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Bulgaria bans genetically modified crops

SOFIA, Bulgaria, March 18 (UPI) -- The cultivation of genetically modified crops was all but banned by the Bulgarian parliament in Sofia Thursday.

The bill was passed after days of debate in which the environmental lobby won by creating so many restrictions, it is now nearly impossible to plant modified crops, the Sofia News Agency reported.

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Modified crops will not be allowed to be grown within 20 miles of already widely protected areas, within seven miles of bee hives or within four miles of organic farmland, the report said.

One of the strongest proponents of the ban was a right-leaning member of Parliament, Lachezar Toshev of the Blue Party, the report said.

"Environmentalists need not worry -- I'm completely satisfied, because the law was made more rigorous, strengthening and protecting our traditional production and biodiversity," Toshev told reporters after the vote.

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