Theresa Haddon of West Midlands Food Links Ltd brought to our attention the news that the US Senate has stripped the Farmer Assurance Provision Act, (nicknamed the “Monsanto Protection Act”) of the government funding provisions allocated in the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013 (Pub.L. 113–6, H.R. 933, enacted March 26, 2013).
However the House of Representatives, which supported the Act only a few days earlier, could still block it
The wording of the Act obscures its meaning for the average reader, though blessed Wikipedia renders its ‘legal effect’ like this:
‘If a biotech crop has already been approved (or deregulated) by the USDA and a court reverses that approval, the provision directs the Secretary of Agriculture to grant temporary deregulation status at the request of a grower or seed producer, to allow growers to continue the cultivation of the crop while legal challenges to the safety of those crops are underway.
This legislation, which will be in effect until September 30th, allowed biotechnology companies to sell genetically modified seeds even if a court blocks them. However, after constituents brought their concerns to Senator Jeff Merkley in March, he began to campaign against the Monsanto Protection Act, leading an online petition and offering an amendment to the farm bill which was blocked. He then worked with legislative leaders to seek to ensure that the provision would expire at the end of the month.
On September 24, he said: “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.”
We await the final outcome.