Monsanto law undermines democracy, public health


It takes away the power of U.S. courts to block the planting and sale of genetically modified seeds if evidence indicates they are harmful.


The otherwise-named Farmer Assurance Provision, which is now law, takes away the power of U.S. courts to block the planting and sale of genetically modified seeds if evidence indicates they are harmful.

It was slipped in anonymously at the last minute as part of the budget bill President Barack Obama signed to avoid a federal government shutdown.

How could such a provision, which undermines both the public health and the democratic process to serve the bottom-line interests of a major corporation, get through without broad public attention and lobbying? Why were no hearings held on it and no reviews conducted by either the agriculture or judiciary committees?

.And how could members of Congress claim not to know when, as Stewart drily noted, Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., lashed out at the provision in a Senate speech and sponsored an amendment to nullify it? An organic farmer, Tester said he had tried to find out which lawmakers put it in there, but no one would own up to it.

Of course they wouldn’t. Mother Jones magazine reports that Monsanto spent $5.9 million in lobbying last year. No politician wants to appear to have been bought.


Even in the era of the Citizens United ruling, when undue powers have been accorded corporations, we have three branches of government to protect and balance public interests. Congress and the executive branch should not be able to take power away from the judiciary at the behest of a corporation, or any other entity.

And lawmakers should not be doing a corporation’s bidding at the expense of the public health and economic well-being.


That sinister provision needs to be overridden, one way or another.

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