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Published On: Thu, Sep 12th, 2013

‘The Monsanto Protection Act’ moves ahead in Congress, protecting the biotech company from lawsuits

House Republicans shielded the Monsanto company from penalty as they included an extension of the so-called Monsanto Protection Act in the spending bill designed to avert a government shutdown, according to text of the legislation released Wednesday by House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.).

The Monsanto measure was originally enacted into law in March by being slipped into the previous spending resolution, which is now set to expire.

public inspection of Monsanto plant in NetherlandsMonsanto, Cargill and others are therefore protected from the threats of lawsuits and prevents the federal courts from forcing an end to the sale of GMO (genetically-modified organism) even if the genetically-engineered product causes damaging health effects.

The current three-month extension is part of the short-term FY14 Continuing Resolution spending bill.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) has waged a campaign against the measure and told HuffPost he plans to fight its reenactment.

“The proposed House continuing resolution includes an extension of the Monsanto Protection Act, a secret rider slipped into a must-pass spending bill earlier this year,” Merkley said. “I will fight the House’s efforts to extend this special interest loophole that nullifies court orders that are protecting farmers, the environment, and public health.”

The Center for Food Safety, a vocal opponent of the rider, released a statement expressing dismay that the measure once again avoided proper legislative process while usurping the power to challenge GMO products in court.

“The rider represents an unprecedented attack on US judicial review, which is an essential element of US law and provides a critical check on government decisions that may negatively impact human health, the environment or livelihoods,”  they wrote. “This also raises potential jurisdictional concerns with the Senate Agriculture and Judiciary Committees that merited hearings by the Committees before its consideration.”

Following the original vote in March, President Barack Obama signed the provision into law as part of larger legislation to avoid a government shutdown. Rallies took place worldwide in May protesting the clandestine effort to protect the powerful companies from judicial scrutiny.

“It is extremely disappointing to see the damaging ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ policy rider extended in the House spending bill,” said Colin O’Neil, director of government affairs for Center for Food Safety. “Hundreds of thousands of Americans called their elected officials to voice their frustration and disappointment over the inclusion of ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ this past spring. Its inclusion is a slap in the face to the American public and our justice system.”

Largely as a result of prior lawsuits, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is required to complete environmental impact statements (EIS) to assess risk 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.

 

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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