It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that we regret to inform you that late last night President Barack Obama signed H.R. 933, which contained the Monsanto Protection Act into law. This is an outrage that will not go unanswered.
While we are still waiting to hear from the administration all the final details, we understand at this time that Section 735, the Monsanto biotech rider is intact.
President Obama knowingly signed the Monsanto Protection Act over the insistence of more than 250,000 Americans who signed an urgent letter asking that he use his executive authority to veto H.R. 933 and send it back to Congress to remove the Monsanto Protection Act from the bill. Regretfully, President Obama failed to live up to his oath to protect the American people and our constitution.
Today we’re calling on President Obama to issue an executive order to call for the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods.
Now that Congress has passed and President Obama has signed into law, the Monsanto Protection Act, Food Democracy Now! urgently requests that the President issue an executive order to support the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods.
We want to thank everyone who made tens of thousands of calls to Congress and the White House and we understand that people are upset, but now is not the time to be quiet!
If leadership in Washington DC can betray the public behind closed doors, it’s time that the American public gain the right to transparency about what they are eating and the food they’re feeding their families every day.
Not only is GMO labeling a reasonable and common sense solution to the continued controversy that corporations like Monsanto, DuPont and Dow Chemical have created by subverting our basic democratic rights, but it is a basic right that citizens in 62 other countries around the world already enjoy, including Europe, Russia, China, India, South Africa and Saudi Arabia.
In addition, mandatory labeling of GMO foods is something that President Obama promised while on the campaign trail in 2007 to Iowa farmers when he said on November 10, 2007 in Des Moines: “Here’s what I’ll do as president… we’ll let folks know whether their food has been genetically modified because Americans should know what they’re buying”.
It’s time that President Obama hold true to his campaign promise to Iowa farmers and the American people by issuing an executive order to label GMOs in our food products immediately. The American people need real leadership in Washington DC, not more backroom deals by corporate lobbyists that subvert our democracy.
We recognize that this is a time of great sadness for millions of Americans, but now is not the time to sit back and do nothing. We must act collectively to demand openness and transparency, not only in our government, but also in our food supply. It’s time that President Obama stand up for the American people and immediately issue a signing statement calling for the mandatory labeling of GMOs.
The passage of the Monsanto Protection Act is another sign of how out of touch Congress and the White House are with the sentiment of the America public. The insertion of the biotech rider in a backroom deal with corporate lobbyists and Senate leaders is a new low. Since losing a court case in 2010 to Center for Food Safety for the unlawful planting of GMO sugar beets, Monsanto and other biotech companies have been desperate to find a way around court mandated environmental impact statements required as a result of a U.S. district court’s ruling.
There is a fierce urgency in the fight over the Monsanto Protection Act for family farmers and food activists across the country as 13 new genetically engineered crops await approval at the USDA and AquaBounty’s GMO salmon could be approved in the FDA next month. The passage of this rider in an unrelated budget spending bill could open the floodgates for these new approvals, even if the budget agreement only last for the next six months.
Any new approvals could threaten the livelihoods of America’s farmers, as the approval of even a single one of these untested crops can lead to widespread contamination of farmers’ crops, bringing economic harm to farmers and contamination to our seed supply.
For the past year, family farm advocates and legal experts have fought to stop the Monsanto Protection Act, another special interest corporate giveaway that fundamentally undermines the federal courts’ ability to protect family farmers and the environment from potentially hazardous genetically engineered (GMO) crops that have not been proven safe.
We recognize that there are narrow-minded people out there who do not think that a 6-month provision that subverts our Constitution and judicial authority for another corporate handout to Monsanto is worth shutting down the federal government, but here at Food Democracy Now! we disagree.
We are greatly encouraged by the quarter million American people who have signed this letter and the tens of thousands of phone calls to Congress and the White House to demand that our basic rights are upheld by our elected officials, particularly our President. This is a sign of how urgent citizen participation is to maintaining a democracy.
Washington has failed us. It is clearer now than ever that “we are the ones that we’ve been waiting for”!
Thanks for participating in food democracy,
Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Now! team
1. “Obama Signs Monsanto Protection Act Into Law: Statement by the Press Secretary on the H.R. 933 On Tuesday, March 26, 2013, the President signed into law”
2. “H.R. 933: Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013”, passed Congress March 22, 2013 containing Section 735, Monsanto Protection Act.
Monsanto Protection Act language:
Sec. 735. 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.
3. “H.R. 933: Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year … (Concurring in the Senate Amendment)”, which contains Section 735, the Monsanto Protection Act passes Congress 318-109.