NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING
DONATE TODAY
HOT TOPICS ▶ Climate Change     Undoing The New Deal     The Real Baltimore     Reality Asserts Itself     United Kingdom    


  September 19, 2013

House Extends Monsanto Protection Act


House passes a rider which protects biotech giants like Monsanto from being sued in federal court
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here
   


audio

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter



I support the Real News because without The Real News we would have no real news at all. - WWH
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


transcript

JESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives released a bill to extend the agricultural spending bill known as the "Monsanto protection act". This bill allows Monsanto to continue to sell their crops even if a federal court deems it illegal.

With us to discuss the controversial bill is Colin O'Neil. He's the director of government affairs at the Center for Food Safety, a national organization founded to protect human health and the environment.

Thanks for joining us, Colin.

COLIN O'NEIL, DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS, CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY: Thanks for having me.

DESVARIEUX: So, Colin, can you just break down for us what exactly is in this bill? And can you speak specifically to how this bill protects Monsanto?

O'NEIL: Sure. So, as your listeners and viewers may remember, last spring, Congress was debating a short-term six-month spending bill basically to keep the federal lights on. But one of the more contentious aspects of that bill was a policy rider that was tacked on secretly behind closed doors that has been dubbed the "Monsanto protection act". This policy rider would strip federal courts of their ability to halt the sale and planting of a genetically engineered crop even if a federal court has deemed that that crop was approved unlawfully.

Generally, genetically engineered crops are, you know, crops that have been engineered in some way, and most of them have been engineered to either produce a pesticide or to be resistant to an herbicide. So these are quite ubiquitous amongst the major commodity props. However, they carry a number of pretty serious environmental, human health, and economic harms.

DESVARIEUX: How will this affect farmers? I know there's a case going on right now in the federal courts with farmers who are suing Monsanto.

O'NEIL: M'hm. Yeah. One of the major threats from genetically engineered crops is the threat of transgenic or genetic contamination. Say you are a farmer that grows organic corn or organic soy. If your crops have been contaminated by a genetically engineered version, that may mean that you won't be able to sell your products to GE-sensitive domestic or export markets. So there's a direct financial burden on organic interventional growers if they have any type of contamination found.

This past summer, a farmer in Oregon found a rogue GE wheat growing in his field. GE wheat is unapproved here in the U.S. and has been widely rejected by our foreign buyers. And as a result of that finding, Japan and South Korea shut off imports of U.S. wheat for a short period of time, and now they're requiring testing.

So, obviously, transgenic contamination is a very serious threat and one that federal courts have recognized as a serious harm. Unfortunately, this rider really seeks to circumvent the federal courts and even the USDA and put the power in the hands of the corporations.

DESVARIEUX: Why should people really care about this issue? If you look at those that argue for genetically modified foods, they say that you actually have a greater yield. And isn't that something we should be to striving for, considering climate change? What do you make of those types of arguments?

O'NEIL: Well, there are really two points I'd like to make. First is that we actually have never seen any commercial genetically engineered crop that has been drought resistant or drought tolerant or had higher yields than conventional counterparts. A great report released by the Union of Concerned Scientists called Failure to Yield showed that all of the major benefits that we've ever seen from genetic engineering actually came from conventional breeding.

And what they did, the companies on the back end did was genetically engineer those crops to be resistant to an herbicide or to produce a pesticide. An overwhelming majority of the GE crops on the marketplace are designed for that purpose, to produce more pesticides.

But that's beyond the fact that this rider is really unnecessary. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is the expert in regulating genetically engineered crops. We should be relying on the USDA and then our federal courts, who uphold the laws and hold USDA accountable, to be the ones that make the decisions about what GE crops should be approved and how they're approved.

This policy rider is very dangerous, because it is an unprecedented overreach of the judicial powers that we have and, as I mentioned, puts the power really into the hands of the industry. And that's very concerning for members of Congress and for many farmers and consumers as well.

DESVARIEUX: We'll certainly be tracking this bill. Thank you very much for joining us, Colin.

O'NEIL: Thank you.

DESVARIEUX: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

End

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.



Comments

Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

latest stories

India's Far-Right PM Modi Meets Protests in London
Why Black Lives Don't Matter: A Radical Interpretation of U.S. History
Israeli Forces Kill 4 Palestinians, Injure 40 on Israel's Independence Day
Infamous Mercenary Erik Prince Being Considered to Build Trump's Foreign Army for Syria
Leaders of China and Japan to Meet -- Could Be a Game Changer
Cuba has a New President: Is he 'Fidelista' or 'Raulista'?
Marc Steiner Show: Chelsea Manning
House Raid Illustrates How Baltimore Police Refuse to Take Black Residents Rights Seriously
The Baltimore Bureau Podcast Show: April 20, 2018
Korean Peninsula in Historic Peace Talks - Thanks to Activists, Not Trump
Teacher Strikes Continue to Spread - A Symptom of Public Education Underfunding
IMF Says 2018 Economic Outlook is Rosy, But Austerity is Still Needed
Debunking the Myth of American Exceptionalism, with David Swanson
New Student Movement Seeks to Change Hopkins from Within
Corbyn: Does Strike on Syria Justify Bombing Saudi Arabia over Yemen?
Fighting the Oligarchy Inside the Democratic Party
Lopez Obrador's Lead Widens in Mexican Presidential Race Thanks to Trump
Justin Trudeau Vows to Bail Out Profitable Oil Company, Kinder Morgan
Global Warming's Impact on Ocean Currents to Amplify Sea Level Rise
State's Attorney's Race: Thiru Vignarajah on Freddie Gray and Gun Trace Task Force
Defense Stocks Soar as Trump Wages War on Syria
Philippines' Duterte Uses 'War on Terror' Tactics to Crack Down on Leftists
Philippines' Drug War Kills Poor Addicts, Not Rich Dealers
Col. Larry Wilkerson on Syria: War Powers are the 'Surest Way to Tyranny'
Senior Bernie Advisor says 'Bullshit' to Cuomo Campaign Claim It's 'Lockstep' with Sanders
The Perils of Being a Prosecutor and a Politician
France Joins US in a 'Poker Game,' Targeting Iran and Hezbollah
Activists Offer Palestinian and Kurdish Solidarity
Starbucks and the Criminalization of Blackness
Saudi Dictator Dines with French President as Yemenis Starve

TheRealNewsNetwork.com, RealNewsNetwork.com, The Real News Network, Real News Network, The Real News, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of Independent World Television inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and The Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Web Design, Web Development and Managed Hosting