Anger over the "Monsanto Protection Act" is growing like an herbicide-resistant weed, fueled by news the rider was anonymously added to a U.S. budget bill in an apparent favor to biotech firms. The measure has made unlikely allies of Tea Party and environmental groups, inspired more than 250,000 people to sign a petition opposing it, and even prompted the head of the Senate Appropriations Committee to retroactively disavow it.
首先，它实际上不是孟山都保护法。其更正式的名称是“2013年合并和进一步持续拨款法”第735节，或H、 第933条，这是奥巴马总统上周签署成为法律的拨款法案。该法案避免了政府关门，但据报道，许多议员不知道735条款的存在。事实上，这一附加条款并没有经过正式的委员会听证会，而是在更大的法案在国会通过时匿名插入，引发了对不透明、串通和腐败的指控。它的起源仍然模糊不清，但密苏里州参议员罗伊·布朗特（Roy Blunt）从那时起就开始了told Politico他“与”孟山都“合作”以确保骑手的安全。
"[T]his all can be boiled down into a single, common phrase: a special interest loophole, and a doozy at that," writes Dustin Siggins, who blogs for Tea Party Patriots. "This is a situation in which a company is given the ability to ignore court orders, in what boils down to a deregulation scheme for a particular set of industries." Environmentalists and food-safety advocates have voiced similar concerns; the食品安全中心最近称这一附加条款是“对美国司法审查机构行为的前所未有的攻击”和“对三权分立的重大违反”
At issue are genetically modified organisms, orGMOs由孟山都和其他生物技术公司创建。虽然没有确凿的证据表明转基因生物会危害人类，但一些人担心未被发现的健康风险以及人造基因向野生植物传播的可能性，从而可能造成生态灾难。孟山都保护法的支持者更愿意称之为“农民保障条款”，他们说，这只是为了防止活动人士利用法院系统让农民废弃或销毁他们的转基因作物。”孟山都在一份声明中说：“据我们所知，农民保障条款的目的是要达成一个谨慎的平衡，允许农民在适当的环境保护措施下继续种植和培育他们的作物，同时美国农业部进行任何必要的进一步环境审查。”。
但批评人士说，国会屈服于生物技术游说团，他们认为，鉴于行业坚定的孟山都公司的成功，这一游说团尤其令人恼火。举例来说，就在本周，孟山都公布第二季度的净销售额增长了15%，达到55亿美元，该公司还将全年盈利预期上调了每股10美分。”他们的投资组合很棒，”一位金融分析师说tells the New York Times. "The seeds and genomics business is performing quite well." Nonetheless, the H.R. 933 rider essentially grants Monsanto temporary immunity from legal challenges to the safety of its seeds, setting what Siggins and other observers have called a "dangerous precedent."
Here's what Section 735 ofH、 第933条实际上他说：
The Plant Protection Actreferenced in the rider is a 2000 law regulating "plant pests," "noxious weeds" and "biological control organisms."
Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., took some early blame for the rider, including from the Center for Food Safety. "In this hidden backroom deal, Senator Mikulski turned her back on consumer, environmental, and farmer protection in favor of corporate welfare for biotech companies such as Monsanto," CFS executive director Andrew Kimbrell said in a statement on March 20. "This abuse of power is not the kind of leadership the public has come to expect from Senator Mikulski or the Democrat Majority in the Senate."
But several days later, Mikulski issued a新闻稿distancing herself from the measure. "Senator Mikulski understands the anger over this provision. She didn't put the language in the bill and doesn't support it either," the statement said. "It was originally part of the Agriculture Appropriations bill that the House Appropriations Committee reported in June 2012, and it became part of the joint House-Senate agreement completed in the Fall of 2012 before Senator Mikulski became Appropriations Chairwoman. That agreement was not reopened when the Agriculture bill and several others were included in the Continuing Appropriations Act to prevent a government shutdown."
The CFS has also softened its stance against Mikulski, recentlyacknowledging to the Baltimore Sunthat the rider originated before her ascension in the Appropriations Committee, and that she faced pressure to dodge a government shutdown. "Her hands were tied by the negotiations that had previously happened," CFS director of government affairs Colin O'Neil tells the Sun. "We recognize the tough spot she was in."
As much controversy as the provision has generated, though, it has a relatively short shelf life. Unless it's renewed by Congress this year — and the Senate Appropriations chairwoman is now on record saying she opposes it — the Monsanto Protection Act is slated to expire after six months, when the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30.