Monsanto Protection Act Rears its Ugly Head.

The Monsanto Protection Act, which will be decided by the US congress in 2013, is uniquely tailored to Monsanto’s growing activities, in order to provide complete legal immunity. Simply put Monsanto wants to bypass any Court of Law in the .

Basically the bill allows a farmer to continue growing crops even if a Court of law orders an injunction and prohibits him from doing so.

The name “Monsanto Protection Act” was given to this clause by Democracy Now and was then adopted by opponents of genetic engineering such as the Organic Consumers Association and the Alliance for Natural Health. Advocates of biotechnology refer to it as the “farmer assurance .”

The specific clause lies within H.R. 5973: Agriculture Appropriations Bill, Section 733. The House Agriculture Appropriations bill, sponsored by Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), was introduced and passed out of committee on June 20, 2012. It read, in part:

“Sec. 733. In the event that a determination of non-regulated status made pursuant to section 411 of the Plant Protection Act is or has been invalidated or vacated, the Secretary of Agriculture shall, notwithstanding any other of law, upon request by a farmer, grower, farm operator, or producer, immediately grant temporary permit(s) or temporary deregulation in part, subject to necessary and appropriate conditions consistent with section 411(a) or 412(c) of the Plant Protection Act, which interim conditions shall authorize the movement, introduction, continued cultivation, and other specifically enumerated activities and requirements, including measures designed to mitigate or minimize potential adverse environmental effects, if any, relevant to the Secretary’s evaluation of the petition for non-regulated status, while ensuring that growers or other users are able to move, plant, cultivate, introduce into commerce and carry out other authorized activities in a timely manner: Provided, That all such conditions shall be applicable only for the interim period necessary for the Secretary to complete any required analyses or consultations related to the petition for non-regulated status: Provided further, That nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting the Secretary’s authority under section 411, 412 and 414 of the Plant Protection Act.”

In other words, if a court overturns or issues an injunction for the USDA’s deregulation of a genetically engineered crop, any farmer can ask the USDA for a permit to continue growing that crop and the USDA must provide it.

REFERENCES

H.R. 5973: Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013, Govtrack.us.

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