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Rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies © Robert Sommers 2017

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Monsanto Protection Act


Judas - Lourdes
Environmentalists and other people concerned not only about our food supply but the pernicious influence of big money in government are up in arms about Obama signing a new bill. This bill comes with a get out of jail free clause inserted for the Monsanto Corporation to protect their genetically modified Frankenseeds.

Section 735 of H.R 933 gives Monsanto this handy out clause, protecting the corporate agri-giant from law suits relating to its mutant seed stock. The sweetheart gift was a last minute addition slipped into the  Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act and normally sober Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski felt like her back was against the wall and evidently flipped. This bill is an unprecedented and blatant insertion of raw corporate power into federal governance.
Sec. 735. 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.
The provision was never reviewed by either the Agricultural or Judiciary committees. Many members of congress never knew that the language had been added to the bill, the quarter million signatures from citizens petition demanding that the bill be rescinded falling on the president's deaf ears.

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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. The courts are not allowed to intervene in the review process, basically giving Monsanto carte blanche and a free pass.

Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, a long time working asset of Monsanto, apparently received the authored provision from the company, one of his largest contributors. It is estimated that he received nearly $350,000 from Monsanto and their industry cohorts, many of the donations apparently designed to appear at arms length. Blunt has consistently made lists for the most corrupt members of congress, ranking in 2006 and getting the coveted "most corrupt" status in 2010. He is also the largest congressional recipient of Monsanto's largesse, the man picked to do the deed.
  • Blunt’s campaign received $110,950   from the Crawford Group, a law firm that deals with issues involving Roundup Ready sugar beets and alfalfa.
  • Blunt’s campaign received $75,150 from Emerson Electric Company, which acquired Fisher Controls from Monsanto in 1992.
  • Blunt’s campaign received $42,758 from Bryan Cave LLC, a law firm which represented Monsanto in its $290 million purchase of Aly Participacoes. Reuben Shelton, senior counsel at Monsanto, serves as president of the Board of Directors of Legal Services for the company, and his daughter, Christian Shelton, is an attorney at the firm.
  • The #1 PAC donation in the most recent election was from “agribusiness” – $51,250 
  • Blunt’s wife, Abigail Perlman, is the in-house lobbyist for Kraft Foods, who donated heavily to battle against mandatory labeling of GMOs. Before this, when the good Baptist Blunt divorced his wife of 30+ years to marry Perlman, she lobbied for Altria/Phillip Morris, where Blunt’s son Andy was also a lobbyist. An article on The Daily Kos pointed out that, “at the time Roy Blunt, the bastion of Missouri values, was helping his lobbyist girlfriend, he was still married to another woman.”
  • Blunt’s son, Matt, was the governor of Missouri from 2005-2009. According to an article on The Nation, “ Matt Blunt was such a champion of Monsanto’s GM products that its CEO presented him with the annual leadership award of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, a Monsanto-backed group.”

Monsanto has issued a statement and an accompanying PDF. The statement frames them as just one of many concerned farm businesses rather than the major perpetrator. They are just trying to avert litigation and promote "sound science."

Thanks Barack. You did it again. Glad that you are watching out for us.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very informative. Good stuff to know. GMO's will be the cause of world famine.