The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an order requiring USDA to complete an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the planting of Roundup Ready sugar beets.

According to attorney George Kimbrell from the Center for Food Safety, the court order "cements a critical legal benchmark in the battle for meaningful oversight of biotech crops and food."  

"Because of this case," Kimbrell said, "there will be public disclosure and debate on the harmful impacts of these pesticide-promoting crops, as well as legal protections for farmers threatened by contamination."
Tom Helscher, Monsanto's spokesman, says there is less to the decision than the opponents claim.  "As a result of subsequent court decisions and USDA actions, continuation of the appeals had little consequence for Roundup Ready sugar beet growers or seed companies," he said.  "The (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has issued interim measures to allow the planting of Roundup Ready sugar beets and farmers are planting their Roundup Ready sugar beet crops."
USDA projects the EIS will be completed in mid-2012.