The good news is that the FDA is finally letting science trump politics. As Entine points out, however, there is much more at stake than the fate of a single food product: “North America has become a dead zone” for investment in genetically enhanced animals, due to the strangling effects of political red tape.

James Murray of the University of California at Davis recently developed a goat that produces milk with a special protein that prevents diarrhea—an advance that could save lives in the developing world, especially among children. Yet as Entine reports, Murray has moved his research to Brazil. “When you don’t have a regulatory pathway forward and the government doesn’t support research in this area, what company will invest in this field?” he asked. “None.”

Traditionally, the United States has led the world in biotechnology regulatory approval. If GM salmon suffers new setbacks, however, we’ll fall further behind—at a time when China is investing hundreds of millions of dollars into transgenic animals.

During the comment period, Americans should say they believe in biotechnology and want more of it.

Since the national elections, Washington has focused almost exclusively on debt and taxes. Yet the fiscal cliff isn’t our only challenge: We’re also confronted by a kind of regulatory waterfall, in which the rushing rapids of politics smash great ideas and proven concepts.

GM salmon may survive, despite the long and unnecessary delays. The next innovation may not be so lucky.

Ted Sheely raises lettuce, cotton, tomatoes, wheat, pistachios, wine grapes and garlic on a family farm in the California San Joaquin Valley. Ted and his sons own Rainbow King Lodge on Lake Iliamna, Alaska.  He volunteers as a board member of Truth About Trade & Technology (www.truthabouttrade.org)