We just got word that despite past promises to promote GMO transparency, Obama signed HR 933, which contains the Monsanto Protection Act, into law. According to The Austin Chronicle, the measure protects genetically modified seeds from litigation by “allowing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to override judicial rulings and grant temporary permits for conventional farmers to plant and grow genetically modified crops while pending review.” Hence the “Monsanto Protection Act,” a name given by activists against biotech giants avoiding GMO labeling.
After Obama signed HR 933, and thus the provision, into law on Tuesday, many have argued that the biotech rider was purposefully slipped in as the larger bill progressed and thus, wasn’t given proper review by Judiciary Committees.
Prior to the measure, courts had the ability to suspend the farming of GMO crops in the face of health or environmental risks. “It sets a terrible precedent,” stated the International Business Times. “Though it will only remain in effect for six months until the government finds another way to fund its operations, the message it sends is that corporations can get around consumer safety protections if they get Congress on their side. Furthermore, it sets a precedent that suggests that court challenges are a privilege, not a right.”
It seems as if the pleas of more than 250,000 Americans who have since signed a petition asking the president to veto the measure, may fall of on deaf ears.