KGUN 9News


Outcry leads Pima Supervisors to delay Monsanto decision

Possible tax breaks for special greenhouse
Posted at 8:15 PM, Nov 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-22 22:15:04-05
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The Pima County Supervisors have been working to attract more employers to our area but today people packed the board's meeting to tell them to tell one new employer it's not welcome here.
People spoke for about four hours urging the supervisors to reject a chance to help the Monsanto Chemical company build a large greenhouse in the Marana area.
 Monsanto genetically modifies crops to increase yield and help them resist insects and disease.  
The company plans a greenhouse laboratory in the Marana area at Twin Peaks and Sanders roads that would create about 50 jobs with an average pay of 44 thousand dollars.
But 62 people signed up to speak.  Most of them say genetically modified food is dangerous and so are Monsanto's chemicals.
Kerry Fox said, “Just look at Monsanto on Wikipedia.  Three minutes is not enough time to share the damage this company has done to the environment and people around the world for more than 50 years."
Her young daughter Katie worried about Monsanto’s chemicals.”Iif any Monsanto people try to kills bees I'm gonna be really sad."
Suzanne Pitts told Supervisors, “The multi national, large money maker doesn't need the break.  Money is not the only measure.  Health and well being are."
But Chamber of Commerce President Mike Varney says Pima County is still hurting from the recession.
“An opportunity for well paying jobs, no matter how many or how few is an opportunity we must embrace."
Monsanto has always defended its products and its environmental record.      
County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry explained the county can't keep Monsanto out.  It has simply offered to help Monsanto get tax breaks by asking the US Department of Commerce to declare the land around the greenhouse a Foreign Trade Zone.
In return Monsanto would agree to share information on its operations.
Huckelberry says the County and Marana Schools would come out ahead because property tax from a sophisticated greenhouse would be much high than from the unused farm land there now.
With so much opposition Supervisors decided to hold more hearings and rule in February.