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The controversial earmark better known as the Monsanto Protection Act has been extended for three more months, reports the Center for Food Safety.

The rider initially passed last spring and gave Monsanto and other biotech companies six months protection from federal courts over the planting of genetically engineered crops. In essence, according to a statement of the CFS website, “the Monsanto-driven rider remains simply a biotech industry ploy to continue to plant GE crops even when a court of law has found they were approved illegally.”

The rider protects the biotech industry, allowing them to plant crops even if the USDA hasn’t fully considered the environmental or economic risks to farmers, says CFS.

Monsanto has ready been planting genetically modified dicamba resistant soybeans ahead of a pending USDA approval, expected just days after the announcement came that the rider (H.R. 933) had been expected for three more months. “If a GE crop approval was shown to violate the law and require further analysis of its harmful impacts (as several courts have concluded in recent years in our cases) this provision could override any court-mandated caution and could instead allow continued planting, reports CFS. “Further, it forces USDA to approve permits for such continued planting immediately, putting industry completely in charge by allowing for a ‘back door approval’ mechanism.”

The CFS says its efforts in fighting for farmers rights against the biotech giants spurred the creation of the Monsanto Protection Act. “It is a direct attack on the successful cases Center for Food Safety has fought and won on behalf of our members and farmers that have forced our government agencies to take the hard look at the risks of GE crop approvals that the law requires.”

The Center for Food Safety is urging concerned Americans to ask their Congress members to urge the Senate and House to exclude the rider from the next spending bill. An online form can be found here.

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Image: USDA