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‘Monsanto Protection Act’ quietly extended by Congress

Published time: September 12, 2013 02:23
Edited time: September 13, 2013 10:37
AFP Photo / Nicholas Kamm

AFP Photo / Nicholas Kamm

A budget provision protecting genetically-modified seeds from litigation in the face of health risks was extended for three months in an approved US House of Representatives’ spending bill on Tuesday evening.

Called “The Monsanto Protection Act” by opponents, the budget rider shields biotech behemoths like Monsanto, Cargill and others from the threat of lawsuits and bars federal courts from intervening to force an end to the sale of a GMO (genetically-modified organism) even if the genetically-engineered product causes damaging health effects.

The biotech rider first made news in March when it was a last-minute addition to the successfully-passed House Agriculture Appropriations Bill for 2013, a short-term funding bill that was approved to avoid a federal government shutdown.

The current three-month extension is part of the short-term FY14 Continuing Resolution spending bill.

The Center for Food Safety, a vocal opponent of the rider, released a statement expressing dismay that the measure once again avoided proper legislative process while usurping the power to challenge GMO products in court.

“The rider represents an unprecedented attack on US judicial review, which is an essential element of US law and provides a critical check on government decisions that may negatively impact human health, the environment or livelihoods,”  they wrote. “This also raises potential jurisdictional concerns with the Senate Agriculture and Judiciary Committees that merited hearings by the Committees before its consideration.”

Following the original vote in March, President Barack Obama signed the provision into law as part of larger legislation to avoid a government shutdown. Rallies took place worldwide in May protesting the clandestine effort to protect the powerful companies from judicial scrutiny.

“It is extremely disappointing to see the damaging ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ policy rider extended in the House spending bill,” said Colin O’Neil, director of government affairs for Center for Food Safety. “Hundreds of thousands of Americans called their elected officials to voice their frustration and disappointment over the inclusion of ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ this past spring. Its inclusion is a slap in the face to the American public and our justice system.”

Largely as a result of prior lawsuits, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is required to complete environmental impact statements (EIS) to assess risk prior to both the planting and sale of GMO crops. The extent and effectiveness to which the USDA exercises this rule is in itself a source of serious dispute.

The reviews have been the focus of heated debate between food safety advocacy groups and the biotech industry in the past. In December of 2009, for example, Food Democracy Now collected signatures during the EIS commenting period in a bid to prevent the approval of Monsanto’s GMO alfalfa, which many feared would contaminate organic feed used by dairy farmers; it was approved regardless.

The biotech rider “could override any court-mandated caution and could instead allow continued planting.  Further, it forces USDA to approve permits for such continued planting immediately, putting industry completely in charge by allowing for a ‘back door approval’ mechanism,” the Center for Food Safety said.

Comments (28)

 

M.e. Jones 16.09.2013 20:37

I think she was referring to the misleading title

...&q uot;No body said it was passed, the post isn't about it getting passed it's about it being resurrected and up for vote again. The government is setting aside provisions for it in the case that it does in fact get passed. Pay closer attention next time hun"



 

Corinne Chandler 16.09.2013 04:44

Jennifer Briney 13.09.2013 15:48

This is not true and this post should be deleted. The 2014 Continuing Resolution was pulled from the floor on September 11th. The House did NOT pass an extension of the Monsanto Protection Act (yet) as it has not even come up for a vote.

  


No body said it was passed, the post isn't about it getting passed it's about it being resurrected and up for vote again. The government is setting aside provisions for it in the case that it does in fact get passed. Pay closer attention next time hun.

 

Richard Einstein 13.09.2013 18:36

Until the cockroaches of the Jew World Order are arrested and hung for their crimes we will continue to be poisoned, slaughtered and robbed blind.

These cockroaches consist of the Rothschild Mafia, AIPAC, Federal Reserve, Israel, Goldman Sachs and other criminal banks.

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