After dealing with an enormous public backlash, congress is set to let the Monsanto Protection Act expire. The Act has caused wide spread outrage amongst the anti-gmo groups and the general public informed on the legal immunity that it provides to Monsanto.
Senate Democrats are drafting a government funding bill in response to the Republican backed government funding bill, which passed in the House last week, containing a three-month extension of the Monsanto Protection Act. House Republicans earlier this month released legislation that would include an extension of the Monsanto measure in their continuing resolution. The measure shields sellers of genetically modified seeds from lawsuits, even if the resulting crops cause harm.
The Democrat bill would allow the so-called “Monsanto Protection Act” to expire at the end of the month.
The Monsanto Protection act protects companies like Monsanto and Dow Chemical from legal action resulting from Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) crops. The Act also places the authority of whether or not GMO crops can be grown and sold domestically into the hands of Federal Department of Agriculture rather than with the courts or public referendum. The Democratically-controlled Senate had made it clear that in response to public outrage and demand it is not making any plans to keep the rider active beyond its current expiration date.
The Center for Food Safety said the Senate’s eradication of the rider was “a major victory for the food movement” and a “sea change in a political climate that all too often allows corporate earmarks to slide through must-pass legislation.”
“Short-term appropriations bills are not an excuse for Congress to grandfather in bad policy,” said Colin O’Neil, the Center for Food Safety’s director of government affairs.
Another Senator, Senator Merkley, has opposed the Monsanto Protection act since it passed in March when it was incorporated in another spending resolution. Merkley ensured that the Farmer Assurance Provision rider would expire before it could be extended. In a statement Tuesday evening, the senator applauded those who helped him to avert the extension:
“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.”