b l i c u n i v e r s i t i e s .
C o r p o r a t e C o n t r o l
Re g a r d l e s s o f t h e c l a i ms s c i e n t i s t s ma y ma k e a b o u t t h e n e u t r a l
o r * * d o u b l e - e d g e d * * n a t u r e o f b i o t e c h n o l o g y, i t i s v e r y c l e a r wh a t
e d g e i s d o i n g t h e c u t t i n g . Ev e n i f we a s s u me t h a t we c o u l d u s e
g e n e t i c e n g i n e e r i n g i n o v e r a l l s o c i a l l y b e n e c i a l w a y s i n a
d i f f e r e n t t y p e o f s o c i e t y , t h i s i s c l e a r l y n o t t h e c a s e t o d a y . A n d
t h e r e i s n o r e a s o n t o b e l i e v e t h a t p r o t a n d mi l i t a r y a p p l i c a t i o n
wi l l n o t b e d r i v i n g f o r c e s b e h i n d t h i s t e c h n o l o g y a n y t i me s o o n .
The domi nant cor por at e suppor t er s of bi ot echnol ogy r esear ch ar e
c h e mi c a l a n d p h a r ma c e u t i c a l t r a n s n a t i o n a l c o r p o r a t i o n s l i k e
Mo n s a n t o , Du p o n t , a n d El i L i l y. T h e c l e a r g o a l o f t h e s e c o r p o r a t e
s p o n s o r s i s p r o d u c t d e v e l o p me n t . As a r e s u l t , g e n e t i c e n g i n e e r s a r e
b u s i l y a t wo r k c r e a t i n g p r o d u c t s t h a t d i s c o u r a g e t h e u s e o f
e c o l o g i c a l t e c h n o l o g i e s a l l o wi n g u s t o wo r k i n c o mp l e me n t a r y wa y s
2
w i t h n a t u r e a n d t h a t b l i n d u s w i t h " t e c h n o l o g i c a l x e s " t o t h e
under l y i ng c aus es of many of our human heal t h and env i r onment al
p r o b l e ms . F o r e x a mp l e , i n s t e a d o f e n g i n e e r i n g mi c r o b e s t o e a t u p o i l
s p i l l s a n d a d a p t t h e e n v i r o n me n t t o p o l l u t i o n , a b e t t e r s o l u t i o n
w o u l d b e t o s t o p p o l l u t i n g t h e e n v i r o n me n t i n t h e r s t p l a c e .
Re s e a r c h e r s a r e e n g i n e e r i n g f o o d c r o p s t h a t a r e r e s i s t a n t t o
her bi c i des . Why ? Bec aus e bi g c hemi c al c ompani es l i k e Hons ant o want
f a r me r s t o s p r a y mo r e h e r b i c i d e s i n s t e a d o f we e d i n g , r e g a r d l e s s o f
t h e e f f e c t o n o u r f o o d a n d t h e e n v i r o n m e n t . F a r m e r s w i l l r e c e i v e a
p a c k a g e d e a l o f s e e d s f o r h e r b i c i d e r e s i s t a n t p l a n t s a n d t h e
h e r b i c i d e s . Ot h e r c o mp a n i e s a r e wo r k i n g t o ma k e v e g e t a b l e s c r i s p e r
a n d mo r e c o l o r f u l a t t h e e x p e n s e o f n u t r i t i o n , a n d ma n i p u l a t i n g
p e s t - r e s i s t a n c e g e n e s i n wa y s t h a t c o u l d s e v e r e l y c o mp r o mi s e n a t u r a l
p e s t c o n t r o l s .
I n s t e a d o f f o s t e r i n g s u s t a i n e i b l e a n d e c o l o g i c a l a g r i c u l t u r e
t h a t w o u l d b e n e t s ma l l f a r me r s , t h e p r i ma r y t h r u s t o f t h e s e t y p e s
o f b i o t e c h r e s e a r c h i s t o d e v e l o p a g r i c u l t u r a l t e c h n o l o g i e s t h a t
c r e a t e a n a r t i c i a l n a t u r e a n d a l l o w a f e w c h e mi c a l c o mp a n i e s
t r e me n d o u s c o n t r o l o f f o o d p r o d u c t i o n .
I n me d i c i n e , t h e ma n i p u l a t i v e p o we r o f b i o t e c h n o l o g y ma y c l o s e
o f f ma n y o t h e r a v e n u e s o f r e s e a r c h i n t o b e t t e r d i s e a s e t h e r a p i e s .
Me d i c a l l a b o r a t o r i e s a r e i n c r e a s i n g l y u n d e r t h e i n u e n c e o f l a r g e
d r u g c o mp a n i e s wh i c h d i s t o r t r e s e a r c h a g e n d a s f o r t h e i r o wn e n d s .
The new bi ot ec hnol ogi es hav e br oadened our k nowl edge of bas i c
b i o c h e mi c a l p r o c e s s e s a t a r a p i d p a c e , b u t h a v e s e r i o u s l y n a r r o we d
t h e s c o p e o f b a s i c me d i c a l r e s e a r c h . Na t u r a l c u r e s a n d t h e r a p i e s a r e
b y p a s s e d i n f a v o r o f d e v e l o p i n g n e w a n d p r o t a b l e p r o d u c t s u s i n g
g e n e t i c e n g i n e e r i n g . I n s t e a d o f a d d r e s s i n g u n d e r l y i n g e n v i r o n me n t a l
a n d s o c i a l c a u s e s o f s i c l c n e s s , t h e d i r e c t i o n o f r e s e a r c h i s a g a i n
t h r o w n t o w a r d s h o r t - s i g h t e d t e c h n o l o g i c a l x e s .
B i o t e c h n o l o g y a l s o p r o mi s e s g r e a t e r t e c h n o l o g i c a l c o n t r o l o v e r
h u ma n r e p r o d u c t i o n a n d c h i l d b i r t h ; r e c e n t c o n t r o v e r s i e s o v e r
s u r r o g a t e mo t h e r h o o d a n d g e n e t i c s c r e e n i n g a r e o n l y t h e t i p o f t h e
i ceberg. Once sci ent i st s have "mapped" hvi man genes, perhaps gi vi ng
u s t h e c a p a J a i l i t y t o s c r e e n f o r s u s c e p t i b i l i t y t o c a n c e r ,
i n t e l l i g e n c e , n e a r - s i g h t e d n e s s , p r o n e n e s s t o h e a r t d i s e a s e , a n d e v e n
mu s i c a l a b i l i t y , t h e d o o r i s o p e n f o r a n i n c r e d i b l y p o w e r f u l t y p e o f
e u g e n i c s . Wh o i s g o i n g t o ma k e t h e d e c i s i o n s a b o u t wh a t i s
" a b n o r m a l " a n d w h a t i s d e s i r a b l e ?
T h e Un i v e r s i t y o f Ve r mo n t
E v e n wh e n " p i i b l i c " i n s t i t u t i o n s a r e i n v o l v e d , s i mi l a r c o n c e r n s
ov er pr oduc t dev el opment hol d. The Pent agon f unds a l ar ge amount of
g e n e t i c e n g i n e e r i n g r e s e a r c h , mo s t o f wh i c h i s u n c l a s s i e d .
A l t h o u g h n o t a l l o f t h e r e s e a r c h i s e x p l i c i t l y d e v o t e d t o t h e
d e v e l o p me n t o f b i o l o g i c a l wa r f a r e a g e n t s , t h e k n o wl e d g e g a i n e d
t h r o u g h t h e b a s i c r e s e a r c h f u n d e d wi l l b e u s e d t o d e v e l o p e v e r mo r e
h e i n o u s b i o l o g i c a l w e a p o n s , t h e l i k e s o f w h i c h a r e d i f c u l t t o e v e n
i ma g i n e .
U n i v e r s i t i e s l i k e U V M a n d t h e N a t i o n a l I n s t i t u t e s o f H e a l t h
( NI H) , a pr i nci pl e sour ce of f unds f or genet i c engi neer i ng r esear ch
3
a t x r VH, a r e v e z y c l e a r t h a t p r o d u c t d e v e l o p me n t i s c e n t r a l t o t h e i r
r esear ch mi ssi on. Some bi ot echnol ogy pr oponent s pr edi ct t hat t he
bi otechnol ogy sal es market wi l l surpass $100 bi l l i on per year earl y
i n t h e n e x t c e n t u r y . A t ma n y u n i v e r s i t i e s , r e s e a r c h e r s s t a r t t h e i r
own ent er pr i ses t o sel l pr oduct s t hey devel oped at t he publ i c' s
ex pens e and s ome ev en hol d s t oc k i n t he c ompani es t hat f und t hei r
r esear ch, whi ch r ai ses a coni ct of i nt er est bet ween economi c gai n
a n d s c i e n t i c i n t e g r i t y a s p r o d u c t s g e t r u s h e d t o ma r k e t .
Unknown Dangers
Th e s e a n d o t h e r s o c i a l e md e c o l o g i c a l c o n s e q u e n c e s o f
bi ot echnol ogy are al ready known. They are happeni ng t o some ext ent
t o d a y a n d a r e t h e a d mi t t e d g o a l s o f t h e a g e n c i e s a n d c o r p o r a t i o n s
f u n d i n g mu c h o f t h e r e s e a r c h .
But t her e i s anot her, pot ent i al l y mor e devast at i ng and
cer t ai nl y mor e f r i ght eni ng aspect t o genet i c engi neer i ng. Thr ough
genet i c engi neer i ng sci ent i st s can cr eat e compl et el y new or gani sms
t h a t w o u l d n o t h a v e o t h e r w i s e e v o l v e d i n n a t u r e a n d t h a t h a v e n o
e c o l o g i c a l n i c h e . Wh e n t h e s e o r g a n i s ms a r e r e l e a s e d i n t o t h e
envi r onment t hey coul d become a ki nd of bi ogenet i c pol l ut i on wi t h
u n p r e d i c t a b l e c o n s e q u e n c e s . Be c a u s e t h e s e o r g a n i s ms a r e a l i v e a n d
can reproduce, mi grat e, and mut at e, t hey coul d become a growi ng,
mov i ng, c hangi ng f or m of pol l ut i on, f ar mor e di f c ul t t o pr edi c t
a n d c o n t r o l t h a n s i mp l e c h e mi c a l p o l l u t i o n .
The envi r onment al and publ i c heal t h hazar ds of bi ot echnol ogy
ar e onl y begi nni ng t o be under st ood. Never t hel ess, t he i ndust r y i s
r u s h i n g t o t e s t a n d ma r k e t n e w p r o d u c t s . Up t o t h e p r e s e n t t h e r e
have been r el at i vel y f ew known r el eases of genet i cal l y engi neer ed
or gani sms i nt o t he envi r onment ; t hus, t hey have come under publ i c
s c r u t i n y a n d a t l e a s t a mo d i c u m o f c a u t i o n h a s b e e n e x e r c i s e d i n
mos t c as es . Howev er , when t he ood gat es open and t her e ar e
t h o u s a n d s o f e n v i r o n me n t a l r e l e a s e s p e r y e a r , t h e p u b l i c wi l l h a v e
t o t r u s t t h e j u d g me n t o f t h e s c i e n t i s t s i n v o l v e d . E v e n i f we c o u l d
t r ust t he adequacy of f eder al and st at e over si ght , whi ch t he hi st or y
o f t h e n u c l e a r a n d c h e mi c a l i n d u s t r y r e g u l a t i o n g i v e s u s n o r e a s o n
t o d o , r e s e a r c h e r s e a g e r t o b r i n g t h e i r p r o d u c t t o ma r k e t c o u l d
easi l y ci r cumvent r egul at i ons, as has happened al r eady wi t h at l east
t wo unaut hor i zed envi r onment al r el eases of engi neer ed or gani sms i n
t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s .
S c i e n t i s t s i n v o l v e d g e n e t i c e n g i n e e r i n g ma y n o t c r e a t e t h e
A n d r o me d a S t r a i n o r t h e k i l l e r t o ma t o e s o f c t i o n , b u t
bi ot ec hnol ogy c oul d t hr eat en t he i nt egr i t y of l i f e i n many s ubt l e
a n d u n p r e d i c t a b l e wa y s . I f g e n e t i c a l l y e n g i n e e r e d l i f e f o r ms we r e
a l l o we d t o b e t e s t e d a n d r e l e a s e d i n Ve r mo n t , t h e y c o u l d s p r e a d a n d
r epr oduc e bef or e t hey wer e ev en det ec t ed. New pl ant and ani mal
d i s e a s e s c o u l d b e i n t r o d u c e d , n a t i v e p l a n t s a n d s o i l b a c t e r i a c o u l d
b e c h a n g e d g e n e t i c a l l y, a n d n a t u r a l t o x i n - p r o d u c i n g q u a l i t i e s c o u l d
b e a l t e r e d o r e n h a n c e d . So me b i o t e c h p r o d u c t s c o u l d a f f e c t t h e
worki ng of t he human i mmune syst em. The wast e product s of f ut ure
b i o t e c h n o l o g y i n d u s t r i e s a r e a n o t h e r s o u r c e o f u n k n o wn h a z a r d s .
F e d e r a l r e g u l a t i o n s o n b i o t e c h n o l o g y h a v e b e e n s t e a d i l y
w e a k e n e d s i n c e t h e i r i n t r o d u c t i o n i n t h e l a t e s e v e n t i e s . F e w e r
4
saf eguar ds ar e r equi r ed i n l abor at or i es car r yi ng out gene spl i ci ng
r esear ch, and el d t est s ar e somet i mes r ushed t o appr oval wi t h onl y
mi ni mal r evi ew. Ther e i s not even a r el i abl e met hod f or t r acki ng or
det ect i ng escaped mi cr oor gani sms wi t h l abor at or y- al t er ed genes. I f
UVH i s al l owed t o expand r esear ch f aci l i t i es f or bi ot echnol ogy, we
wi l l have ver y l i t t l e pr ot ect i on agai nst t he possi bl e consequences.
W h o C a n We T r u s t ?
Bi ot echnol ogy pr oponent s ar gue, j ust l i ke t he ear l y pr oponent s
of t he chemi cal and nucl ear power i ndust r i es, t hat t he t echnol ogy i s
s a f e , r e g u l a t i o n i s a d e q u a t e , a n d , b e s i d e s , t h e r e i s n o e v i d e n c e o f
a n y h a r mf u l e f f e c t s . We a r e a d mo n i s h e d t o t r u s t t h e e x p e r t s .
A s u s u a l , h i s t o r y i s i n s t r u c t i v e . N u c l e a r p o w e r i s o n e o f t h e
most hi ghl y r egul at ed i ndust r i es, but t hi s has not been much hel p.
Heavy i nvest ment i n nucl ear power has been at t he sacr i ce of
r enewabl e ener gy s our c e dev el opment . We hav e mount ai ns of deadl y
r adi oact i ve wast e and nowher e t o put i t . And t i me and t i me agai n, we
h a v e s e e n h u ma n h e a l t h a n d e n v i r o n me n t a l p r o t e c t i o n s a c r i c e d f o r
t h e p r o t s o f p o w e r f u l c o r p o r a t i o n s .
I t t o o k a l mo s t h a l f a c e n t u r y f o r s o c i e t y t o r e a l i z e t h e
envi ronment al and human heal t h consequences of t he chemi cal
r evol ut i on: pol l ut i on, t oxi c wast e dumps, and cancer. And we ar e
st i l l f ar f r om under st andi ng t he f ul l ecol ogi cal consequences of t he
chemi cal pol l ut i on of t he bi osphere. The same compani es who gave us
PCBs , DDT, c hl or o uor oc ar bons , and Agent Or ange now pr omi s e us a
n e w " t e c h n o l o g i c a l x , " b i o t e c h n o l o g y .
Th e y s a y t h a t i t i s s a f e . Ha v e we a n y r e a s o n t o b e l i e v e t h e m?
I I . T H E S T A F F O R D C E N T E R A G R E E M E N T
The Cl avel l e Admi ni st r at i on' s cr i t i cal r esponse t o UVM' s
p r o p o s e d St a f f o r d Re s e a r c h Ce n t e r r e v e a l s d e e p c o n c e r n o v e r t h e
ef f ect s of Uni v er s i t y ex pans i on on t he Ci t y, but onl y t oken i nt er est
f or t he saf et y, et hi cs and appl i cat i ons of bi ot echnol ogy r esear ch.
Mayor Cl avel l e has t r eat ed genet i c engi neer i ng i ssues as separ at e
f r o m t h e S t a f f o r d Ce n t e r . Wh i l e r e l e g a t i n g c o n c e r n s a b o u t g e n e t i c
engi neeri ng to the Communi ty and Economi c Devel opment Ofce (CEDO),
t he May or has negot i at ed an agr eement wi t h UVM t hat addr es s es
housi ng, t r af c, and par ki ng i ssues and t hat commi t s t he Ci t y t o
s u p p o r t i n g c o n s t r u c t i o n o f t h e S t a f f o r d Ce n t e r . T h i s a g r e e me n t
u n d e r c u t s t h e Ci t y ' s a b i l i t y t o o p p o s e g e n e t i c e n g i n e e r i n g i n a n y
meani ngf ul way, and r ai ses ser i ous doubt s about t he si ncer i t y of t he
Ma y o r ' s a n d t h e Al d e r ma n i c Bo a r d ' s c o n c e r n o v e r b i o t e c h n o l o g y.
For al most a year. Uni ver si t y expansi on has been t he pr i mar y
subj ect of negot i at i ons bet ween t he Ci t y and UVM. Onl y af t er UVM
we n t b e f o r e t h e Z o n i n g Bo a r d o f Ad j u s t me n t ( Z BA) f o r a St a f f o r d
Cent er zoni ng per mi t , however, di d t he Uni ver si t y wi l l i ngl y di scuss
condi t i ons on campus gr owt h. The r epor t l ed Febr uar y 22, 1989 by
t h e Z BA o n UVM' s St a f f o r d Ce n t e r p e r mi t a p p l i c a t i o n r e a d s ; " T h e
U n i v e r s i t y h a s s e e n t t o f u r t h e r e x p a n d r e s e a r c h , o f c e .
5
c l a s s r o o m a n d s p o r t s f a c i l i t i e s r s t . T h e Z o n i n g B o a r d i s o f t h e
o p i n i o n t h a t t h e f a c i l i t i e s f o r h o u s i n g , p a r k i n g , t r a f c a n d s o l i d
v a s t e r ma n a g e me n t mu s t p r e c e d e o r a t l e a s t c o i n c i d e wi t h t h e
ot hers. " The ZBA present ed UVM wi t h an ul t i mat i i m: "The Uni versi t y
s h a l l , p r i o r t o r e c e i v i n g a b u i l d i n g p e r mi t , o b t a i n a p p r o v a l f r o m
t h e a p p r o p r i a t e Ci t y e md St a t e a g e n c i e s , i n c l u d i n g a n Ac t 2 5 0 p e r mi t
. . . [ f or ] a s uf c i ent nui ober of hous i ng uni t s . . . pr ef er abl y i n
combi nat i on wi t h [ 400] par ki ng st r uct ur es, l ocat ed on campus or i n
a p p r o p r i a t e l y z o n e d d i s t r i c t s . . . . " T h e me s s a g e wa s c l e a r : Wi t h
n o a d d i t i o n a l c a mp u s h o u s i n g , t h e r e wo u l d b e n o ZBA p e r mi t f o r t h e
S t a f f o r d C e n t e r .
Pa t i e n c e wi t h t h e Un i v e r s i t y ' s u n a b a t e d e x p a n s i o n h a d d r a wn t o
a c l o s e . T h e Z B A t i e d i t s a p p r o v a l o f t h e S t a f f o r d Ce n t e r t o t h e
c o n s t r u c t i o n o f h u n d r e d s o f h o u s i n g u n i t s a n d a $ 1 0 mi l l i o n d o l l a r
par ki ng st r uct ur e. Accor di ng t o UVM Vi ce Pr esi dent Ray Lavi gne,
t hese condi t i ons woul d t ake t wo- t o- t hr ee year s t o compl et e, causi ng
a t wo - t o - t h r e e y e a r p o s t p o n e me n t o f St a f f o r d c o n s t r u c t i o n . T h e
Un i v e r s i t y ' s a l t e r n a t i v e s , s u c h a s r e l o c a t i n g t h e f a c i l i t y o u t s i d e
of Bur l i ngt on or chal l engi ng t he ZBA i n cour t , woul d be equal l y t i me
c o n s u mi n g a n d c o s t l y. T h e Un i v e r s i t y ' s r e ma i n i n g o p t i o n wa s t o
a p p e a l Z BA c o n d i t i o n s , b u t n o t b e f o r e Ci t y Co u n c i l s u p p o r t f o r t h e
proj ect and ZBA appeal had been creat ed. The t i me was ri pe f or t he
U n i v e r s i t y t o c u t a d e a l .
On Januar y 24, 1989 negot i at i ons bet ween UVM and t he Mayor
c ul mi nat ed i n t he announc ement t hat an agr eement had been r eac hed.
UVM woul d pr ov i de $350, 000 f or t he pr opos ed wi deni ng of Mai n St r eet
a n d a f e w o t h e r e x t r a s n o t r e q u i r e d b y t h e ZBA, i n e x c h a n g e f o r n o t
h a v i n g t o p r o v i d e t h e p a r k i n g g a r a g e a n d a s ma n y h o u s i n g u n i t s a s
r e q u i r e d b y t h e ZBA. I f t h e Bo a r d o f Al d e r ma n e n d o r s e s t h e
a g r e e me n t , t h e Ci t y wo u l d b e b o u n d t o s u p p o r t t h e St a f f o r d Ce n t e r
bef or e al l r ev i ew panel s : " t he Ci t y Counc i l wi l l ac t i v el y s uppor t
t h e S t a f f o r d p r o j e c t h e r e i n a n d e x p r e s s i t s s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h t h i s
Ag r e e me n t b e f o r e s u c h l o c a l a n d s t a t e r e g u l a t o r y a g e n c i e s . " UVM h a d
i t s w a y w i t h t h e C i t y .
The Mayor accompl i shed what Mayor s Sander s and Pauquet t e had
f ai l ed t o do i n t he pr evi ous t wo decades, but r esear ch t hr eat eni ng
h u ma n s a f e t y a n d t h e e n v i r o n me n t wa s l e f t a s i d e . Cl e a r l y, b e f o r e t h e
agr eement was wor k ed out , t he May or under s t ood many of t he t hr eat s
p o s e d b y g e n e t i c e n g i n e e r i n g . Ac c o r d i n g t o a c o mmu n i c a t i o n f r o m t h e
May or ( 10/ 31/ 89) t o UVM, " I do s har e s ome of t he c onc er ns r ai s ed by
some pr omi nant sci ent i st s and pol i cy- maker s, and by Bur l i ngt on
r e s i d e n t s . . . . " T h e Ma y o r e l s U ^ o r a t e d o n p a r t i c u l a r c o n c e r n s f o r
" el d t est s of genet i cal l y engi neer ed or gani sms, " and " t he power t o
r a d i c a l l y a l t e r b o t h t h e e n v i r o n me n t a n d f u n d a me n t a l s o c i a l a n d
economi c r el at i ons, " si nce " t he mar ket i s of t en an i mper f ect
mechani sm f or det er mi ni ng how best t o appl y t he t ool s pr ovi ded by
sci ence. " Li p ser vi ce t o t hese i ssues not wi t hst andi ng, t he Ci t y
wi l l , i f t he agr eement i s s i gned, f or f ei t t he r i ght t o oppos e t he
S t a f f o r d Ce n t e r a n d t h e g e n e t i c e n g i n e e r i n g r e s e a r c h i t wi l l h o u s e
bef or e r egul at or y agenci es, and wi l l not l i kel y oppose t he pr oj ect
publ i cl y or i n a cour t of l aw. The Mayor ' s commi t ment t o seei ng
t h e s e c o n c e r n s t h r o u g h i s , i n l i g h t o f t h e a g r e e me n t , d u b i o u s .
6
Ma n y a s p e c t s o f UVM' s r e s e a r c h a g e n d a a r e g r o u n d s f o r c i t i z e n s
and t he Ci t y t o oppose and obst r uct t he St af f or d pr oj ect bef or e t he
Pl anni ng Conmi ssi on and Act 250. The Ci t y shoul d t ake a pr i nci pl ed
st and agai nst genet i c engi neer i ng; i t shoul d suppor t t he ZBA
c ondi t i ons on t he St af f or d Cent er per mi t , gi v i ng t he Ci t y addi t i onal
year s t o di scuss and come t o t er ms wi t h bi ot echnol ogy; i t shoul d
oppos e t he St af f or d Cent er on al l av ai l abl e f r ont s , i nc l udi ng t ak i ng
t he Uni ver si t y t o cour t based on t hr eat s t o t he publ i c' s heal t h and
s a f e t y .
The Uni ver si t y has st r at egi cal l y pr eempt ed t he Ci t y f r om maki ng
meani ngful demands for muni ci pal prohi bi ti on of geneti c engi neeri ng
r esear ch by pr omi si ng campus f aci l i t i es owed t o t he communi t y
r egar dl ess of Ci t y suppor t f or t he St af f or d Cent er. The agr eement
wi l l commi t t he Ci t y t o act i vel y suppor t i ng t he r esear ch cent er. The
Ci t y wi l l t her eby be l i mi t ed t o maki ng vacuous r equest s f or
p o we r l e s s o v e r s i g h t o f UVM r e s e a r c h . T h i s i s a b a d d e a l f o r t h e
c i t i z e n s o f Bu r l i n g t o n .
I I I . MOR AT OR I U M ON GE N E T I C E N GI N E E R I N G
Whi l e t he Gr eens ar e not opposed t o t echnol ogy and sci ent i c
r esear ch as such, we under st and t hat al l t echnol ogy i s devel oped i n
a soci al , pol i t i cal , economi c, and mor al cont ext . Far f r om bei ng
" neut r al " or " obj ect i ve, " any t echnol ogy i s par t and par cel of t he
soci et y t hat pr oduces i t and supposedl y benet s f r om i t .
As bene c i al as genet i c engi neer i ng mi ght appear at r s t
g l c u i c e f o r i n s t a n c e , i n t h e p r o d u c t i o n o f i n s u l i n i t w i l l b e u s e d
by our mar ket soci et y and t he mi l i t ar i st i c gover nment t hat devel oped
i t . I t wi l l b e u s e d t o f u r t h e r t h e i n t e r e s t s o f p o we r a n d p r o t .
Ge n e t i c e n g i n e e r i n g wi l l n o t b e u n d e r t a k e n t o a c h i e v e t h e
f ul l l ment of human needs or t o achi eve a mor e heal t hy soci et y, but
i n or der t o gai n dol l ar s and mai nt ai n power. Vi r t ual l y anyt hi ng
g o e s .
I f bi ot echnol ogy pr oduces an ar t i ci al bovi ne gr owt h hor mone
whi ch hur t s ani mal s and f ar mer s, but makes money f or i t s pr oducer,
t hen i t ' s OK. I f genet i c engi neer i ng pr oduc es f r os t - f r ee s t r awber r y
cr ops at t he r i sk of al t er i ng whol e ecosyst ems causi ng damage t o
c r o p s , n a t u r e a n d p e o p l e b u t y e t p r o d u c e s d o l l a r s , t h e n i t ' s OK . I f
bi ot echnol ogy pr oduces new f or ms of bi ol ogi cal war f ar e whi ch ki l l
ent i r e popul at i ons yet br i ngs power and domi nat i on t o t he U. S.
g o v e r n me n t a n d a g a i n , p r o t s f o r i t s p a t e n t h o l d e r s , t h e n i t ' s OK .
I n s hor t , whi l e bi ot ec hnol ogy mi ght , i n a di f f er ent s oc i et y, be
wor t hy of ex pl or at i on, ev en us e, i t s ex pans i on i n a c api t al i s t i c
s o c i e t y o f n o mo r a l s b u t t h o s e wh i c h b r i n g i n t h e b a c o n c a n n o t b e
t o l e r a t e d . I n a s o c i e t y wh e r e i mmo r a l v a l u e s g r e e d a n d d o mi n a t i o n
per vade ever y soci al r el at i onshi p, ever y r eal m of h\ i man t hought and
s c i ent i c i nqui r y, c i t i z ens mus t c ons i s t ent l y demand a mor at or i um
on al l genet i c engi neer i ng unt i l a new, humane, j ust , and ecol ogi cal
s o c i e t y i s b r o u g h t i n t o b e i n g .
Mi n i ma l l y , t h e Gr e e n s c a l l f o r
1. The Ci t y t o cease cl osed- door negot i at i ons ( as i n pr e-
devel opment agr eement s) wi t h t he Uni ver si t y of Ver mont cul mi nat i ng
i n agr eement s t hat per mi t or i n any way suppor t genet i c engi neer i ng
r e s e a r c h t o b e c o n d u c t e d i n Bu r l i n g t o n .
2 . Th e Ci t y t o o p p o s e b y e v e r y p o s s i b l e me a n s t h e c o n s t r u c t i o n
o f t h e S t a f f o r d Ce n t e r b e c a u s e i t wi l l b e u s e d f o r g e n e t i c
e n g i n e e r i n g r e s e a r c h .
3 . T h e Ci t y t o wo r k wi t h o t h e r mu n i c i p a l i t i e s i n Ve r mo n t t o
p r e v e n t UVM' s g e n e t i c e n g i n e e r i n g r e s e a r c h f r o m b e i n g c o n d u c t e d
e l s e w h e r e i n t h e s t a t e .
4 . T h e s t a t e l e g i s l a t u r e a n d t h e Ci t y t o wo r k t o b r i n g UVM
u n d e r me a n i n g f u l p u b l i c c o n t r o l s o t h a t i t w i l l w o r k i n t h e
i n t e r e s t s o f o r d i n a r y p e o p l e , n o t i n t h e i n t e r e s t s o f t h e
c o r p o r a t i o n s a n d f e d e r a l a g e n c i e s f u n d i n g i t s r e s e a r c h .
5 . Th e St a t e o f Ve r mo n t , UVM, a n d t h e Ci t y t o f o s t e r t h e
d e v e l o p me n t o f e c o l o g i c a l t e c h n o l o g i e s , f o r e x a mp l e i n s u s t a i n a b l e
a g r i c u l t u r e a n d p r e v e n t a t i v e me d i c i n e , t h a t w i l l b e t t e r me e t t h e
needs of peopl e and t he env i r onment .
6 . A s e r i o u s e d u c a t i o n a l c a mp a i g n t o a l e r t B u r l i n g t o n c i t i z e n s
t o t h e d a n g e r s o f g e n e t i c e n g i n e e r i n g r e s e a r c h .
A b o v e a l l e l s e , t h e C i t y , i n a l l i t s f o r ms , s h o u l d i n c i t e ,
e n c o u r a g e a n d b u i l d a g r a s s r o o t s mo v e me n t o f c i t i z e n s wh o wi l l
d e ma n d t h a t g e n e t i c e n g i n e e r i n g b e g i v e n n o h a r b o r i n o u r c i t y. I n
a l l t h e s e a c t i v i t i e s , we mu s t r a i s e t h e s a me d e ma n d s i n o u r s t a t e
l egi s l at ur e, enc our agi ng al l ef f or t s t her e t o open t he Uni v er s i t y t o
p u b l i c s c r u t i n y a n d t o ma k e i t a l wa y s mo r e p u b l i c a n d r e s p o n s i v e t o
t h e n e e d s o f t h e c i t i z e n s o f o u r s t a t e .
We mu s t s t o p g e n e t i c e n g i n e e r i n g i n a n y wa y p o s s i b l e b y p u t t i n g
r o a d b l o c k s i n i t s wa y a t t h e Un i v e r s i t y t h r o u g h e d u c a t i o n a n d d i r e c t
a c t i o n a n d a t t h e g o v e r n me n t a l l e v e l s . Be y o n d t h a t , h o we v e r , we mu s t
r a i s e t h e c o n s c i o u s n e s s t h a t a l l t e c h n o l o g y i s o n l y a s mo r a l a s t h e
s o c i e t y t h a t w i l l u s e a n d p r o t f r o m i t . I n a p r o t - o r i e n t e d o n e
s uc h as our s , onl y one demand c an addr es s t he i mmens e des t r uc t i on of
t he nat ur al ecol ogy and human l i f e posed by t hi s t echnol ogy: i t s
c o mp l e t e c e s s a t i o n u n t i l a n e c o l o g i c a l s o c i e t y i s c r e a t e d b y a n
i n f o r me d c i t i z e n r y .