Re: Monsanto Protection Act


Monsanto-hatred is probably justified in general, but the reaction to this particular bit of legislation seems way off base. Some decent discussion and links here:
The legislation itself seems to be a tweak to the back-and-forth of regulatory approval of a GMO crop and possible revocation of that approval, and gives an option to petition the USDA in the event of revocation.

Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 03-28-13 9:55 AM
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1: That was more or less my initial read on going to the legislation itself. Seemed relatively innocuous, and not at all targeted at GMOs or litigation thereon. But I don't know any of the legislative or regulatory background so it's possible I'm missing some coded language, a la creationism legislation.

Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-28-13 10:08 AM
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I could very well be wrong but I think the link in 1 is a little too sanguine. I think what this provision means is that if the USDA determines that X* doesn't need to be regulated, and someone goes to court and convinces the court that the USDA wrongly granted that non-regulated status,** the USDA can just go ahead and keep X unregulated on an interim basis while the agency reconsiders the issue. It's not at all uncommon agency practice, and Congress often enough specifically authorizes the practice. But I don't think it's as simple as the badskeptic guy suggests and if Monsanto likes it there's every reason to think it will be used to bad ends.

The tell here--again, if I'm parsing all this right, which there's a good chance I'm not--is that it's a one-way ratchet. If a court decides USDA is being too generous to Monsanto (or whoever), USDA can keep up the generosity notwithstanding what the court says; but if a court decides USDA isn't being generous enough to Monsanto, well, then, this provision says nothing about that and the agency presumably has to sit up and listen.

Probably not to sky-is-falling levels of bad compared to the baseline, but certainly a move in a deregulatory direction and that's generally a bad direction.

*I'm not clear what X is; seems to be "plant pests" but I'm guessing that's been construed to encompass (some?) GMO crops.

**Which almost certainly would be because the USDA didn't do its homework in sufficient detail, so to speak; far less likely that a court would hold that the agency's decision was flat-out wrong and that X could not possibly go unregulated.

Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 03-28-13 10:26 AM
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I'm going to go out on a limb and say that any law with a name like that is bad, even if there's nothing to it but a nonbinding resolution that the Yankees suck.

Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-28-13 2:08 PM
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Stories about this that or the other provision being snuck into big legislation, and no one even knew it was there, usually trip my bullshit meter. This was no exception:

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., tried to overturn both on the Senate floor but was unsuccessful. He was joined by fellow Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.; Tim Johnson, D-S.D.; and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

I suppose this sort of process story is effective for getting certain people riled up, but really now, the exact provision was debated on the floor. Presumably during the "Vote-a-rama" they had.

Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-28-13 4:06 PM
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