Tea Party Lashes Out at Monsanto Protection Act, as Opposition Builds on Both Sides

Thursday, 04 Apr 2013 08:38 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Tea Party members joined environmental and liberal organizations in opposition to the Monsanto Protection Act, which opponents say strips the government's power from halting sales and planting of genetically modified foods, calling it "a special interest loophole" in a blog post on Tuesday.

Opponents of the bill say the provision shields the Monsanto Company, an agricultural biotechnology corporation headquartered in Creve Coeur, Mo., from potential lawsuits stemming from the genetically modified seeds and genetically modified organisms it produces in the U.S.

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"From the perspective of citizens who want open, transparent government that serves the people . . . the so-called Monsanto Protection Act . . . is one heck of a special interest loophole for friends of Congress," Tea Party Patriots blogger Dustin Siggins wrote.

The provision, which Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed into law last week, was part of Section 735 of the Agricultural Appropriations Bill.

Siggins described the provision as "a dangerous precedent," that gives "the industries benefiting from the provision the ability to ignore court injunctions."

"We are used to subsidies, which give your tax dollars to companies to give them advantages over competitors," Siggins wrote. "However, this is a different kind of special interest giveaway altogether. This is a situation in which a company is given the ability to ignore court orders, in what boils down to a deregulation scheme for a particular set of industries."

More than 250,000 Americans signed a petition earlier this week from Food Democracy Now, a grassroots effort dedicated to building a sustainable food system, calling for Obama to issue an executive order that mandates labeling genetically-engineered foods.

"This provision is simply an industry ploy to continue to sell genetically engineered seeds even when a court of law has found they were approved by USDA illegally," the petition states. "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."

Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt added the Monsanto provision to the Agricultural Appropriations Bill. The New York Daily News reported Blunt worked with Monsanto to craft the language in the bill.

The provision will only remain in effect for six months. However, the precedent the law is setting is of supreme concern to many food safety experts.

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Related story:

Monsanto, DuPont Settle Antitrust, Patent Lawsuits, Set New Deal

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