Blunt’s Resignation Could Prevent Extension of Law that Gives Monsanto Immunity from Federal Courts
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aprill 19, 2013
CONTACT: Organic Consumers Association,
Katherine Paul, 207.653.3090; or Zack Kaldveer, 510-938-2664
FINLAND, Minn. – The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) today called for Republican Sen. Roy Blunt to resign immediately. Sen. Blunt has admitted working with Monsanto lobbyists to write the Farmer Assurance Provision, dubbed the Monsanto Protection Act, a rider that rider strips federal courts of their power to stop Monsanto from planting unproven, potentially dangerous genetically engineered crops. Without any hearings, the provision was slipped into the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act 2013, and recently signed into law by President Obama.
“Roy Blunt should resign in disgrace,” said OCA National Director Ronnie Cummins. “The Monsanto Protection Act is an unconstitutional violation of the separation of powers. Judicial review is an essential element of U.S. law, providing a critical and impartial check on government decisions that may negatively impact human health, the environment or livelihoods. Though wrapped in a ‘farmer-friendly’ package, this corporate welfare earmark is simply a biotech industry ploy to continue to sell GE seeds even when a court of law has found they were illegally approved by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The “Monsanto Protection Act” would require – not just allow - the Secretary of Agriculture to grant a temporary permit for the planting or cultivation of a genetically engineered crop, even if a federal court has ordered the planting be halted until an Environmental Impact Statement is completed. All the farmer or the biotech producer has to do is ask, and the questionable crops could be released into the environment where they could potentially contaminate conventional or organic crops and, ultimately, the nation’s food supply.
Senator Blunt has been labeled "prodigious pork-meister" (Providence Journal), "Senator Earmark" (Wall Street Journal) and "Most Corrupt" (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington). Blunt, a Republican from Monsanto’s home state of Missouri, has also been called a magnet for PAC money from the agribusiness industry, raking in over $243,000 in 2010 alone.
This isn't the first time Blunt has slipped favors for campaign donors into unrelated legislation. In 2002, he unsuccessfully tried to insert a measure benefiting tobacco giant Philip Morris into the 475-page bill creating the Department of Homeland Security. At the time, Senator Blunt’s wife - Abigail Blunt - worked as a lobbyist for Philip Morris. She now lobbies for Kraft, Monsanto's ally in the successful effort to crush California’s popular effort to label genetically engineered foods.
The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act is an emergency spending bill that expires on Sept. 30, 2013. The OCA has called on Congress to ensure that the industry giveaway rider does not continue beyond that date.
Cummins said: “When Senator Blunt took office, he swore to ‘support and defend the Constitution.’ Yet by preventing the federal courts from reviewing USDA deregulatory actions on new genetically engineered crops, the Monsanto Protection Act is blatantly unconstitutional. Like the spending bill it’s attached to, this rider expires on Sept. 30, 2013. The best way to make sure it doesn’t survive is for Sen. Blunt to resign.”
The OCA is circulating a letter to Blunt, demanding his resignation.
The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. The Organic Consumers Fund is a 501(c)4 allied organization of the Organic Consumers Association, focused on grassroots lobbying and legislative action.