Alliance for Natural Health | Jul. 10, 2012
There’s still time to stop these potentially catastrophic pro-GMO riders before they become law—IF we act now!
This morning we learned of a dangerous set of policy riders which the biotech industry was able to get inserted into (and buried within) the House Agriculture Committee’s discussion draft of the voluminous 2012 Farm Bill. These riders represent significant changes to the Plant Protection Act (PPA), which will create serious risks to farmers, the environment, and public health by forcing the rushed commercialization of genetically engineered crops. They would also eliminate all meaningful review of the effect GMO crops may have on our environment or our health.
This is a new set of riders unrelated to the rider we warned you about in prior weeks. That amendment—in the Agriculture Appropriations Bill—is still alive and also needs to be opposed. More information on that below.
The new riders, the ones we just became aware of in the farm bill, would outlaw any review of GE crop impacts based on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), or any other environmental law. And no agency other than USDA would be allowed to provide analysis.
Note that under this new proposal, even if the unexpected happened and the pro-GMO USDA did report issues, the information still wouldn’t affect the approval decision! So clearly it doesn’t matter what environmental analysis anyone comes up with. It won’t have any effect on the approval of genetically engineered crops.
These riders also establish unworkable deadlines and backdoor approvals—if the crops aren’t reviewed and approved within an absurdly short time, they would default to immediate approval and commercialization. This, together with the diminished environmental analysis, simply makes a mockery of USDA’s GMO crop reviews. It is one of the most blatant examples of crony capitalism at work that we have seen.
The bill is scheduled to be debated in committee on Wednesday morning, so we have only a very narrow window in which to act! Please write to the House Ag Committee chairman and ranking member, as well as your congressional representative, and tell them you want these riders removed from the Farm Bill. Please Take Action NOW!
Two weeks ago we reported on a pro-GMO amendment in a different funding bill, the House Agriculture Appropriations Bill. This amendment would strip federal courts of the authority to halt the sale or planting of illegal, potentially hazardous genetically engineered (GE) crops—even if a court has told them to stop—while USDA is still assessing potential hazards.
The provision specifically mandates that the Secretary of Agriculture shall, upon request by a farm operator or producer, immediately grant a temporary permit authorizing the GMO crops to be planted or cultivated, even if a court has called a halt until an Environmental Impact Statement is completed. They’re calling it the Farmer Assurance Provision (Section 733). But far from safeguarding farmers, the only parties whose interests are “assured” by this rider are those of GE crop developers, in particular Monsanto, the company we believe is almost certainly behind it.
Congressman Peter DeFazio, D-OR, is preparing his own amendment to strike the pro-GMO language from the bill. We need to get an avalanche of messages to Capitol Hill supporting the DeFazio amendment and explaining just how lawless the pro-GMO rider is.
The Ag Appropriations bill with this anti-GMO amendment attached will likely be heard on the floor of the House of Representatives by the middle of next week. This means there is still time for us to stop this lawless amendment.
If this language is allowed to stand, it would completely undermine the judicial review process, and would encourage the unchecked deregulation of GE crops despite terrible environmental and health effects.
Please send your messages to Congress TODAY in support the DeFazio Amendment, which would strike the pro-GMO language from the bill! Please Take Action Now!
Did you take action on both pro-GMO amendments? If not, please do so. Either one will gut what remains of the GMO approval process.