Update: March 27th, 2013. Last night president Barack Obama signed the ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ into law, betraying the American public as well as his word on GMO’s.
From Amanda Brodhagen from Farm.com:
“The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a last-minute amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations Bill (HR933) – a provision that would protect genetically modified seeds (GMOs) from litigation over health risks. It is known as the Senate’s continuing resolution bill, which provides short-term funding to the federal government until the end of the fiscal year. The vote was 318 to 109 in favour of passing the Bill.
Opponents have dubbed it the “Monsanto Protection Act,” since the biotech rider would strip the federal courts authority to stop GMO seed crops from being grown – even if there is consumer health concerns.
The bill has a six-month expiration life and it remains unknown if this provision will be short-lived or if it will be extended.
Opponents to the bill, led by the group Food Democracy Now, have launched a campaign calling on President Barack Obama to veto the Continuing Resolution spending bill, but their request will not likely succeed, since the bill does include a significant amount of government funding. ” [Farm.com]
This legislation gives Monsanto and agro-chemical firms unprecedented influence over the judicial system:
“The so-called ‘biotech rider’ was included in budget legislation that won final approval from the House, avoiding a shutdown of the federal government on March 27, when the current funding was set to expire. The provision was slipped into the legislation anonymously and explicitly grants the U.S. Department of Agriculture the authority to override a judicial ruling stopping the planting of a genetically modified crop.
“If leadership in Washington, D.C. can betray the public behind closed doors, it’s time that the American public gain the right to transparency about what they are eating and feeding their families every day.” [Inquisitr]
Farmers are already protesting at the White House.
Read yesterday’s action alert from, March 26th, 2013:
A rider (Sec. 735) that would prevent courts from halting illegally planted GM crops (sometimes courts find fault with USDA-approved GM fields) was slipped into the Senate Continuing Resolution spending bill HR 933. It blind-sided an angry populace last week, giving little time to voice complaint before it was to go through the Senate.
Last Wednesday morning, HR 933 passed with the new rider dubbed by activists as the Monsanto Protection Act therein. The rider has nothing to do with proposed government spending to keep it running for the next six months. But it is unknown whether this incongruous rider will last six months or permanently.
According to GovTrack.us, the only thing left before the bill becomes law is the President’s signature. Food Democracy Now! is asking you to join the more than 200,000 people who used their forms to contact Obama and Congress in an effort to strip the rider. This is not a petition. And those are only the people who used their site – countless other organizations alerted activists in the last two weeks.
If this “must-pass” bill gets signed into law, it would be the point of no return for unhindered Monsanto havoc. They would trump federal court power and courts would not be able to use authority to stop sales or planting of any illegal or hazardous genetically modified crops. Strange for biotech giants to want this rider, as the USDA already gives them unheeded approval without safety testing of their crops. Rider (Sec. 735) clinches Monsanto power – if the USDA or court system wants to halt GM crops or revoke approval, they cannot. It’s also an open backdoor to whisk in future approvals.
This action is detrimental to farmers who want to fight against Monsanto’s patent infringement lawsuits, those for the preservation of organic crops against GM contamination, and our export economy, as so many other countries have adopted GM bans. This Monsanto-driven rider is simply an industry ploy to continue to plant GM crops even when a court of law has found they were approved illegally – But it’s being voted on urgently.
Food Democracy Now! was pivotal in the alerts and created a new form letter in the following link here:
The Monsanto Protection Act could pass as early as next week and we need your help today. Click here to stop the Monsanto Protection Act as it heads to President Obama and tell your member of Congress to stand up for your rights and the Constitution!
- If you don’t like the pre-formatted letters, then consider using them as a guide and write your own.
- Better yet, respectfully contact the White House.
- Follow this link to enter your info and find your reps, senators, and contact the White House – guided info is there to help with your phone call.
- Or, you can call the Congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
- To reach the White House to call President Barack Obama’s line: (202) 456-1111.
- Remember that it is activists who call it the Monsanto Protection Act – it’s Section 735 of HR 933 that we want stripped
This is not a petition and this is not ‘slacktivism.’ Sneaky, hidden riders that are quickly voted through leave us few options and little time. But you can lend your voice. Whether it passes or not, that’s another bridge to cross with other actions awaiting. The political and corporate biotech leaders are doing very little to gain back trust, but we can let them know we are watching, voting, and have had enough.
This could be our last chance to stop Monsanto from corporate rule and full immunity. Tell President Obama here to block Sec 735, and Contact your Member of Congress to express your outrage at granting a blank check for Monsanto – Every voice counts!
Senator Jon Tester (an organic farmer), joined by Senators Boxer, Gillibrand and Leahy introduced an amendment (#74) to strike the dangerous rider from the CR. You can still voice your support for reviewing the Tester amendment – reportedly ignored and not added when this bill passed the Senate. Even if the Tester amendment voting is over with – make your opinion known to your Congress people, Obama, and let your Senators know your disappointment. It couldn’t be easier with pre-formatted letters that go directly to your Senators.
Food Democracy Now! reports that there are 13 crops waiting for approval. The USDA is known for sweeping in approvals, letting Monsanto do their own safety evaluations, and taking their word. And,
The floodgates are literally open for Monsanto, DuPont and Dow Chemical’s new GMO crops that are resistant to more toxic chemicals like 2,4-D, Agent Orange and dicamba that will replace failing Roundup Ready GMO crops.
According to legal experts, this provision would create a precedent-setting limitation on judicial review and is a dangerous assault on fundamental federal and judicial safeguards needed to protect America’s farmers, citizens and the environment from the wanton approval of Monsanto’s new GMO crops.
Don’t forget to thank the Senators who stood up and supported the Tester amendment if you live in Montana, California, New York, Vermont, Alaska or Connecticut – Senator Tester and his co-sponsors Senators Boxer, Gillibrand, Leahy, Begich and Blumenthal introduced the amendment to strip Section 735 from the bill.
Previous report from Food Democracy Now!:
Clearly Monsanto and the biotech industry are getting desperate and want to try an end run around a growing movement of farmers and citizens who are rejecting their products and calling for GMO labeling in an effort to make sure their new GMO crops can evade any serious scientific or regulatory review.
In classic form, the biotech industry has cleverly hidden their toxic plan under the deceptive title of a “Farmer Assurance Provision” (Sec. 735). In truth, the “Monsanto Protection Act” would allow the biotech industry to continue to flout American legal precedence and violate the constitutional separation of powers set forth by our Founding Fathers.
In short, the “Farmer Assurance Provision” is the greatest threat to farmers’ and citizens’ rights that Monsanto and the biotech industry has ever devised and it must be stopped – today!
This current rider is a response to the successful lawsuits that farmers have filed to prevent the sale, distribution and cultivation of GMO sugarbeets and GMO alfalfa, both of which were forced to stop from being planted while the USDA finalized full environment reviews.
Now, the new provision included in the Senate Continuing Resolution spending bill will allow biotech seed and chemical companies to openly skirt even minimal protections of human health and environmental concerns.
We need your help to make sure your Senator demands that Appropriations Chairman Mikulski pulls this dangerous and unconstitutional rider, and support any amendment that would strike the biotech rider from the new Continuing Resolution.
Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund is also alerting of another rider and urging contact to Senators to oppose the Monsanto rider and support of the Tester Amendments:
ANTI-COMPETITIVE RIDER (Section 742) – Livestock & Poultry Impact
The anti-competitive rider (section 742) deals with a law from the 1920s, the Packers and Stockyards Act (“PSA”), which was intended to provide protections against anti-competitive behavior in the livestock and poultry industries. In essence, the PSA was the Sherman Antitrust Act for agriculture. Although the PSA is a good statute, the USDA never properly implemented it. And that failure over the years has allowed large corporations to practice a variety of abusive, unfair, and deceptive practices that undermine the free market.
A coalition of family farmer, independent rancher, and consumer groups fought for a provision in the 2008 Farm Bill directing the USDA to issue implementing regulations under the PSA. And we won. But the fight wasn’t over. The big meatpackers managed to hamstring many of the proposed regulations. And now they want to completely eliminate the few protections we did get, leaving the meatpackers free to continue their abusive practices that hurt farmers.
‘Monsanto Protection Act’ would keep GMO crops in the ground during legal battles, Daily Grist, June 29, 2012
This article originally appeared at Activist Post, the source for alternative news and information.
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