What is in this article?:
- Behind the Monsanto Protection Act
- How much damage can happen in six months?
Organic Connections, the magazine of Natural Vitality, takes a behind-the-scenes look at the Monsanto Protection Act.
How much damage can happen in six months?
How much damage could be caused during the six months the legislation is in effect? “That was a big question for us and I think a big question for a lot of people,” O’Neil answered. “At the time, there were fears about some of the genetically engineered crops that are awaiting approval by the USDA—for example, Dicamba and 2,4-D-resistant crops. But on Friday the USDA announced that they will be conducting full Environmental Impact Statements for these crops, something that we’ve been calling for ever since the USDA announced that it was beginning the approval process for them. We see that as a major victory, and obviously any legal challenge to the USDA’s decisions would be put off for many years.
“In theory there are still a couple of other crops that could be approved during this window, but we may or may not see this rider triggered. It only takes into account the USDA approval of a crop, the challenge to the approval, and then a court striking down that approval. So, we may not see this ever happen or the rider used. With that said, it does set a very dangerous precedent for how Congress intervenes with the independent judiciary. We’re very concerned about the message it sends.”
Keeping it permanently off
The work CFS and other organizations are now doing is designed to ensure that this rider does not make it into any permanent legislation—but it will take all of us with a conscience to help bring that about.
“The best way for people to help is to continue to push their representatives and their senators to oppose this provision, as well as any other provisions that would gut or erode the oversight and regulation of genetically engineered crops,” O’Neil concluded. “In last year’s House Farm Bill we saw three provisions introduced that would have severely eroded the USDA’s ability to adequately assess and regulate genetically engineered crops. There was a fair amount of public opposition to those provisions.
“Last week the House and the Senate committees released their draft Farm Bills. I’m happy to report that those provisions from last year’s Farm Bill are not in the base bills. At this point we’re not sure if there will be any amendments offered, however; so it’s very important for people to be calling their members of Congress to express the need for more regulation—not less—and to say that these vital safeguards that protect the environment, farmers and consumers shouldn’t be on the chopping block.”
To take action on this and other food safety issues, please visit the Food Safety Action Center on the Organic Connections web site.