UPDATE (December 4th, 2012): We have a friend in Congress! Not every Member of Congress has sold-out to Monsanto. Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) is circulating a letter to all of his colleagues in Congress opposing Monsanto’s riders. Please ask your Member of Congress to join Rep. DeFazio by signing-on to his “Dear Colleague” letter! We’ve updated the message below with this news, along with news of anti-rgulatory riders attached to the Farm Bill..
Monsanto could get everything it wants for Christmas, unless we convince legislators this week to strip both the 2013 Agriculture Appropriations Bill (H.R. 5973) and the Farm Bill of dangerous riders that would give the biotech industry unprecedented power and immunity from not only an already-weakened review process, but also from federal law.
Here’s what’s at stake. Attached to the Agricultural Appropriations Bill (H.R. 5973) is the “Farmers Assurance Provision” (Section 733), which Monsanto convinced House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Kingston (R-GA) to attach to the original version. The rider, aptly renamed the “Monsanto Protection Act, is nothing more than a sneak attack on American farmers, consumers and the environment. If passed, it would give Monsanto immunity from federal law by allowing the biotech industry to plant genetically modified crops, even if a federal court has ordered the planting be halted until an Environmental Impact Statement is completed.
Federal courts have recognized the threat that inevitable genetic contamination poses to “a farmer’s choice to grow non-genetically engineered crops, or a consumer’s choice to eat non-genetically engineered food”. The “Monsanto Protection Act” would make judicial action to protect farmer and consumer choice toothless.
Thankfully, we have at least one friend in Congress. Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) is circulating a letter to all of his colleagues in Congress opposing the “Monsanto Protection Act.” By signing our action alert below, you can ask your legislators to sign on to Rep. DeFazio’s “Dear Colleague” letter. You’ll also be asking your legislators to oppose the Farm Bill riders.
On the Farm Bill side, Monsanto lobbyists have bought themselves several anti-regulatory riders that would effectively gut the USDA’s ability to regulate the use of genetically engineered organisms (GMOs). The riders would speed up the review and approval process for new GE crops, and authorize the USDA to consider exempting certain GE crops from any review at all.
Now that Congress has returned, both bills are on the agenda. The Agriculture Appropriations could become part of an Omnibus Appropriations bill and the Farm Bill could be included in a deficit-reduction agreement to avoid the “fiscal cliff.” Leaders of the House and Senate are working on this now behind closed doors. This process won’t allow the public to see what Congress is going to do until they’re ready to vote. When they do get to a vote, amendments won’t be allowed — all the more reason to put pressure on Congress to reject Monsanto’s riders now!