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Critical Comment Period for Roundup Herbicide
September 16, 2009

You can make a difference! As supporters of biotechnology it is important to know about a critical comment period for a Draft Environmental Impact Statement, DEIS, prepared by the Bureau of Land Management, BLM. Monsanto's wholly-owned subsidiary, P4 Production LLC, is seeking a permit to open a new phosphate mine in Southeast Idaho, named the Blackfoot Bridge Mine. This mine will supply the phosphate ore needed to make elemental phosphorus, the key ingredient used to manufacture Roundup herbicide.

The creation of Roundup herbicide and the genetic modifications to make plants tolerant to it were the keystone of the biotechnology revolution that has swept the world. Many other traits are now available to farmers and dozens more are in the research and development pipeline.

Your comments in support of this project are important. Because commercially available phosphate sources in North America are very limited, the P4 plant in Soda Springs, Idaho is the only source of elemental phosphorus in the Western Hemisphere. The currently existing mine will soon be exhausted. If the new mine is not opened there will be no other source of elemental phosphorus for manufacturing in North America. Approximately one third of the production of elemental phosphorus is sold to other manufacturers. Elemental phosphorus is used to make a wide variety of products, many of which we all use or depend on every day. A short list of these diverse items includes: most tooth paste, fire retardant, non flammable aircraft hydraulic fluid, Miracle Grow for the flowers and garden, and tracer ammunition.

Your comments are important because your lives and livelihoods depend on this project being approved. Even though approximately ninety percent of the land is privately owned and only ten percent is BLM managed, the environmental community has already asked for, and received, an extension on the public comment period. This will allow them to submit even more comments than they might have otherwise.

In addition to this Monsanto mine the J. R. Simplot Company is also in the process of opening a new phosphate mine in the same part of Southeast Idaho to produce phosphate fertilizer for North America. Support for Monsanto will also help support Simplot in their efforts.

Comments must be submitted by close of business October 31 to the BLM at:

Blackfoot Bridge Project, ARCADIS
630 Plaza Drive
Highlands Ranch, CO 80129

Additional information on how to submit comments can be found at: or by calling 208-608-8047.

The summary of the DEIS can be found at:

Please take a minute to write! Your comments can make a difference in helping to keep a reliable supply of elemental phosphorus available to manufacture not only Roundup but many other essential products we need and use.

As a personal note from the author, I am an Idaho farmer and a past state legislator who is personally familiar with the mining activities in Southeastern Idaho. These are well managed, environmentally conscious, operations that are important not just to Idaho and the local communities but to people all over the world. I am writing to the BLM personally in support of this DEIS. I urge you to do the same!

Douglas R. Jones,
Executive Director, Growers for Biotechnology
Boise, Idaho

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