"Monsanto Protection Act" sneaks through the senate....piag
I just saw the link to this and another site on a blog I have on my fb called Homestead Survival....I am shocked and yet,not too surprized...more frustrated and feeling betrayed again. Click on the "10 Companies that support GMO labeling" it will show you some good companies and also have another link for 18 companies that don't want the GMO labeling...that's a bummer and I may need to rethink my shopping habits some more...phooey!
‘Monsanto Protection Act' Sneaks Through Senate
An earmark, known as the Monsanto Protection Act, was included in the Senate's continuing resolution bill that passed this week in Washington. It will allow GMO crops to be harvested and sold even if a court has ruled that their patents were obtained illegally. (Photo: Cristian Baitg/Getty Images)
When the Senate passed a budget resolution Wednesday that appears to prevent some of the potential damage from sequestration, the Continuing Resolution included several food- and agriculture-related earmarks.
But one inclusion in particular is especially controversial. The "biotech rider" would require the USDA to approve the harvest and sale of crops from genetically modified seed even if a court has ruled the environmental studies on the crop were inadequate. This aspect of the bill infuriated many sustainable food and agriculture groups, who nicknamed the bill the "Monsanto Protection Act."
If signed into law by President Obama, here's what the Monsanto Protection Act would do: It will allow farmers to plant, harvest and sell genetically engineered plants even if the crops have been ruled upon unfavorably in court. A Center for Food Safety statement called the rider "an unprecedented attack on U.S. judicial review of agency actions" and " a major violation of the separation of powers."
But perhaps more frightening, other critics say, is that the Monsanto Protection Act threatens the health and wellbeing of the public by undermining the federal courts' ability to protect farmers and the environment from potentially hazardous genetically engineered (GE) crops.
The Monsanto Protection Act was slipped into the bill while it sat in the Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by Maryland Democrat Barbara Mikulski. According to the Center for Food Safety, the committee held no hearings on this controversial biotech rider and many Democrats were unaware of its presence in the larger bill.
"In this hidden backroom deal, Senator Mikulski turned her back on consumer, environmental, and farmer protection in favor of corporate welfare for biotech companies such as Monsanto," Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety, said in a statement. "This abuse of power is not the kind of leadership the public has come to expect from Senator Mikulski or the Democrat Majority in the Senate."
Food Democracy Now is calling on concerned citizens to call Congress and petition President Obama to veto the Monsanto Protection Act by removing Section 735 from the Continuing Resolution bill.
More than 100 of the nation's top organizations and businesses have come out against the Monsanto Protection Act, including the National Farmers Union, American Civil Liberties Union, Sierra Club, Environmental Working Group, Stonyfield Farm, Nature's Path, Consumers Union, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, and Public Citizen
Then here's the other link...
'Monsanto Protection Act' slips silently through US Congress
Edited time: March 26, 2013 11:45
The US House of Representatives quietly passed a last-minute addition to the Agricultural Appropriations Bill for 2013 last week - including a provision protecting genetically modified seeds from litigation in the face of health risks.
The rider, which is officially known as the Farmer Assurance Provision, has been derided by opponents of biotech lobbying as the "Monsanto Protection Act," as it would strip federal courts of the authority to immediately halt the planting and sale of genetically modified (GMO) seed crop regardless of any consumer health concerns.
The provision, also decried as a "biotech rider," should have gone through the Agricultural or Judiciary Committees for review. Instead, no hearings were held, and the piece was evidently unknown to most Democrats (who hold the majority in the Senate) prior to its approval as part of HR 993, the short-term funding bill that was approved to avoid a federal government shutdown.
Senator John Tester (D-MT) proved to be the lone dissenter to the so-called Monsanto Protection Act, though his proposed amendment to strip the rider from the bill was never put to a vote.
As the US legal system functions today, and largely as a result of prior lawsuits, the USDA is required to complete environmental impact statements (EIS) 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.
Previously discovered pathogens in Monsanto's Roundup Ready corn and soy are suspected of causing infertility in livestock and to impact the health of plants.
So, just how much of a victory is this for biotech companies like Monsanto? Critics are thus far alarmed by the very way in which the provision made it through Congress -- the rider was introduced anonymously as the larger bill progressed through the Senate Appropriations Committee. Now, groups like the Center for Food Safety are holding Senator Mikulski (D-MD), chairman of that committee, to task and lobbing accusations of a "backroom deal" with the biotech industry.
As the Washington Times points out, the provision's success is viewed by many as a victory by companies like Syngenta Corp, Cargill, Monsanto and affiliated PACs that have donated $7.5 million to members of Congress since 2009, and $372,000 to members of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
It remains unclear whether the bill's six-month expiration means that the provision will be short-lived. Regardless, Food Democracy Now has begun a campaign calling on US President Barack Obama to veto the Continuing Resolution spending bill, which seems unlikely as HR 933 includes a sweeping amount of government funding.