URGENT CALL TO ACTION: IMMEDIATELY CONTACT your REPRESENTATIVE regarding A BIOTECH RIDER on the Omnibus Funding Package – could be voted on this week
The intention of the Biotech Section 733: Imagine that a GE (Genetically Engineered) new corn seed is deemed potentially dangerous and even unlawful but the Federal courts system is prohibited from imposing restrictions on planting or use of it in our food supply. The Biotech rider is proposed to become part of the “Fiscal Cliff” Omnibus Funding package unless you help educate your representative. 26 House of Representative Members have signed a Congressional letter expressing the dangers of this action – more signatures are needed. Please phone your Representatives or fax a handwritten letter. Ask that they back Rep. Peter Defazio’s letter opposing the Biotech Rider (the Representative numbers are at http://www.house.gov/representatives/)
Rep. Peter Defazio’s Letter Opposing Biotech Rider in Omnibus Bill:
I am deeply concerned about a dangerous policy rider intended to weaken the ability of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the judicial branch to protect our nation’s agriculture sector. I urge you to join me in opposing the inclusion of Section 733 in H.R. 5973, the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2013 in any omnibus spending bill.
In recent years, U.S. federal courts have ruled that several USDA approvals of genetically engineered (GE) crops violated the law and required further study of their economic, health and environmental impacts. These judgments indicated that continued planting may cause harm to the environment and/or farmers and ordered interim planting restrictions on future plantings, while allowing continued cultivation of those already planted, pending further USDA analysis and consideration.
Section 733 is specifically intended to:
• Prohibit federal courts from imposing reasonable restrictions when a GE crop approval is deemed unlawful and potentially hazardous;
• Eliminate the critical roles of our most important environmental laws;
• Remove federal agency discretion over GE crop approvals; and
• Establish a backdoor approval mechanism for unlawfully approved GE crops
With such a provision in place, USDA would be ill-equipped and, potentially, incapable of avoiding costly and far-reaching disruptions of the domestic and export supply chain, which can cost American farmers, exporters and food manufacturers billions of dollars in losses. This could undermine the confidence of export partners in the scientific integrity of U.S. regulation of agricultural biotechnology and could create uncertainty about the ability of the U.S. supply chain to meet international standards.
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. Inclusion of this rider is a brazen overreach into the authority of the independent judiciary and its ability to protect the rights of all Americans.
Please join me in opposing the inclusion of Section 733 in any future omnibus spending bill. If you have any questions or would like to sign onto the letter please contact Megan DeBates in my office at firstname.lastname@example.org (5-6416).
Member of Congress