"Monsanto Protection Act" About to Expire, Won't Return Thanks to Public Outrage
This bit of legislation -- officially called "the Farmers Assurance Provision" -- stated that if a biotech or GMO crop has been approved but the courts then subsequently reverse that approval, the Secretary of Agriculture must allow the temporary planting of it, even if environmental concerns are an issue. Critics said this would have shielded biotech companies from lawsuits against their GM seeds and crops, even if negative impact had resulted from them.
The act passed largely because it was deeply nestled into a spending bill that was put together to keep the government running until the end of the fiscal year, September 30.
So, that act is about to expire at the end of the month. An it looks like it won't be renewed, thanks to popular outrage.
See Also: Obama Signs Monsanto Protection Act
There's a new bill, a.k.a. a continuing resolution, that is intended to avert yet another possible government shutdown. Earlier this month, House Republicans tried to tack on an extension of the Farmers Assurance Provision in their version of it.
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) has been working with other legislators to craft a Democratic version of the continuing resolution in the Senate to ensure the measure will not be extended.
In a statement released last night, he wrote:
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.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.