A top congressional aide and an environmentalist involved inbiotechnology on Friday strongly criticized the biotechnologypolicy report issued last week by the White House Council onCompetitiveness.

"It's ludicrous," said Greg Simon, chief counsel to the HouseCommittee on Science, Space and Technology. "This is the lastthing we need at this point."

Simon balked at the report's recommendation that the BushAdministration oppose any legislation aimed at the oversight ofbiotechnology. "They have no problem promoting legislation tosupport a particular company," Simon said, referring to theadministration's advocacy of a patent bill introduced during thelast Congress that would have favored Amgen in its battleagainst Genetics Institute over erythropoietin. "But they opposelegislation that will help everyone."

Simon drafted a bill introduced in last Congress that wouldhave fixed several flaws in the 1986 Coordinated Frameworkfor the Regulation of Biotechnology. The new policy reportrecommends that the administration oppose such legislation.

Jane Rissler of the National Wildlife Federation opposes thenew policy because it "will be used to pressure federal agenciesto reduce their oversight" of biotechnology. The report directsagencies to regulate products developed through biotechnologyjust as they would non-biotech products. -- Carol Ezzell

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.