Please see below the very clear article by Andy Kimbrell of the Center for
Food Safety in Huffington Post, explaining the difference between
Monsanto’s spin and the reality of the US Supreme Court decision against
Monsanto’s GM alfalfa. For more information please also see
(You can also write your MP at http://www.cban.ca/474action )
It should be no surprise that Monsanto’s PR machine is working hard to spin
the truth in this morning’s decision in the first-ever Supreme Court case on
genetically engineered crops (*Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Farms*). Despite
what the biotech seed giant is claiming, today’s ruling isn’t close to the
victory they were hoping for.
High court ruled that the ban on GMO alfalfa remains intact, and that the planting and sale of GMO alfalfa remains illegal.
The 7-1 decision issued today by the Supreme Court was on the appeal of the
Center for Food Safety’s (CFS) successful suit, which resulted in a ban on
GMO alfalfa. And, while the High Court ruled in favor of Monsanto by
reversing an injunction that was part of the lower court’s decision, more
importantly, it also ruled that the ban on GMO alfalfa remains intact, and
that the planting and sale of GMO alfalfa remains illegal.
This point, which seems to be lost in some news reports, is actually a huge
victory for the Center for Food Safety and – most importantly – for the
farmers and consumers who we represent.
The Supreme Court ruled that an injunction against planting was unnecessary since, under lower courts’ rulings, Roundup Ready Alfalfa became a regulated item and illegal to plant. In other words, the injunction was “overkill’ because our victory in lower federal court determined that USDA violated the National Environmental Policy Act and other environmental laws when it approved Roundup Ready alfalfa. The court felt that voiding the USDA’s decision to make the crop legally available for sale was enough.
A different ruling could have had far-reaching ramifications that might
have extended beyond our borders, affecting the health and status of world
markets for U.S. alfalfa, and impacting the fastest growing sector of the US
agriculture market – organic. But the court clearly saw that, and opted
instead to rule very narrowly.
And yet, Monsanto is out there in a public statement saying that they’ve won a great victory.
They claim that they’re ready to sell Roundup Ready Alfalfa seeds now, and that they hope that their farmers should be able to plant by fall 2010. It’s a canny statement, but neither of those potential situations is by any means possible at this point. The bottom line: the ban on planting Roundup Ready Alfalfa still stands.
The Center is victorious in this case in several other ways: most
importantly, the High Court did not rule on several arguments presented by
Monsanto about the application of federal environmental law. As a result,
the Court did not make any ruling that could have been hurtful to National
Environmental Policy Act or any other environmental laws. In addition, the
Court opinion supported the Center’s argument that gene flow is a serious
environmental and economic threat. This means that genetic contamination
from GMOs can still be considered harm under the law, both from an
environmental and economic perspective.
This Court opinion is in many ways a victory for the environment, the
Center for Food Safety, for farmers and for consumers and a defeat for
Monsanto’s hopes of a green light. To represent this opinion in any other way is just spin.