The farm bill is a package of federal legislation enacted every five to seven years to set the general direction for America’s farm and food policy. Congress enacted the first farm bill in the wake of the Great Depression with the dual goals of supporting America’s farmers and ranchers and helping them to maintain their land.
The current proposed Farm Bill, H.R. 5973, is a far cry from the original and as is so often true – the devil is in the details. There is a small rider in section 733 that gives biotech companies free reign with little to no judicial oversight. For those of you who care to wade through the legalese, the text appears at the end of this article.
If allowed to pass, the Monsanto Protection Act would:
• Violate the constitutional precedent of separation of powers by interfering with the process of judicial review.
• Eliminate federal agency oversight to protect farmers, consumers and the environment from potential harms caused by unapproved biotech crops.
• Allow Monsanto and biotech seed and chemical companies to profit by overriding the rule of law and plant their untested GMO crops despite no proof of their safety for the public and environment.
• Will not just allow, but require the secretary of agriculture to grant permits for planting or cultivating GM crops – even if a federal court has given an injunction against it.
• Would open up the floodgates for the planting of new untested genetically engineered crops, endangering farmers, consumers and the environment."
Here is the full text of the Monsanto Protection Act:
H.R. 5973: Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013 (The "Farmer Assurance Provision" AKA Monsanto Protection Act)
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 provision 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, commercialization 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.
COMMENT: Maybe now would be a good time to call our Congress person.
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New farm bill gives Monsanto carte blanche - Massive public outcry necessary to stop the legislation from passing into law
(NaturalNews) Imagine judicial review for protecting consumer rights and the environment going up in a puff of smoke and biotech corporations like Monsanto having complete immunity to plant whatever they want, whenever they want -- without testing. This is exactly what a small amendment in the proposed new farm bill guarantees.
The fine print
H.R. 5973: Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013 is legislation that will form agricultural and food policy in the U.S. if passed. According to American Farmland Trust:
"The farm bill is a package of federal legislation enacted every five to seven years to set the general direction for America’s farm and food policy. Congress enacted the first farm bill in the wake of the Great Depression with the dual goals of supporting America’s farmers and ranchers and helping them to maintain their land."
H.R. 5973 (otherwise known as The Monsanto Protection Act) carries a small rider in section 733 that grants biotech companies free reign with little oversight. The legal team at the Center for Food Safety translates section 733 as a "dangerous assault on fundamental federal and judicial safeguards" and "would create a precedent-setting limitation on judicial review." Food Democracy Now states that, if allowed to pass, The Monsanto Protection Act "fundamentally undermines the concept of judicial review and would strip judges of their constitutional mandate to protect consumer rights and the environment, while opening up the floodgates for the planting of new untested genetically engineered crops, endangering farmers, consumers and the environment."
Vote delayed in the House of Representatives
As of December 2012, H.R. 5973 has yet to be presented in the House. An extension has been approved, pushing the vote into 2013. This is good news for food safety advocates -- more time is available to mobilize and make voices heard. To take action and express concern over this proposed legislation, a directory of House members can be found here.
Some sobering food for thought from RT Question More:
" ... one thing is certain - if passed, this one line in a 90-page document will mean Frankenfood for consumers, losses for farmers and huge profits for biotech companies that don’t appear to care much for anything else."
View the original article and sources here