Dear Honorable [name of congressional politician]:
Under the continuing resolution for 2013 (H.R. 933-34), section 735 was passed into law that fundamentally undermines the constitutional protection of judicial review to allow the indiscriminate planting of GMO corps that have not been fully approved by the regulatory bodies.
Hidden under the guise of a “Farmer Assurance Provision” (Section 733) under the coined “Monsanto Protection,” the provision strips the rights of federal courts to halt the sale and planting of genetically engineered during the legal appeals process, while opening up the floodgates for the planting of new untested genetically engineered crops, endangering farmers, consumers and the environment.
Monsanto and the biotech industry have worked behind closed doors to undermine the basic rights of the people (not “persons”).
More specifically, the language 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.
Though wrapped in a “farmer-friendly” package, this provision is simply an industry ploy to continue to sell genetically engineered (GMO) seeds even when a court of law has found they were approved by USDA illegally. It is unnecessary and an unprecedented attack on U.S. judicial review. Congress should not be meddling with the judicial review process based solely on the special interest of a handful of companies.
The judicial review process is an essential element of U.S law and serves as a vital check on any federal agency decision that may negatively impact human health, the environment or the livelihood of farmers, yet this provision seeks an end-run around such judicial review by preemptively deciding that industry can set its own conditions to continue to sell biotech seeds, even if a court may find them to have been wrongfully approved.
The provision further forces USDA to immediately approve any permits for continued planting at the industry’s request, putting industry completely in charge by allowing for a “back door approval” mechanism. USDA’s duty is to protect the interests of all farmers and the environment, a duty that would be eliminated by this provision.
The provision is completely unnecessary. Every court to decide these issues has carefully weighed the interests of farmers, as is already required by law. I demand that this dangerous and unconstitutional rider be struck from HR 933, the Continuing Resolution by the President before signing this bill.
Please protect the American people, our Constitution and our farmers. Repeal Section 735 of the 2013 Continuing Resolution (Budget).
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