This week the House of Representatives will consider a provision to House Agricultural Appropriations Bill that will fundamentally undermine the concept of judicial review. Hidden under the guise of a “Farmer Assurance Provision” (Section 733), the provision strips the rights of federal courts to halt the sale and planting of genetically engineered crops during the legal appeals process.
In the past, legal advocates have successfully won in court the right to halt the sale and planting of unapproved GMO crops while the approval of those crops is under review by a federal judge. This dangerous new House provision, which we’re calling the Monsanto Protection Act, 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.
Once again, Monsanto and the biotech industry are working behind closed doors to undermine your basic rights. This time they’ve gone too far! Join us in putting a stop to the Monsanto Protection Act!
I am writing to urge your support of the DeFazio amendment to strike the “farmer assurance provision” currently included in the FY2013 Agriculture Appropriations bill.
Though wrapped in a “farmer-friendly” package, this provision is simply an industry ploy to continue to sell genetically engineered (GE) seeds even when a court of law has found they were approved by USDA illegally. It is unnecessary and an unprecedented attack on U.S. judicial review. Congress should not be meddling with the judicial review process based solely on the special interest of a handful of companies.
The judicial review process is an essential element of U.S law and serves as a vital check on any Federal Agency decision that may negatively impact human health, the environment or livelihoods. Yet this provision seeks an end-run around such judicial review by preemptively deciding that industry can set its own conditions to continue to sell biotech seeds, even if a court may find them to have been wrongfully approved.
The provision further forces USDA to immediately approve any permits for continued planting the industry requests, putting industry completely in charge by allowing for a “back door approval” mechanism. USDA’s duty is to protect the interests of all farmers and the environment, a duty that would be eliminated by this provision.
The provision is also completely unnecessary. No farmer has ever had his or her crops destroyed. Every court to decide these issues has carefully weighed the interests of farmers, as is already required by law.
I urge you to support the DeFazio amendment to H.R. 5973 the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2013 to strike this dangerous and misleading provision.