Posted September 26, 2013
A controversial legislative rider, which allows farmers to keep growing a genetically modified (GM) crop while being challenged in court, will expire on September 30 and will not be part of the U.S. Senate’s Continuing Resolution (CR), according to a Politico article available here.
The CR approved by the House last week extended the rider, but according to Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR), the “provision will be gone” in the Senate’s CR.
The rider included in the House CR, available here, contained “strong” language, directing the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, about how he should respond to future court cases involving GM seeds. The provision reads, "the Secretary of Agriculture shall, not withstanding any other provision of law, upon request by a farmer … immediately grant temporary permit(s) or temporary deregulation.” While Vilsack has championed the biotech industry, he was uncomfortable with what he saw as an effort to “pre-empt judicial review.”
Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) led an online petition to oppose the extension and worked with legislative leaders to ensure that the rider would expire, according to a Huffington Post article, available here. Sen. Merkley said, “This is a victory for all those who think special interests shouldn’t get special deals. This secret rider, which was slipped into a must-pass spending bill earlier this year, instructed the Secretary of Agriculture to allow GMO crops to be cultivated and sold even when our courts had found they posed a potential risk to farmers of nearby crops, the environment, and human health.”