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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Monsanto Protection Act’ Extended as Part of House of Representatives Spending Bill

By Ashley Curtin
Nation of Change
Sept. 13, 2013

Congress extended the “Monsanto Protection Act” for an additional three months in a hush vote on Tuesday. The law, which protects Monsanto and other biotech giants from the threat of lawsuits and denies the federal courts from putting a ban on GMO sales, was a last minute addition to the House of Agriculture Appropriations Bill for 2013 and is part of the short-term FY14 Continuing Resolution Spending bill.

The law attached itself to the HR933 spending bill as a resolution to the possible government shutdown back in March. But the “Monsanto Protection Act,” which was highly controversial among its opponents, is here to stay after Republicans largely supported the three-month extension. The new expiration date of the spending bill is December 2015.

But its passage doesn’t come without much opposition. From lobbyists for the Center for Food Safety to senators, many are vocalizing their opinion against the extension and vowing to continue to fight the law.

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., openly campaigned against the “Monsanto Protections Act” and in a statement in the Huffington Post said he plans to challenge the “reenactment.”

"The proposed House continuing resolution includes an extension of the Monsanto Protection Act, a secret rider slipped into a must-pass spending bill earlier this year," Merkley said. "I will fight the House's efforts to extend this special interest loophole that nullifies court orders that are protecting farmers, the environment, and public health."

The Center for Food Safety—a national nonprofit foundation organized to protect human health and the environment—said in a press release that Congress “ignored public outcry” and instead extended a serious assault on the U.S.’s fundamental judicial review.

It is extremely disappointing to see the damaging ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ policy rider extended in the House spending bill,” Colin O’Neil, director of government affairs for Center for Food Safety, said. “Hundreds of thousands of Americans called their elected officials to voice their frustration and disappointment over the inclusion of ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ this past spring. Its inclusion is a slap in the face to the American public and our justice system.

Another opponent of the law, March Against Monsanto, is organizing a global march in all major cities on October 12 in an effort to continue to raise public awareness and show outward disapproval of Monsanto’s “predatory Corporate farming and business practices.”

As many organizations, senators and environmental groups continue to work to rid the law from the spending bill, the Center for Food Safety is asking the public to take action by signing the petition, “Oppose the ‘Monsato Protection Act,’” and urging people to make their voices heard by contacting members of Congress and telling them to "dump the law."

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