Sunday, March 31, 2013

Misinformation and the "Monsanto Protection Act"

"Sec. 733. 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."

It's almost hard to believe those little 198 words have caused so much furor all over the internet.  Russia Today says it "grossly protects biotech corporations such as...Monsanto...from litigation."  It doesn't.  Food Democracy Now claims it "interferes with judicial review" which is a stretch and that it "eliminates federal agency oversight" which it doesn't at all.  The International Business Times claims it "effectively bars federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of [GMO] or [GE] seeds, no matter what health issues may arise...in the future."

What the "Farmers Assurance Provision" (the section's official name) actually does is it "directs the Secretary of Agriculture to grant temporary deregulation status so that farmers and growers can continue the cultivation of GMO crops that had previously received department approval during the pendency of a court action challenging such approval and [the] subsequent regulatory review."

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