Welcome to the Fall 2015 edition of the Humphrey Public Affairs Review. In this latest collection of student work, you’ll find pieces by some of the most talented writers and researchers at the Humphrey School. Whether their focus is on millennials’ attitudes on abortion or genetically modified beets, or if their expertise lies in transit-oriented development or the philosophies that underlie planning policy, they all contribute to important dialogues on pressing issues in public affairs.
Omnia Ibrahim’s article “Developers’ TODrive” is about the theory and application of Transit-Oriented Developments in the Twin Cities.
Fifty to sixty percent of refined sugar in the United States is derived from sugar beets (USDA-ERS 2015a). Sugar beet production is an important sector of the Minnesota economy; one-third of U.S. sugar beet production occurs in Minnesota (USDA-ERS 2015b). In 2003, the Monsanto Company, a multinational corporation specializing in agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology, petitioned the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to fully deregulate Event H7-1 (“Roundup Ready”) genetically engineered sugar beets and all related cultivars. This report is an analysis of the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) submitted by the USDA in response to Monsanto’s petition. Although the USDA ultimately recommends full deregulation, the agency does not provide a convincing case for its decision. Major limitations include a narrowly defined Purpose and Need, insufficient analysis of human and animal health impacts, and insufficient discussion of impacts on organic growers. These limitations, the legal pathway that preceded this EIS, and the lack of discussion of alternatives to full deregulation render the USDA’s recommendation questionable. The outcome of this EIS is nationally and globally significant due to its implications for the federal regulatory status of genetically engineered crops into the future.
On January 22, 2016, pro-choice advocates will celebrate the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision striking down abortion restriction laws, but its future as settled law remains uncertain. If abortion continues to be as contentious an issue in the future as it is now, with almost equal numbers of people wanting to repeal the ruling as want to protect it, then its legislated future will increasingly be in the hands of the millennial generation, as they become the country’s most significant and influential voting bloc. But only 44% of millennials actually know what Roe v. Wade is about.
Note from the Managing Editor: This piece is the first in a series in which HPAR will seek to explore the Minnesota experience through interviews with notable local figures, including writers, politicians, and Humphrey School alumni. Our first victim, Andy Sturdevant, is a Minnesota author and artist whose work has appeared institutions and publications ranging from the Minneapolis Institute of Art to a weekly column on MinnPost. His first book, Potluck Supper with Meeting to Follow, was published in 2013.