Posts Tagged ‘Monsanto’

‘Monsanto Protection Act’ slips silently through US Congress

Saturday, May 18th, 2013

The future approaching

– This was perhaps for me the last straw with President Obama.   That he signed this bill is unforgivable and deeply inconsistent with the values I’d hoped he represented.

Monsanto represents what is so deeply disquieting about the gathering ascendancy of corporate power and money over governmental processes which are suppose to act in and for the good of a nation’s people.

– dennis

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The US House of Representatives quietly passed a last-minute addition to the Agricultural Appropriations Bill for 2013 last week – including a provision protecting genetically modified seeds from litigation in the face of health risks.

The rider, which is officially known as the Farmer Assurance Provision, has been derided by opponents of biotech lobbying as the “Monsanto Protection Act,” as it would strip federal courts of the authority to immediately halt the planting and sale of genetically modified (GMO) seed crop regardless of any consumer health concerns.

The provision, also decried as a “biotech rider,” should have gone through the Agricultural or Judiciary Committees for review. Instead, no hearings were held, and the piece was evidently unknown to most Democrats (who hold the majority in the Senate) prior to its approval as part of HR 993, the short-term funding bill that was approved to avoid a federal government shutdown.

Senator John Tester (D-MT) proved to be the lone dissenter to the so-called Monsanto Protection Act, though his proposed amendment to strip the rider from the bill was never put to a vote.

As the US legal system functions today, and largely as a result of prior lawsuits, the USDA is required to complete environmental impact statements (EIS) 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.

The reviews have been the focus of heated debate between food safety advocacy groups and the biotech industry in the past. In December of 2009, for example, Food Democracy Now collected signatures during the EIS commenting period in a bid to prevent the approval of Monsanto’s GMO alfalfa, which many feared would contaminate organic feed used by dairy farmers; it was approved regardless.

Previously discovered pathogens in Monsanto’s Roundup Ready corn and soy are suspected of causing infertility in livestock and to impact the health of plants.

So, just how much of a victory is this for biotech companies like Monsanto? Critics are thus far alarmed by the very way in which the provision made it through Congress — the rider was introduced anonymously as the larger bill progressed through the Senate Appropriations Committee. Now, groups like the Center for Food Safety are holding Senator Mikulski (D-MD), chairman of that committee, to task and lobbing accusations of a “backroom deal” with the biotech industry.

– more…


Monsanto Threatens Biodiversity

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

The genetically modified MON810 maize seed has just been banned. Marie-Monique Robin draws an alarming portrait of Monsanto, the firm that invented it.

“You should carry out an investigation into Monsanto. We all need to know the truth about this American multinational, seeing that it is laying hands on the world’s seeds, and therefore on the world’s food.” The request came from an Indian farmer; it did not fall on deaf ears, for the journalist nearby was Marie-Monique Robin, who was an experienced investigative reporter and had already made several documentaries on biodiversity and what threatens it. The name was familiar to her: a North-American multinational with a frightful record, one of the industrial age’s worst polluters, world leader on the GM plants market, which threatens to grow into a monopoly that will jeopardize food safety the world over.
Marie-Monique Robin plunged into the investigation and spent days and nights on the internet. Her first surprise was to find that “Everything was there, and had been there, before our very eyes, for quite a long time. The company has been so often taken to court that lots of its in-house data are now de-classified and available on line. Then I went to check the data in the field.”

For three years the journalist travelled the world, all over South and North America, Europe, and Asia. She meticulously put the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together. Although Monsanto’s chief executives refused to be interviewed, she made a point of giving the company’s viewpoint through written and video records. Nicolas Hulot makes this clear in the preface: “Her book is no pamphlet based on fantasies and gossip. It brings to light a dreadful reality.” The company’s story as told by Marie-Monique Robin is instructive indeed. Orwell himself would have done no better.