[Local_activists] Monsanto Takes Center for Food Safety Legal Victory to Highest Court about the risks of genetically engineered crops.

Raging Grannie (Wanda B) wsb70 at comcast.net
Sat Jan 16 15:22:52 PST 2010


The need all the help they can get to fight Monsanto

THE TRUE FOOD NETWORK - http://truefoodnow.org/


Breaking News: Monsanto Takes Center for Food 
Safety Legal Victory to Highest Court

(January 15, 2010) Today, the U.S. Supreme Court 
decided to hear a first-time case about the risks 
of genetically engineered crops.  Named Monsanto 
v. Geertson Seed Farms, No. 09-475, the case 
before the high court will be yet another step in 
an ongoing battle waged by the Center for Food 
Safety to protect consumers and the environment 
from potentially harmful effects of genetically engineered (GE) crops.

The modified alfalfa seed at the heart of the 
dispute has been engineered to be immune to 
Monsanto’s flagship herbicide Roundup. Monsanto 
intervened in a 2007 federal district court 
ruling that the Department of Agriculture’s 
approval of GE alfalfa was illegal.  The Center 
for Food Safety (CFS) filed a 2006 lawsuit on 
behalf of a coalition of non-profits and farmers 
who wished to retain the choice to plant non-GE 
alfalfa. CFS was victorious in this case – in 
addition CFS has won two appeals by Monsanto in 
the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit: in 
2008 and again in 2009. Now, upon Monsanto’s 
insistence, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case.

“This is truly a ‘David versus Goliath’ struggle, 
between public interest non-profits and a 
corporation bent on nothing less than domination 
of our food system,” said Andrew Kimbrell, 
executive director of the Center for Food Safety. 
“That Monsanto has pushed this case all the way 
to the Supreme Court, even though USDA’s 
court-ordered analysis is now complete, and the 
U.S. government actively opposed further 
litigation in this matter, underscores the great 
lengths that Monsanto will go to further its 
mission of patent control of our food system and selling more pesticides.”

The federal district court required the 
Department of Agriculture to undertake an 
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) assessing 
the impacts of the crop on the environment and on 
farmers; the first time the U.S. government had 
ever undertaken such analysis for any GE 
crop.  The court permitted farmers that had 
already planted to continue, but halted any 
further planting pending the agency’s 
re-assessment.  That the EIS was required is not 
in dispute; the legal issue is only the scope of 
relief while USDA analyzed the impacts of the crop for the first time.

In October 2009 Monsanto asked the Supreme Court 
to hear further arguments. In response, the 
Center and the U.S. government separately opposed 
that request the following December.  USDA 
completed the first draft of the EIS in December 2009.

“Although we believe a further hearing is 
unnecessary, we are confident we will again 
prevail, as the lower courts have already three 
times determined,” continued Kimbrell. “We hope 
that this grand stage will further inform the 
public, policymakers and the media about the 
significant risks of genetically engineered crops 
and the vital need to protect farmers and the environment.”

Alfalfa is the fourth most widely grown crop in 
the U.S. and a key source of dairy forage. It is 
the first perennial crop to be genetically 
engineered.  It is open-pollinated by bees, which 
can cross-pollinate at distances of several 
miles, spreading the patented, foreign DNA to 
conventional and organic crops.  Such biological 
contamination threatens the livelihood of organic 
farmers and dairies, since the U.S. Organic 
standard prohibits genetic engineering, and 
alfalfa exporters, since most overseas 
governments also reject GE-contaminated crops.

“We trust the Supreme Court will uphold farmers 
right to choose their crop of choice and protect 
us from the constant fear of contamination from 
GE crops,” said Phil Geertson, an alfalfa farmer based in Idaho.

Related:

A 2009 
<http://truefoodnow.org/2009/11/17/new-report-reveals-dramatic-rise-in-pesticide-use-on-genetically-engineered-ge-crops-due-to-the-spread-of-resistant-weeds/>study 
showed that the use of genetically modified 
crops, the vast majority Monsanto’s “roundup 
ready” crops, has caused over the last 13 years a 
dramatic increase in herbicide use, by 383 
million pounds, and concomitant harms to the environment and human health.

The U.S. Department of Justice has undertaken an 
<http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/10/08/business/main5372772.shtml>investigation 
of Monsanto regarding violations of anti-trust 
and monopoly laws and is set to hold public hearings in spring 2010.

Another 2009 
<http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/science_and_impacts/science/failure-to-yield.html>study 
showed that, despite decades of promises and 
hype, GE crops do not increase yields.

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“If we do not do the impossible, we shall be 
faced with the unthinkable.”  social philosopher Murray Bookchin




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