Monsanto Protection Act Snuck Into Law During #DOMA Debate

While everyone this week has been hyper focused on the SCOTUS hearings on the Defense of Marriage Act, it seems an interesting provision was quietly slipped into the Agricultural Appropriations Bill, which passed through Congress last week. Monsanto Company is a group that produces genetically modified organisms or GMO’s and genetically engineered seeds and crops (GE). With the new provision that was snuck into the bill, federal courts are effectively barred from being able to cease sales or planting of these controversial GMO’s, despite any future health issues that may arise.

Understandably, many food and public safety advocates, as well as independent farmers are outraged by the signing of the bill, despite protests outside the White House and a petition by food advocacy group Food Democracy Now.

(International Business Times) “This provision is simply an industry ploy to continue to sell genetically engineered seeds even when a court of law has found they were approved by USDA illegally,” the petition stated. “It is unnecessary and an unprecedented attack on U.S. judicial review. Congress should not be meddling with the judicial review process based solely on the special interest of a handful of companies.”

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland), the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has received stern criticism due to the fact that there were no hearings on the bill defining it’s language. Because of that, many Senators were unaware of the new provisions. Andrew Kimbrell, the executive director of the Center for Food Safety, in a recent statement went as far to say this was a “hidden backroom deal” and that Mikulski “turned her back on consumer, environmental and farmer protection in favor of corporate welfare for biotech companies such as Monsanto.”

Will there be further outcry regarding the passage of this bill or will the country continue to be distracted.

2 Comments

  1. March 28, 2013  12:22 pm by Marc Reply

    The provision in the bill doesn't bar litigation over GMOs; riders in appropriations bills only affect federal agencies. This rider directs the Secretary of Agriculture to allow farmers to continue planting GMOs in the event of litigation. Anti-GMO activists are filing frivolous legal challenges against GMO crops and slowing down Dept. of Ag approval for them. This simply says that unless these cases are successful, the government can proceed with allowing farmers to plant already approved seeds.

    The truly conservative position on this issue is that the federal government shouldn't be in the business of approving or disapproving of what seeds farmers plant. Activists are manipulating the regulatory system to impede the free market and using frivolous lawsuits (as we saw with the gun industry) in an attempt to enact a political agenda through the backdoor.

    The rider is only in effect until the new fiscal year begins in October. It strikes me as a common sense provision -- let farmers plant seeds unless a court determines they are dangerous.

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