In a major victory for consumers, the senate has defeated a controversial piece of legislation that had been dubbed "the Monsanto Protection Act."
The legislation, officially called "the Farmers Assurance Provision," had stated that if a biotech or GMO crop was approved but the courts later reversed that approval, the Secretary of Agriculture would have to allow the temporary planting of it, even if environmental concerns were an issue.
Critics said the legislation would have shielded biotech companies like Monsanto from lawsuits against their genetically modified seeds and crops, even if negative impact was proven to have resulted from them.
The act originally passed because it was hidden in a spending bill that was put together to keep the government running until the end of the fiscal year, September 30.
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) led democratic senators in drafting legislation that would eliminate that part of the legislation. His initials attempts at an amendment were blocked and house republicans included the same legislation to protect Monsanto in their budget extension that would take effect after September 30. Merkley and other senate democrats responded with a draft stopgap government funding bill that passed, which will explicitly end the Monsanto Protection Act as of September 30.
This is a victory for all those who think special interests shouldn't get special deals. This secret rider, which was slipped into a must-pass spending bill earlier this year, instructed the Secretary of Agriculture to allow GMO crops to be cultivated and sold even when our courts had found they posed a potential risk to farmers of nearby crops, the environment, and human health. I applaud the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have worked hard to end this diabolical provision.
Common Dreams reports:
The Monsanto Protection Act (section 735), a provision that circumvents court authority to stop the planting and cultivation of GMO crops, was set to expire at the end of September, but its inclusion in Continuing Resolution (HJ.Res.59) by House Republicans, which passed by a vote of 230-189, would have kept the provision as law through the end of the year. But last night, Senator Mikulski, responding to the tens of thousands of phone calls from outraged citizens around the country, announced she would remove the Monsanto Protection Act from the Senate's version of the continuing resolution.
This is a wonderful example of the power of the people to make a difference in our government's policies.
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