‘Monsanto Protection Act’ might be repealed in Senate

The so-called Monsanto Protection Act signed into law earlier this year caused such an outrage that people around the world are planning to protest the biotech company later this month. Now a United States senator is expected to try and repeal that law.

According to the Huffington Post, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon)
plans to introduce an amendment in Washington that would repeal
Section 735 from the Consolidated and Further Continuing
Appropriations Act of 2013, a provision that has put St. Louis,
Missouri-based Monsanto in the sights of environmentalists around
the world.

Deep within the nearly 600-page spending bill, Section 735
includes language that lets biotech companies that experiment with
genetically-engineered and genetically-modified crops test and sell
lab-made products even if legal action is taken against them.

The provision would strip federal courts of the authority to
halt the sale and planting of an illegal, potentially hazardous GE
crop while the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) assesses those
potential hazards
,” dozens of farmers wrote the House of
Representatives before the bill was passed in March. “Further,
it would compel USDA to allow continued planting of that same crop
upon request, even if in the course of its assessment the
Department finds that it poses previously unrecognized

But despite pleas from agriculturalists around the world, both
the Senate and House approved the spending bill – with Section 735
in tow – and the act was signed into law just days later by US President Barack

Since being passed in late March, the spending bill has
attracted immense criticism from all different sectors, including
small-time farmers, Tea Party activists and even members of
Congress. According to Huffington Post, however, Sen. Merkley is
expected to be the first lawmaker in Washington to walk into the
Capitol with a plan to repeal the amendment. HuffPo reported on
Thursday that Merkley is planning to introduce an amendment on a
separate farm bill going up to vote shortly that will reverse the
so-called ‘Protection Act.’

Should the prediction prove correct, it would suggest a change
of heart for Sen. Merkley. According to the Vote Smart Project,
Merkley was one of 73 senators that voted in favor of the
Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act when it went
up for vote on March 22. Only 26 senators voted ‘nay’ during that
hearing, and the House approved it shortly thereafter.

Monsanto has called Section 735 “a positive step to ensure US
farmers and our food chain are shielded from supply disruptions
caused by litigation over procedural issues unrelated to sound
science or the safety of biotech crops.”
Sen. Roy Blunt
(R-Missouri) told Politico earlier this year that he co-authored
the language of the amendment along with Monsanto. Previously, Blunt received
$64,250 from Monsanto to go towards his campaign committee between
2008 and 2012.

Demonstrations are scheduled in 36 countries on six continents
later this month for anti-Monsanto activists to come together and
protest the company. Speaking to Bloomberg this week, Monsanto CEO
Hugh Grant said his critics exercise a “strange kind of
reverse elitism
” fueled by social media campaigns to condemn
his company.

Most of the people that become motivated to engage the
political issues have become convinced that going down the road of
genetically engineered foods is not the way to meet the needs of a
food insecure population
,” Grant said. “There is space in
the supermarket shelf for all of us

This article originally appeared on : RT