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March 19, 2013 / Andrew

Stop the Sneaky Biotech Rider!

Adapted from a post by Green America’s Shireen Karimi, on behalf of our GMO Inside program:

The Senate and House of Representatives are voting soon on legislation into which biotech companies (think Monsanto) have snuck a provision ending judicial oversight of plants, including the regulation of genetically engineered (GE) crops.

Called the “Farmer Assurance Provision” as though it will help farmers and those growing our food, this provision strips the rights of federal courts to halt the sale and planting of genetically engineered crops during the legal appeals process.  Once again, Monsanto and the biotech industry are working behind closed doors to undermine our rights and our judicial system. This time they’ve gone too far!

The Senate is voting today and the House is expected to vote within the next couple days.  Please call your legislators, and ask them to oppose this provision!

Please call your senator NOW and stop the biotech rider!

Sample text: “I am a constituent and asking Senator  _____ to oppose the biotech rider, section 735, in the Senate Continuing Resolution of H.R. 933.”

If it goes through the Senate, then it will enter another round in the House.  Therefore, you can also call your House representative and stop the biotech rider.

The rider states that  the “Secretary of Agriculture shall immediately grant temporary permit(s) or temporary deregulation … shall authorize the movement, introduction, continued cultivation, commercialization and other specifically enumerated activities…” of plants, even while under judicial review.

Responding to this provision, Sen. Tester (D-Montana), stated the following last week:

“I don’t know who authored this provision, maybe somebody in Washington knows but no one is willing to put their name on it and that’s a shame.

The second provision sent over from the House tells USDA to ignore any judicial ruling regarding the planting of genetically-modified crops.

Its supporters are calling it the “farmer assurance” provision, but all it really assures is a lack of corporate liability.

The provision says that when a judge finds that the USDA approved a crop illegally, the department must re-approve the crop and allow it to continue to be planted – regardless of what the judge says.

Think about that.

The United States Congress is telling the Agriculture Department ‘Even if a court tells you that you failed to follow the right process and tells you to start over, you MUST disregard the court’s ruling and allow the crops to be planted anyway.’”

Thank you, Senator Tester!  He also proposed amendment #74, co-sponsored by Senators Begich (D-AK), Blumenthal (D-CT), Boxer (D-CA), Gillibrand (D-NY), Leahy (D-VT), and Wyden (D-OR).  Unfortunately, it looks like this amendment will not be put forth, but we can still stop the biotech provision from being included!

You can also sign Food Democracy Now!’s petition.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/sign/stop_the_monsanto_protection_act_today_senate/

View the actual language of the “Farmer Assurance Provision” – Section 735 of Continuing Resolution (CR), H.R. 933.

You can view Senator Tester’s full statement here.

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