On the heels of the “Monsanto rider” inserted into the House Agriculture Appropriations Bill a few weeks ago, the Biotech industry managed to insert several more damaging provisions into the House version of the Farm Bill.
Together, these GMO industry-promoting provisions override judicial review of GMO crops found to have been approved illegally, gut any real review by the USDA of new GMO crops, and create a forced backdoor approval of “Agent Orange” corn and other currently pending GMO crops. There is even a provision to establish, for the first time, a policy recognizing “allowable” levels of GMO contamination in our food.
If passed, these riders would undermine the few laws that are currently in place to protect farmers’ rights and our health from the many adverse impacts of GMO crops. These provisions represent a new level of corporate control, placing the GMO industry’s profits above the law.
The House of Representatives is not expected to vote on either the Agricultural Appropriations bill or the Farm Bill before they leave for the August recess. Nonetheless, the Representatives and their staff are developing their positions on these issues right now – so we need to speak up while there’s time to influence their decisions.
Please call or email your U.S. Representative to urge him or her to oppose the Biotech riders. If you don’t know who represents you, you can find out at www.house.gov or by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.
Below is a sample message for email or voice mail. Please be sure to personalize it! A personalized message, of any length, is far more effective than any form message.
My name is ____, and I am a ___________ (famer, parent, concerned citizen …). Having access to non-genetically engineered foods is very important to me.
I am writing to strongly oppose the “farmer assurance provision” in the FY2013 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, and the series of Biotech riders (Sections 10011, 10013 and 10014) in the House version of the Farm Bill, and urge you to support any amendments to get rid of these dangerous and unnecessary riders. Congress must protect the few safeguards we have in place for genetically engineered crops, not eliminate them to appease a handful of large companies.
Though wrapped in “farmer-friendly” language, the provision inserted into the Agriculture Appropriations Bill is simply a biotech industry ploy to continue to sell 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.
The changes to the oversight of GMO crops in Sections 10011, 10013 and 10014 of the House Agriculture Committee’s version of the 2012 Farm Bill are even more dangerous. These provisions will create serious risks to farmers, the environment and public health by forcing the rushed commercialization of GMO crops and eliminating meaningful review of their impacts.
In the past half-dozen years, both the courts and government reports have sharply criticized USDA’s oversight of GMO crops as being too lax. Numerous courts have held the agency’s approvals failed to comply with the law, placing both farmers and consumers at risk. In response, rather than responsibly improving its oversight, the industry seeks to instead change the rules so as to increase their profits at our expense.
For the sake of all American farmers and consumers, I urge you to support any amendments that strike these provisions from the House Agriculture Appropriations and Farm Bill.
If you have time, ask to speak to the stafferperson who handles agricultural issues. Introduce yourself, and have a short discussion with them about why this issue is so important to you. The more personal and individual the contact, the greater the impact you will have!
Sections 10011, 10013 and 10014 of the House Agriculture Committee’s version of the 2012 Farm Bill will:
1) Outlaw any review of GE crops’ impacts under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), or any other environmental law, or by any other agency other than USDA. For example, harm to protected species could occur without any input from our expert wildlife agencies.
2) Weaken USDA’s remaining review under the Plant Protection Act (PPA), attempting to exclude from review harmful GE crops impacts.
3) Force the backdoor approval of GE crops, even if USDA has not analyzed and approved them, through unreasonably short deadlines, which, if not met by the agency, would default to immediate approval and commercialization. The provisions would also bar any agency funds be spent on impacts analysis beyond the riders’ narrow and time-forced approval.
4) Codify a dangerous national policy of allowing transgenic contamination in crops and foods, risking loss of GE-sensitive domestic and export markets and loss of biodiversity.
5) Limit EPA’s oversight of biotech crops engineered to produce or contain a pesticide by forcing the agency to choose the least burdensome choice for industry, regardless of environmental consequences.
FARFA has joined with other organizations in urging that all of these riders be removed. The sign-on letters provide more details on each provision: