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Merkley Introduces Amendment To Close GMO 'Loophole'

OPB | May 21, 2013 2:03 p.m. | Updated: May 21, 2013 4:17 p.m. | Bend, Oregon

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Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley has introduced an amendment to the Farm Bill that would weed out what he says is a “special interest loophole” for large agribusinesses dealing in genetically modified crops.

The rider Merkley seeks to undo, was tacked anonymously on to an emergency spending bill passed by Congress this March. 

That provision strips courts of the power to block the planting of a genetically modified crop that’s been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

That situation played out most recently in 2010, when a federal judge blocked the cultivation of Monsanto’s Roundup resistant sugar beets after the court determined the USDA conducted an insufficient environmental review.

Although the rider does not mention the company by name, Merkley and other critics have dubbed it, “the Monsanto Protection Act.”

“It’s in such a format, if you read it, you’d have a very hard time figuring out what it meant.  I think the first sentence is about a hundred words long with so many commas you have no idea what’s going on,” said Merkley.

Barring any Congressional action, the rider will lapse on its own at the end of September. Monsanto did not respond to a request for comment.


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