Pres. Obama inked his name to H.R. 933, a continuing resolution spending bill approved in Congress days earlier. Buried 78 pages within the bill exists a provision that grossly protected biotech corporations such as the California-based Monsanto Company from litigation.
With the president’s signature, agriculture giants that deal with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and genetically engineered (GE) seeds were given the go-ahead to continue to plant and sell man-made crops, even as questions remained largely unanswered about the health risks these types of products pose to consumers.
In light of approval from the House and Senate, more than 250,000 people signed a petition asking the president to veto the spending bill over the biotech rider tacked on, an item that has since been widely referred to as the “Monsanto Protection Act.”
“But Obama ignored [the petition],” IB Times’ Connor Sheets wrote, “instead choosing to sign a bill that effectively bars federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of GMO or GE crops and seeds, no matter what health consequences from the consumption of these products may come to light in the future.”
James Brumley, a reporter for Investor Place, explained a little more thoroughly just how dangerous the rider is now that biotech companies are allowed to bypass judicial scrutiny. Up until it was signed, he wrote, “the USDA [US Department of Agriculture] oversaw and approved (or denied) the testing of genetically modified seeds, while the federal courts retained the authority to halt the testing or sale of these plants if it felt that public health was being jeopardized. With H.R. 933 now a law, however, the court system no longer has the right to step in and protect the consumer.”
If the president’s signature wasn’t all that surprising, though, consider the genesis of the bill itself. US Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) “worked with Monsanto to craft the language in the bill.”