Friday, May 17, 2013

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.)

Madison Ruppert
Activist Post

According to a report, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) is planning on proposing an amendment to the upcoming farm bill repealing the rider known as the “Monsanto Protection Act.”

The rider quietly attached to the Agricultural Appropriations Bill for 2013 resulted in a great deal of public outrage, leading to an apology from Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.). Now it seems Sen. Merkley is trying to reverse the legislation after the massive outcry.

The “Monsanto Protection Act” is incredibly controversial because it allows Monsanto and similar companies to sell genetically engineered seeds even if a court order is issued to stop it.

A Merkley aide told the Huffington Post that Merkley will be pushing to get a floor vote on his amendment when the farm bill is taken up by the Senate next week.

Monsanto has won some major victories lately, not the least of which was the Monsanto Protection Act. The agricultural giant recently had the Supreme Court side with them over a landmark patent lawsuit and as a result, backed their notorious licensing agreement.

Just two days ago, a WikiLeaks cable revealed that Monsanto actually lobbied on the American taxpayers’ dime, further inflaming anti-Monsanto sentiment.

Yet the rider was even opposed on the floor of the Senate itself by Sen. John Tester (D-Mont.).

“The United States Congress is telling the Agricultural Department that even if a court tells you that you’ve failed to follow the right process and tells you to start over, you must disregard the court’s ruling and allow the crop to be planted anyway,” Tester said.

Yet according to Ryan Grim of the Huffington Post, “the chamber is typically empty, and his objection was not enough to block it from passage.”

Surprisingly, Monsanto has had one recent setback. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced that they ordered additional environmental impact statements for Monsanto’s new herbicide-resistant crops.

In response to the increasingly massive popular opposition to Monsanto, the corporation’s chairman and CEO Hugh Grant claimed that the critics are guilty of “reverse elitism.”

If Grant is right, that would mean that the thousands of people in countries around the world participating in the March Against Monsanto on May 25 are all guilty of ruining the opportunity to feed the world.

“This place is getting busier and more crowded,” Grant said. “As long as you’ve got money in your back pocket and you drive your station wagon to the supermarket on weekends, then it’s out of sight out of mind, so far.”

Grim writes that the farm bill rider was actually in response to federal courts recently ruling “that the U.S. Department of Agriculture had failed to consider the potential harm some genetically engineered crops may have, and acted too hastily in approving their sale.”

“The industry fought back with the farm bill rider, preventing the enforcement of court rulings,” Grim wrote.

If Merkley is successful, that could be completely reversed and companies like Monsanto could indeed be held accountable.

Given the sheer size of the opposition to Monsanto, which appears to only be growing across the political spectrum, Merkley’s quest very well may be a winnable one.

You can contact Merkley to show your support by calling his Washington D.C. office at (202) 224-3753 or finding the numbers for his offices in Bend, Eugene, Medford, Pendleton, Portland and Salem on his website. You can also send a comment through this form but letter writing and calling tends to have a much greater impact.

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This article first appeared at End the Lie.

Madison Ruppert is the Editor and Owner-Operator of the alternative news and analysis database End The Lie and has no affiliation with any NGO, political party, economic school, or other organization/cause. He is available for podcast and radio interviews. Madison also now has his own radio show on UCYTV Monday nights 7 PM – 9 PM PT/10 PM – 12 AM ET. Show page link here: http://UCY.TV/EndtheLie. If you have questions, comments, or corrections feel free to contact him at