Monsanto Protection Act Protects GMO Companies From Litigation Even If At-Fault

by Colonel on March 28, 2013

“Slipped into the Agricultural Appropriations Bill, which passed through Congress last week, was a small provision that’s a big deal for Monsanto and its opponents. The provision protects genetically modified seeds from litigation in the face of health risks and has thus been dubbed the “Monsanto Protection Act” by activists who oppose the biotech giant. President Barack Obama signed the spending bill, including the provision, into law on Tuesday.

Not only has anger been directed at the Monsanto Protection Act’s content, but the way in which the provision was passed through Congress without appropriate review by the Agricultural or Judiciary Committees. The biotech rider instead was introduced anonymously as the larger bill progressed — little wonder food activists are accusing lobbyists and Congress members of backroom dealings.

” — Natasha Lennard, Copyright 2013 Salon Media Group Inc.

“Anger is growing against President Barack Obama the day after he signed into law a spending bill that included a provision opponents have dubbed the “Monsanto Protection Act.”

But the “Monsanto Protection Act” — referred to as the “Farmer Assurance Provision” by its supporters — removes that course of action, and those who are angry at Obama for signing the bill are also incensed with Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D- Md., who is accused of failing to give the amendment that inserted the language a proper hearing.

A number of the provision’s vocal opponents allege that it was quietly inserted while the bill was still in the Senate Appropriations Committee, which Mikulski chairs, and that her committee did not hold any hearings on its language. They say many Democratic members who voted for the bill were unaware.

” — Connor Adams Sheets, Copyright 2013 IBT Media Inc.

“1.) The “Monsanto Protection Act” effectively bars federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of controversial genetically modified (aka GMO) or genetically engineered (GE) seeds, no matter what health issues may arise concerning GMOs in the future. The advent of genetically modified seeds — which has been driven by the massive Monsanto Company – and their exploding use in farms across America came on fast and has proved a huge boon for Monsanto’s profits.

But many anti-GMO folks argue there have not been enough studies into the potential health risks of this new class of crop. Well, now it appears that even if those studies are completed and they end up revealing severe adverse health effects related to the consumption of genetically modified foods, the courts will have no ability to stop the spread of the seeds and the crops they bear.

2.) The provision’s language was apparently written in collusion with Monsanto. Lawmakers and companies working together to craft legislation is by no means a rare occurrence in this day and age. But the fact that Sen. Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, actually worked with Monsanto on a provision that in effect allows them to keep selling seeds, which can then go on to be planted, even if it is found to be harmful to consumers, is stunning.

3.) Many members of Congress were apparently unaware that the “Monsanto Protection Act” even existed within the bill they were voting on.

4.) The President did nothing to stop it, either. On Tuesday, Obama signed HR 933 while the rest of the nation was fixated on gay marriage, as the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument concerning California’s Proposition 8.

5.) It sets a terrible precedent. Though it will only remain in effect for six months until the government finds another way to fund its operations, the message it sends is that corporations can get around consumer safety protections if they get Congress on their side. Furthermore, it sets a precedent that suggests that court challenges are a privilege, not a right.

” — Connor Adams Sheets, Copyright 2013 IBT Media Inc.

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