Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) will soon push an amendment to the upcoming farm bill that would reveal the so-called “Monsanto Protection Act.”
The act was a rider attached anonymously to a spending bill that sailed easily through Congress in March. The legislation allows Monsanto and other companies to continue selling genetically modified seeds, even if they have been blocked by a court from doing so.
The Monsanto Protection Act’s passage in Congress with no debate was frustrating to GMO opponents, especially after it was signed into law by President Barack Obama.
Merkley has promised to press for a floor vote on his repeal amendment when the farm bill’s debate begins next week. Recently, federal courts have ruled that the US Department of Agriculture failed to consider the potential harm some genetically engineered crops may have.
The court added that the department may have acted too quickly when it came to approving the GMO sales. In response, the industry fought back with the farm bill rider, which prevents the enforcement of court rulings.
The so-called Monsanto Protection Act is Section 735 of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013. Within the nearly 600-page bill, Section 735 states that biotech companies who experiment with genetically engineered and genetically modified crops can continue selling them, even if legal action has been taken against them.
Before the bill was passed in March, dozens of farmers wrote the House of Representatives, saying:
“The provision would strip federal courts of the authority to halt the sale and planting of an illegal, potentially hazardous GE crop while the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) assesses these potential hazards.”
Meanwhile, Monsanto has called the act “a positive step to ensure US farmers and our food chain are shielded from supply disruptions caused by litigation over procedural issues unrelated to sound science or the safety of biotech crops.” Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) stated earlier this year that he co-authored the Monsanto Protection act, along with the biotech company.
But the act has caused widespread frustration. As a result, demonstrations against Monsanto are scheduled in 36 countries on six continents later this month.
Do you think the Monsanto Protection Act, Section 735, should be repealed?