MONSANTO PROTECTION ACT or “Biotec Rider”

What did Obama sign?

Definitely there is no Monsanto Protection Act. What there is to benefit Monsanto can be found in Sec 735 of a much larger US federal appropriations bill. Want to see it? Look below for the excerpt or check out the original.

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113hr933enr/pdf/BILLS-113hr933enr.pdf

Ok. Hard to see what Sec 735 means. Essentially, even if the courts decide that a genetically engineered crop is dangerous to the public or the environment, the court can no longer order Monsanto (or any other company) to stop planting the crops

Here’s an interpretation by one of the few small farm legislators in the US Congress.

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mon.), whose organic family farm makes him the Senate’s only working farmer, delivered a scathing speech against the rider (735) on the Senate floor Wednesday before sponsoring an amendment that would nullify it. “Not only does this ignore the Constitution’s idea of separation of powers, but it also lets genetically-modified crops take hold across the country—even when a judge finds it violates the law,” he declared.

In his remarks, Tester stressed that the source of the rider is murky—there’s no way to find out which senator inserted it. “I don’t know who authored this provision,”  he said. “Maybe someone in Washington knows, but no one is willing to put their name to it. And that’s a shame.” I put calls into the offices of a couple of potential suspects, and got nowhere.

Tester also noted that yet another agribiz-friendly provision made it into the bill, one that would give “enormous market power to America’s three largest meatpacking corporations while stiffing family farmers and ranchers.” The provision, explained in more detail on the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition blog, would override previous legislation and denies poultry and livestock producers the benefit of the the Packers and Stockyards Act, which seeks to give farmers a fair shake against the might of the few companies that dominate meat processing and can use their market power to shape the price they pay for hogs, steers, etc.. “The additional rider language is disastrous for producers and sets a terrible precedent for future appropriations bills,”  NSAC’s blog states. The Montana senator has introduced a separate amendment that would nullify this provision as well.

SECTION 735

SEC. 735. In the event that a determination of non-
4 regulated status made pursuant to section 411 of the
5 Plant Protection Act is or has been invalidated or vacated,
6 the Secretary of Agriculture shall, notwithstanding any
7 other provision of law, upon request by a farmer, grower,
8 farm operator, or producer, immediately grant temporary
9 permit(s) or temporary deregulation in part, subject to
10 necessary and appropriate conditions consistent with sec-
11 tion 411(a) or 412(c) of the Plant Protection Act, which
12 interim conditions shall authorize the movement, introduc-
13 tion, continued cultivation, commercialization and other
14 specifically enumerated activities and requirements, in-
15 cluding measures designed to mitigate or minimize poten-
16 tial adverse environmental effects, if any, relevant to the
17 Secretary’s evaluation of the petition for non-regulated
18 status, while ensuring that growers or other users are able
19 to move, plant, cultivate, introduce into commerce and
20 carry out other authorized activities in a timely manner:
21 Provided, That all such conditions shall be applicable only
22 for the interim period necessary for the Secretary to com-
23 plete any required analyses or consultations related to the
24 petition for non-regulated status: Provided further, That
25 nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting the 81
U:\2013REPT\CONF\March CR\Bills\DIV A–AG1MAR CR T7.xml [file 8 of
29]
SEN. APPRO.
1 Secretary’s authority under section 411, 412 and 414 of
2 the Plant Protection Act.

This had been turned down earlier. As Mother Jones explains:

In what became known as the biotech rider, the provision would have allowed the planting of genetically modified crop varieties even if a federal judge rules that they have been approved by the USDA improperly—as happened, for example, in 2010, when a federal judge issued an injunction against the planting of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready sugar beets on the grounds that the USDA had approved them without a substantial environmental review.

Reference: http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2013/03/yet-again-agribiz-sneaks-friendly-riders-unrelated-bill

The best general summary I have found of what and why Monsanto and others are spending so much time and money on lobbying the US Congress is also in Mother Jones.

http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2012/07/gmo-industry-flexes-its-muscles-capitol-hill

What is enough: 80,000 chemicals? 83,000 chemicals?

Ravi Nadu is concerned about the more than 80,00 man-made chemicals that now circulate around the Earth. This is over and above the sanctioned  role of Monsanto contaminants as shown in battles such as the current attempt to introduce GMO alfalfa (http://oapf.saskorganic.com/) and the destructive introduction of GMO canola such that Canadian farmers cannot longer grow organic canola.

The complexity of the introduction of all these chemicals and combinations of chemicals into the world ecosystem is what concerns Nadu and should concern us. We do not understand what is going on nor do we have any kind of overview.

porkers in forest

CRC Care is funded through the Australian Government. 

  • Originally funded for a seven-year term, in 2010 CRC CARE applied for and received an additional nine years of funding through the CRC Program. CRC CARE’s second term commenced on 1 July 2011, having been granted $29 million federal funding in addition to partner contributions. This second term will take CRC CARE through to 2020.
  • CRC CARE’s approach brings together Australian universities with state and Commonwealth agencies and regulatory authorities, mining, petroleum and agricultural industries, venture capitalists, environment consultants and suppliers to work collaboratively on vital contamination issues and sites in Australia and the region. The strength of CRC CARE is in this collaborative approach with industry and government.

The development of an increasingly integrated global economy, one that has seen the increase of free trade, free flow of capital, and which has tapped cheaper foreign labor markets has offered huge potential profits for businesses and even nations. But it could come at a significant cost. With the rise of a global economy, or globalization, comes the rise of the risk of global contamination.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has long noted contaminated water remains a problem, with around 1.1 billion people globally who do not have access to improved water supply sources, while some 2.4 billion people have no access to any type of improved sanitation facility.

Yet water is just one part of the reported problem.

According to the CRC for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CRC CARE) noted some 83,000 man-made chemicals now circulate around the Earth. These are in the water, soil, air, wildlife, food and even in manufactured goods. The chemicals are even in people.

All this poses a potential hazard to human and environmental health, according to Professor Ravi Naidu at the University of South Australia (UNISA). Naidu, who has been a research scientist in the fields of environmental contaminants, toxicology, bioavailability and remediation for over 20 years, recently returned from the United States where he was admitted as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for “efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications [which] are scientifically or socially distinguished.”

He was also awarded the Soil Science Society of America’s prestigious 2012 International Soil Science Award last December.

On Monday CRC CARE announced Australia is prepared to take a world lead in actually investigating this earth system contamination, with an emphasis on soil contagions.

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