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October 2005 after the first frost and summer grasses had turned brown.  The growth of winter grasses was delayed by the drought.

ACTION ALERT: The Monsanto rider is back

A couple days ago I got an urgent email message from a respected nutrition site.  Below the "alert" is my analysis of their message.

ACTION ALERT: The Monsanto rider is back – tell Congress to reject it!

Congress is considering a continuing resolution spending bill that includes the controversial Monsanto rider.

This rider effectively destroys judicial review and gives the biotech industry the power to decide which genetically modified (GMO) crops should be planted even when a court has found that there could be environmental damage or economic damage to farmers.

In recent years, courts have repeatedly found that the USDA has improperly approved a GMO crop and they have required further analysis of the impacts before commercial plantings could happen. The Monsanto rider would override that. The rider would force  the USDA to allow GMOs to be planted even if a federal court rules that USDA hadn’t adequately considered the potential problems.

The proponents claim that the provision is needed to protect farmers, but that’s not true.  No farmer has ever had his or her crops destroyed because of a court decision on GMOs. Every court to rule on these issues has carefully weighed the interests of farmers, as is already required by law.

This rider was part of last spring’s continuing resolution, which was in effect for six months; the continuing resolution that is now being considered would extend it another three months. 

Tell your Representative and Senators to reject this provision in the upcoming spending bill.  Please take action today!

TAKE ACTION #1

Contact both of your U.S. Senators, and urge them to oppose the Monsanto rider.

If you don't know who represents you, you can find out online at www.senate.gov or by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.

Below is a sample letter you can use for email, or as a script for a telephone call.

TAKE ACTION #2

Contact your U.S. Representative and urge him/her to oppose the Monsanto rider.  If you don't know who represents you, you can find out online at www.house.gov or by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.

SAMPLE LETTER:

I urge [Senator ____ or Representative _______] to oppose the inclusion of the Monsanto rider in the upcoming short-term FY 2014 Continuing Resolution (CR) spending bill.  Please speak up for constituents by voicing your opposition to the rider to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee.

Though wrapped in a “farmer-friendly” package, this corporate welfare provision – section 735 in last year’s continuing resolution (H.R. 933) – is simply a biotech industry ploy to continue to sell GMO seeds even when a court of law has found they were approved by the USDA illegally. It is unnecessary and an unprecedented attack on the judicial review process, yet it was quietly slipped into last spring’s continuing resolution without congressional debate, hearings, or input from any of the relevant committees.

Continuing this provision in the new FY 2014 Continuing Resolution is the wrong thing to do.  This provision effectively guts judicial review, allowing companies to continue selling biotech seeds even if a court finds that the USDA should not have approved the seeds for planting.  The provision forces USDA to immediately approve any request by the industry for continued planting.  The USDA has a duty to protect the interests of all farmers and the environment, not just the biotech industry–the Monsanto rider undermines that responsibility.

The provision is completely unnecessary. No farmer has ever had his or her crops destroyed. Every court to rule on these issues has carefully weighed the interests of farmers, as is already required by law.

I strongly oppose the “Monsanto protection act” and urge you to demand that it not be included in the upcoming short-term FY14 Continuing Resolution (CR) spending bill.

[Name]

[Address]

That message and others like it are total claptrap.  Why do people who promote themselves as health and well-being experts also assume they are experts in agriculture?  Nearly all of these do-gooders have only a cursory knowledge of agriculture.  The know next to nothing about animal science, soil science, plant science, agricultural economics, genetics, what it takes to be truly sustainable, livestock processing, and the laws impacting the agricultural and food processing industries.  Yet they lash out and demonize all the various agricultural factions with flaming rhetoric that promotes their agendas at the cost of the reputations of the highly credible entities that are feeding 330,000,000 Americans three meals a day.  That’s a billion meals a day without interruption!

Unfortunately these wild-eyed fanatics have a disproportionate influence on the few people who are actually striving to improve their health though a better diet.  The consequence are that way too many people focus on all the wrong issues and miss the single most important issue impacting body function which is the chemistry of food.  The actual chemistry of a potato, a seed, a nut, a green leaf, etc. are the most important factors impacting body function.  This is why if all the food in America was “organic” the incidences of chronic diseases would be exactly the same!  That’s because food choices trump everything.

For a relatively unbiased take on the so-called Monsanto rider look at this U.S. News & World Report article.  The article is well written and tells the real story.  As you can see by the comments from the mob below the article, many people refuse to believe the truth.

Furthermore, while I’m on this soapbox I’ll point out another fact.  The anti-Monsanto movement is a modern-day witch hunt by people who know nothing, and I mean nothing, about copyright law, the seed industry, genetics, and the chemistry of plants and soils.  This link tells us a few things about one of the leaders of the anti-Monsanto movement.

Ted Slanker

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

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