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Letter to Clinton re:plant stress

malamj01 at mcrcr6.med.nyu.edu malamj01 at mcrcr6.med.nyu.edu
Fri Jan 27 12:06:22 EST 1995

The following is an open letter to President Clinton.  It can be
forwarded to the White House at President at whitehouse.gov  A hard
copy will also be sent to the White House and to Science.  If you
would like to sign, please reply to me with your name and affiliation.

Excerpt from State of the Union Address, January 24, 1995:
"For years, Congress concealed in the budget scores of pet spending
projects.  Last year was no different.  There was a million dollars
to study stress in plants ... If you'll give me the line-item veto,
I'll remove some of that unnecessary spending."

Dear Mr. Clinton:

We were very concerned that you chose to use plant stress research
as an example of wasteful spending.  In science, plant stress does
NOT refer to the psychological well-being of the plant.  Much plant 
stress research involves plant responses to viral, fungal, bacterial
and insect pathogens.  This work forms the basis of all attempts, in 
both academia and industry, to develop disease-resistant and 
disease-tolerant crops.  At present, the above stresses result in
billions of dollars of crop loss annually.  Additional plant stresses
include frost, drought and salinity.  Research is directed towards
developing crops that can survive in adverse conditions in this
country and in developing nations.

Although we understand that scientific language can be difficult to
interpret, we found this mistake particularly disturbing in the
context of budget cuts.  We hope that you will continue your
committment to the funding of valuable scientific research in this

Members of the Scientific Community

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