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"Monsanto Protection Act"

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The "Monsanto Protection Act" refers to a law passed by Congress in early 2013 to allow genetically engineered crops (GMOs) to remain in the ground during the course of any court challenges. The move came in the wake of successful court challenges by opponents of genetic engineering to two crops, Roundup Ready Alfalfa and Roundup Ready Sugarbeets. The name "Monsanto Protection Act" was given to this clause by Food Democracy Now! and was then adopted by opponents of genetic engineering such as the Organic Consumers Association and the Alliance for Natural Health.[1] Advocates of biotechnology refer to it as the "farmer assurance provision."[1][2]

The rider was initially placed in H.R. 5973: Agriculture Appropriations Bill, Section 733 in 2012. The House Agriculture Appropriations bill, sponsored by Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), was introduced and passed out of committee on June 20, 2012.[3] It did not become law. In 2013, the same clause was included in H.R. 933 Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013, Section 735. It passed Congress on March 21, 2013 and was signed by President Obama on March 26, 2013. It became Pub.L. 113-6.[4]

Bill Language

H.R. 933, Section 735, which was signed into law by President Obama, reads as follows:

"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."[5]

In other words, if a court overturns or issues an injunction for the USDA's deregulation of a genetically engineered crop, any farmer can ask the USDA for a permit to continue growing that crop and the USDA must provide it.

Lobbying

From lobbying reports, it appears that Monsanto did specifically lobby on this particular issue. In the second and third quarters of 2012, Monsanto paid $50,000 per quarter ($100,000 total) to the lobby firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld for lobbying the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate on "Issues relating to international trade agreements; introduction of client's international activities; issues relating to funding of the U.S.-Brazil Framework on cotton; issues relating to Farmer Assurance Provision in Agriculture appropriations bill (H.R. 5973)."[6] The lobbyist was Brian Pomper.

It's impossible to tell if Monsanto devoted other lobbying resources to this cause, as their other lobbying disclosures do not specify what their lobbying was about. However, they engaged in quite a bit of lobbying on H.R. 5973, the bill that contained the "Monsanto Protection Act" in the last three quarters of 2012.[7] This includes:

Second Quarter 2012:

  • Monsanto's In-House lobbying: $1,520,000,

Third Quarter 2012:

  • Monsanto's In-House lobbying: $1,800,000
  • Noble Strategies: $30,000

Fourth Quarter 2012:

Friends of the Earth lobbied against the "Monsanto Protection Act" in the second quarter of 2012.[8] They spent a total of $18,019.82 on all lobbying on all issues during that quarter.

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Jonathan Benson, "'Monsanto Protection Act' to grant biotech industry total immunity over GM crops?," Natural News, July 15, 2012.
  2. Dave Murphy, Personal Communication with Jill Richardson, July 26, 2012.
  3. H.R. 5973: Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013, Govtrack.us.
  4. HR 933: Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013, Govtrack.us, Accessed April 4, 2013.
  5. Full Text of HR 933, GovTrack.us, Accessed April 4, 2013.
  6. Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, Accessed April 4, 2013.
  7. Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, Accessed April 4, 2013.
  8. Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, Accessed April 4, 2013.

External resources

External articles