Irish NGO Genetic Concern says it has been given leave by Ireland's High Court to seek a judicial review of an Environmental Protection Agency decision earlier this year to allow US firm Monsanto to carry out trials of a genetically modified sugar beet at four sites. News of the fresh proceedings comes just days after the close of a 10-day court hearing to assess whether the EPA was legally justified in allowing an earlier Monsanto trial to go ahead. That trial - the first in Ireland of a modified crop - was sabotaged before its completion by anti-genetic engineering activists (ENDS Daily 30 September 1997). A judgement on the first judicial review is not due until the autumn. During the hearing, Genetic Concern argued that the EPA had failed a legal obligation to ensure Monsanto's trial would pose no risk to the environment and human health. It submitted evidence from several biotechnology experts on the risks of modified organisms. Monsanto countered that the EPA was required only to refuse an application for a trial where it thought it would have adverse effects. The EPA denies that its consent to Monsanto was unreasonable.
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