The rider (Sec. 735) that would prevent courts from halting illegally planted GM crops (sometimes courts find fault with USDA-approved GM fields) slipped into the Senate Continuing Resolution spending bill HR 933 blind-sided an angry populace last week, giving little time to voice complaint before it was to go through the Senate.
On 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.
Alliance for Natural Health (ANH-USA) reported earlier:
Once the CR passes the Senate, it will move to the House and Senate conference committee to resolve any differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. Since this rider was not in the House version of the bill, there’s a slim possibility the rider will not be in the final duly passed version.
The general consensus on the Hill is that once the Senate acts, the House Appropriations Committee leadership is prepared to take the modified Senate CR directly to the House floor, possibly as early as Thursday. This is why urgent grassroots action is required to ensure that does not happen.
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.
What can we do? Multiple options – everything you need is covered below:
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.
Food Democracy Now! was pivotal in the alerts and created a new form letter to sign 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 or better yet, call your Representative and 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.
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!
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
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