Tell Your Reps: Strike “Farmer Assurance Provision”

Join OSA in opposing the so-called “farmer assurance provision” in the House Agriculture Appropriations bill. This provision is an assault on the safeguards of our judicial system, and represents an underhanded response to the successes that OSA and others have had in the courts when it comes to challenging the approval of GE crops.

Call your representatives today and ask them to oppose the “farmer assurance provision” (Sec. 733) in the FY 2013 Agriculture Appropriations bill. Find your representative here, or call the switchboard at: (202) 224-3121.

In 2010, OSA and other plaintiffs enjoyed a victory when a federal district judge vacated USDA’s approval of Roundup Ready (RR) sugar beets pending a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The decision meant that RR sugar beets were again a regulated crop and illegal to plant commercially. Since then, decisions have not been as encouraging. (Soon after, USDA granted “partial approval” for RR sugar beets, and recently the agency published its final EIS with a recommendation to fully commercialize the crop. The 30-day comment period ends July 9, 2012. You can submit comments here.)

Still, our success in court was an important step toward challenging the agency’s rubber stamp approval process for GE crops without adequate review. Up until these cases, no EIS had ever been conducted on a GE crop. That means potential agronomic, economic, and environmental effects of GE seed never received in-depth analysis before moving onto shelves and into fields. And, up until these cases, there had never been a court-ordered halt to the planting of GE crops, which is why this provision in the current House Agriculture Appropriations bill is so disturbing.

The provision would strip federal courts of the authority to halt the sale and planting of a GE crop that has been deemed illegal while USDA assesses its economic, environmental, and other potential impacts. It would also 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 risks. Far from safeguarding farmers, the only parties whose interests are “assured” by this rider are those of GE crop developers.

This entry was posted in Agricultural Policy, GMOs, Organic Seed Alliance, Seed Industry. Bookmark the permalink.