The nicknamed “Monsanto Protection Act” was part of the government funding bill that President Obama signed into law on March 26, 2013; it forces permits to be issued for new plants – like genetically modified plants grown by Monsanto – while the Department of Agriculture investigates whether the plant is harmful and should be regulated.
The Monsanto Protection Act was able to be quietly passed into law because our government is not being funded properly. Each branch of Congress – the House and the Senate – is supposed to pass twelve separate appropriations bills for twelve different government divisions and then merge their bills in conference committees before twelve appropriations bills are sent to the President. This process is supposed to happen every year. In March 2013, during a willfully-created Congressional “crisis”, Congress funded the entire government in one huge bill – six months into the fiscal year. The Monsanto Protection Act was only one of many corporate gifts that was slipped into the bill that took me four whole days to read.
Buried in Section 735 of the Department of Agriculture section is the provision that is now known as the Monsanto Protection Act.
- Section 411 of the Plant Protection Act prohibits regulated plants that are considered harmful if allowed to be freely grown in the United States.
- If the Secretary of Agriculture chooses to regulate a plant that was previously unregulated, this bill says the Secretary “shall” “immediately grant temporary permits” which will authorize the movement, introduction, continued cultivation, or commercialization, while the petition is evaluated.
Here’s the actual text:
In the event that a determination of non-regulated status made pursuant to section 411 of the Plant Protection Act is or has been invalidated or vacated, the Secretary of Agriculture shall, notwithstanding any other provision of law, upon request by a farmer, grower, farm operator, or producer, immediately grant temporary permit(s) or temporary deregulation in part, subject to necessary and appropriate conditions consistent with section 411(a) or 412(c) of the Plant Protection Act, which interim conditions shall authorize the movement, introduction, continued cultivation, commercialization and other specifically enumerated activities and requirements, including measures designed to mitigate or minimize potential adverse environmental effects, if any, relevant to the Secretary’s evaluation of the petition for non-regulated status, while ensuring that growers or other users are able to move, plant, cultivate, introduce into commerce and carry out other authorized activities in a timely manner: Provided, That all such conditions shall be applicable only for the interim period necessary for the Secretary to complete any required analyses or consultations related to the petition for non-regulated status: Provided further, That nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting the Secretary’s authority under section 411, 412 and 414 of the Plant Protection Act.
The Monsanto Protection Act was slipped into the bill by an anonymous Senator but we have since learned that it was Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri; he actually admitted to Politico that he worked with Monsanto to write it. Since 2008, Monsanto has given Roy Blunt $118,500. In total, Roy Blunt has taken $716,591 from the Agribusiness industry.
Public Law 113-6, which contains the Monsanto Protection Act, is going to expire on September 30th.