Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) on Monday vowed to repeal a measure that prevents federal courts from halting the sale and planting of genetically engineered crops.
The Farmer Assurance Provision, dubbed the “Monsanto Protection Act” by critics, was quietly inserted into a short-term funding bill passed by Congress in March. The biotech rider allows farmers to buy and plant genetically engineered seeds while the regulatory approval of the crop is being challenged in court.
“The Monsanto Protection Act is an outrageous example of a special interest loophole,” Merkley said in a statement. “This provision nullifies the actions of a court that is enforcing the law to protect farmers, the environment and public health. That is unacceptable.”
“To avoid public scrutiny, the ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ was quietly and anonymously inserted into the continuing resolution passed this March to avert a government shutdown,” he explained.
Merkley said he would offer an amendment to the Senate farm bill that would repeal the controversial law, which is set to expire in September. However, agricultural groups like the American Soybean Association are expected to lobby for the farm bill to include the Farmer Assurance Provision.
“We applaud Sen. Merkley’s effort to repeal the Monsanto Protection Act. The ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ is an outrageous attempt by biotech giants like Monsanto and DuPont further consolidate their control of our nation’s food supply,” said Executive Director of Food Democracy Now! Dave Murphy. “For too long, Americans have been kept in the dark about the food that we eat and the science behind it because our elected officials are in the pockets of Monsanto. We encourage the Senate to repeal the Monsanto Protection Act and protect the food we eat.”
[Jeff Merkley via Flickr user Medill DC, Creative Commons licensed]