April 2, 2013. Washington. Typically, when a law is passed in secrecy and signed by the President in the middle of the night, there is a sinister reason. In the case of the Monsanto Protection Act passed and signed into law last week, that was again the scenario. Since then, hundreds of thousands of Americans and countless grassroots groups have condemned the new law. But have any of you seen or read it? Neither did we, until now. Here is the full text of the Monsanto Protection Act.
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) is accused of taking $60,000 from Monsanto and secretly sneaking the Monsanto Protection Act ‘rider’ into a just-passed emergency spending law. Image courtesy of Politico.
One week ago, President Obama signed HR 933 into Law. Titled the, ‘Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act 2013’, the new legislation is a temporary, six-month spending law that appropriates just enough money for government agencies to avoid a federal shut-down. But quietly slipped into the emergency spending Bill at the last minute was a vaguely worded section that seemingly gives the Monsanto Corporation immunity from food safety laws.
Indy Media and Food Safety Advocates react
The immediate reaction to news of the passage of the universally-despised Monsanto Protection Act was swift and harsh. Numerous independent media outlets quoted Food Democracy Now stating, “This provision is simply an industry ploy to continue to sell genetically engineered seeds even when a court of law has found they were approved by USDA illegally.”
IBTimes went to the trouble of collecting the five most feared results of the passage of the law allegedly written by Monsanto corporate lawyers:
1. The Monsanto Protection Act effectively bars federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of controversial genetically modified (aka GMO) or genetically engineered (GE) seeds, no matter what health issues may arise concerning GMOs in the future.
2. The provision’s language was apparently written in collusion with Monsanto.
3. Many members of Congress were apparently unaware that the Monsanto Protection Act even existed within the Bill they were voting on.
4. The President did nothing to stop it, either. On Tuesday, Obama signed HR 933.
5. It sets a terrible precedent…The message it sends is that corporations can get around consumer safety protections if they get Congress on their side.
Sen. Roy Blunt and Sen. Barbara Mikulski
Critics of Monsanto and their genetically altered food-like products, as well as food safety advocates across the county, aren’t just condemning Monsanto for the unethically passed legislation. They’re also going after the two US Senators most responsible for the deceptive manner by which it became law.
The first Senator, and considered the most responsible, is Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO). Blunt not only received over $60,000 from Monsanto, but he is accused of actually letting the corporation’s attorneys draft the actual legislation. Worst of all, Sen. Blunt is accused of being the US Senator on the Senate Appropriations Committee that personally and secretly slipped the Monsanto Protection Act into the emergency spending legislation.
The second Senator being targeted by hundreds of thousands of angry Americans is Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD). Mikulski is the Chairwoman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee – the same Committee that secretly snuck the Monsanto Protection Act into the just-passed spending law. For her part, Senator Mikulski is defending her actions, and her vote.
Senator Mikulski apologizes for Monsanto Protection Act
Being both the first Marylander, as well as the first woman to ever serve as Chair of the most powerful Committee in the US Senate, Barbara Mikulski is shielded from much criticism. But the Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee is buckling under the anger and pressure of her constituents and has released a statement apologizing for the inclusion and passage of the Monsanto immunity rider.
A press release from Sen. Mikulski’s Senate office reads:
“Senator Mikulski understands the anger over this provision. She didn’t put the language in the bill and doesn’t support it either…As Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Mikulski’s first responsibility was to prevent a government shutdown. That meant she had to compromise on many of her own priorities to get a bill through the Senate that the House would pass. She will continue to fight for a regular and timely Appropriations process and other valuable priorities, including food safety.”
Mikulski’s reconfirmed opposition to the Monsanto Protection Act, in spirit if not in actual deeds, is a hopeful sign to food safety advocates outraged over the rider’s passage. According to Executive Director Andrew Kimbrell of the Center for Food Safety, “Senator Mikulski’s announcement is a welcome and essential voice in opposition to this ill-conceived corporate welfare rider. As Chair of the Committee, Senator Mikulski will ultimately be responsible for the next Senate Appropriations bills; CFS is now optimistic that she will now take up the mantle of leadership on this issue.”
Full Text of Monsanto Protection Act
While the full law titled the, ‘Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act 2013’ is quite extensive, the portion being singled out as the ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ is found under the inconspicuously titled section, ‘Title VII – General Provisions’. Under Section 735, the text reads:
‘SEC. 735. In the event that a determination of non
4 regulated status made pursuant to section 411 of the
5 Plant Protection Act is or has been invalidated or vacated,
6 the Secretary of Agriculture shall, notwithstanding any
7 other provision of law, upon request by a farmer, grower,
8 farm operator, or producer, immediately grant temporary
9 permit(s) or temporary deregulation in part, subject to
10 necessary and appropriate conditions consistent with sec
11 tion 411(a) or 412(c) of the Plant Protection Act, which
12 interim conditions shall authorize the movement, introduce
13 tion, continued cultivation, commercialization and other
14 specifically enumerated activities and requirements, in
15 cluding measures designed to mitigate or minimize poten
16 tial adverse environmental effects, if any, relevant to the
17 Secretary’s evaluation of the petition for non-regulated
18 status, while ensuring that growers or other users are able
19 to move, plant, cultivate, introduce into commerce and
20 carry out other authorized activities in a timely manner:
21 Provided, That all such conditions shall be applicable only
22 for the interim period necessary for the Secretary to com
23 plete any required analyses or consultations related to the
24 petition for non-regulated status: Provided further, That
25 nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting the
1 Secretary’s authority under section 411, 412 and 414 of
2 the Plant Protection Act.’
To stay informed about the ongoing battle over the Monsanto Protection Act, visit FoodDemocracyNow.org.
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The top-secret world the government created in response to Sept. 11, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs or how many people it employs. 20pg Special Report. Click here for more info.