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Islander
12-26-10, 10:26 PM
I am trying to track down the outcome of this Supreme court case. Odd that it seems to have gone *poof*....

http://www.celsias.com
Posted on March 11, 2010

In Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Farms, No. 09-475, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case which could have an enormous effect on the future of the American food industry. This is Monsanto's third appeal of the case, and if they win a favorable ruling from the high court, a deregulated Monsanto may find itself in position to corner the markets of numerous U.S. crops, and to litigate conventional farmers into oblivion.

Here's where it gets a bit dicier. Two Supreme Court justices have what appear to be direct conflicts of interest.

Stephen Breyer
Charles Breyer, the judge who ruled in the original decision of 2007 which is being appealed, is Stephen Breyer's brother, who apparently views this as a conflict of interest and has recused himself.

Clarence Thomas
From the years 1976 - 1979, Thomas worked as an attorney for Monsanto. Thomas apparently does not see this as a conflict of interest and has not recused himself.

Fox, meet henhouse.


The lawsuit was filed by plantiffs which include the Center for Food Safety, the National Family Farm Coalition, Sierra Club, Dakota Resources Council and other farm, environmental and consumer groups and individual farmers. The original decision :

The federal district court in California issued its opinion on the deregulation of “Roundup Ready” alfalfa pursuant to the Plant Protection Act on February 13, 2007. Upon receiving Monsanto’s petition for deregulation of the alfalfa seed, APHIS conducted an Environmental Assessment and received over 500 comments in opposition to the deregulation. The opposition’s primary concern was the potential of contamination. APHIS, however, made a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) and approved the deregulation petition, thereby allowing the seed to be sold without USDA oversight. Geertson Seed Farms, joined by a number of growers and associations, filed claims under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) as well as the Endangered Species Act and Plant Protection Act. In regards to NEPA, they argued that the agency should have prepared an EIS for the deregulation.

Addressing only the NEPA claims, the court agreed that APHIS should have conducted an EIS because of the significant environmental impact posed by deregulation of the alfalfa seed. A realistic potential for contamination existed, said the court, but the agency had not fully inquired into the extent of this potential. The court also determined that APHIS did not adequately examine the potential effects of Roundup Ready alfalfa on organic farming and the development of glyphosate-resistant weeds and that there were “substantial questions” raised by the deregulation petition that the agency should have addressed in an EIS. Concluding that the question of whether the introduction of the genetically engineered alfalfa and its potential to affect non-genetic alfalfa posed a significant environmental impact necessitated further study, the court found that APHIS’s decision was “arbitrary and capricious” and ordered the agency to prepare an EIS. The court later enjoined the planting of Roundup Ready alfalfa from March 30, 2007, until completion of the EIS and reconsideration of the deregulation petition, except for those farmers who had already purchased the seed. In May of 2007, the court enjoined any future planting of the alfalfa. An order by the court in June, 2007 required disclosure of all Roundup Ready planting sites.

Monsanto filed appeals in 2008 and 2009. In both instances, they were unsuccessful in having the original decision reversed, so they appealed to the Supreme Court, who agreed to hear the case.

Alfalfa is the fourth most widely grown crop in the United States, behind corn, soybeans, and wheat.

0.67em; margin-left: 0px; line-height: 1.5em;">South Dakota alfalfa farmer Pat Trask, one of the plaintiffs, said Monsanto's biotech alfalfa would ruin his conventional alfalfa seed business because it was certain his 9,000 acres would be contaminated by the biotech genes.

Alfalfa is very easily cross-pollinated by bees and by wind. The plant is also perennial, meaning GMO plants could live on for years.

"The way this spreads so far and wide, it will eliminate the conventional alfalfa industry," said Trask. "Monsanto will own the entire alfalfa industry."

Monsanto has a policy of filing lawsuits or taking other legal actions against farmers who harvest crops that show the presence of the company's patented gene technology. It has sued farmers even when they have tried to keep their own fields free from contamination by biotech plants on neighbouring farms.

The case has implications beyond alfalfa crops. About eight hundred reviewed genetically engineered food applications were submitted to the USDA, yet no environmental impact statements were prepared. Even as this diary is being written, a federal judge in San Francisco is reviewing a similar case involving genetically modified sugar beets. The decision is expected this week and could halt planting and use of the gm sugar beets, which account for half of America's sugar supply.

Back to the Supreme Court case, oral argument is slated to begin on April 27, 2010. With Breyer recused and Thomas opting not to recuse, the bench appears to be heavily tilted to Monsanto.

Once more with feeling. Fox, meet henhouse.

http://www.celsias.com/article/ex-monsanto-lawyer-clarence-thomas-hear-major-mons/

Islander
12-26-10, 10:27 PM
Found it!

Supreme Court Ruling in Monsanto Case is Victory for Center for Food Safety, Farmers (http://truefoodnow.org/2010/06/21/supreme-court-ruling-in-monsanto-case-is-victory-for-center-for-food-safety-farmers/)

Posted on June 21, 2010 by Heather
High Court Delivers Ruling that Leaves Ban on Planting of Roundup Ready Alfalfa in Place in First-Ever Case on a Genetically-Engineered Crop
http://truefoodnow.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/george-sc-press.jpg?w=112&h=150CFS staff attorney George Kimbrell speaks to members of the press after Tuesday's Supreme Court hearing

The Center for Food Safety today celebrated the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Monsanto v. Geertson Farms, the first genetically modified crop case ever brought before the Supreme Court. Although the High Court decision reverses parts of the lower courts’ rulings, the judgment holds that a vacatur bars the planting of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Alfalfa until and unless future deregulation occurs. It is a victory for the Center for Food Safety and the Farmers and Consumers it represents.
“The Justices’ decision today means that the selling and planting of Roundup Ready Alfalfa is illegal. The ban on the crop will remain in place until a full and adequate EIS is prepared by USDA and they officially deregulate the crop. This is a year or more away according to the agency, and even then, a deregulation move may be subject to further litigation if the agency’s analysis is not adequate,” said Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety. “In sum, it’s a significant victory in our ongoing fight to protect farmer and consumer choice, the environment and the organic industry.”


(http://getsocialserver.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/gs2004.png?w=468)[/URL]
In the majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito, the Court held: “In sum…the vacatur of APHIS’s deregulation decision means that virtually no RRA (Roundup Ready Alfalfa) can be grown or sold until such time as a new deregulation decision is in place, and we also know that any party aggrieved by a hypothetical future deregulation decision will have ample opportunity to challenge it, and to seek appropriate preliminary relief, if and when such a decision is made.” (Opinion at p. 22).

The Court also held that:
Any further attempt to commercialize RRA even in part may require an EIS subject to legal challenge.
The Court further recognized that the threat of transgenic contamination is harmful and onerous to organic and conventional farmers and that the injury allows them to challenge future biotech crop commercializations in court.USDA indicated at the Supreme Court argument that full deregulation is about a year away and that they will not pursue a partial deregulation in the interim. Any new attempt at deregulation in full or part will be subject to legal challenge.
“The bottom line is that the Supreme Court set aside the injunction because the vacating of the commercialization decision already gave us all the relief we needed, by forbidding RRA planting until a new decision is made by the agency. And at such time, farmers and consumers still have the right to challenge the adequacy of that process.” said George Kimbrell, senior staff attorney for CFS. “The Court’s decision affirmed that the threat of genetic contamination of natural plants posed by biotech crops is an issue of significant environmental concern now and in the future.”

In this case, CFS faced off against powerful opposing entities, including the Department of Agriculture and the agricultural biotech giant, Monsanto Corporation. The Center and the other respondents were supported by a broad array of diverse interests, marshalling no less than seven amicus briefs in support. The amici included three states’ attorneys general, leading scientific experts, legal scholars, former government officials, farmers, exporters, environmental groups, food companies and organic industry trade groups. The Organic Trade association and companies like Stonyfield Farms, Cliff Bar and Eden Foods voiced united concern over the threat a ruling for Monsanto would pose to the organic food businesses, the fastest growing sector in the American food industry. Attorneys general from California, Oregon and Massachusetts filed a brief on behalf of their citizens emphasizing “the States’ interests in protecting the environment, their natural resources and their citizens’ rights to be informed about the environmental impacts of federal actions.” A full list of the more than sixty organizations, companies and individuals who filed briefs in support of CFS and opposed to Monsanto can be viewed at http://truefoodnow.org/publications/supreme-court-briefs/.

Monsanto was supported by a bloc of powerful corporate interests and industry groups, including the American Farm Bureau, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the American Petroleum Institute, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and CropLife America.

The environmental, health, cultural, and economic impacts of the genetically-engineered alfalfa seed, which is designed to be immune to Monsanto’s flagship herbicide Roundup, and the USDA’s plan to commercialize it, was at the heart of this dispute since 2006, when CFS filed a lawsuit against the USDA on behalf of a coalition of non-profits and farmers who wanted to retain the choice to grow non-GE alfalfa. Central to the issue is unwanted transgenetic drift: GE alfalfa can spread uncontrollably by way of bees that can cross-pollinate plants many miles away, contaminating both conventional and organic alfalfa with foreign DNA, patented by Monsanto.
“We brought this case to court because I and other conventional farmers will no doubt suffer irreversible economic harm if the planting of GE alfalfa is allowed,” said plaintiff Phil Geerston. “It was simply a question of our survival, and though we did not win on all points of the law, we are grateful that the practical result of today’s ruling is that Monsanto cannot take away our rights and Roundup Ready alfalfa cannot threaten our livelihoods.”
Alfalfa is the fourth most widely grown crop in the U.S., and a key source of dairy forage. Organic and conventional farmers faced the loss of their businesses due to widespread contamination from Monsanto’s patented GE alfalfa, and the foreseeable contamination of feral or wild alfalfa would ensure an ongoing and permanent source of transgenic pollution in wild places akin to that of invasive species.

Roundup Ready alfalfa would also increase Roundup use and thereby exacerbate the serious, ongoing epidemic of glyphosate-resistant superweeds. As recently discussed in [URL="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/04/business/energy-environment/04weed.html"]the New York Times (http://getsocialserver.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/gs2114.png?w=468) and Wall Street Journal (http://www.hawaiiseed.org/downloads/articles/GMO-superweeds-herbicides-WSJ-6-4-10.pdf), superweeds lead to increased use of toxic herbicides, more soil-eroding tillage and higher production costs for farmers. If allowed to spread, they could reduce food production and lead to higher food prices. USDA has failed to take superweeds seriously or propose any means to address them.
Further background information on the history of this case and scientific studies are available at http://truefoodnow.org/publications/supreme-court-briefs/. The Supreme Court decision can be viewed here: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/09-475.pdf

# # #
The Center for Food Safety is national, non-profit, membership organization, founded in 1997, that works to protect human health and the environment by curbing the use of harmful food production technologies and by promoting organic and other forms of sustainable agriculture. On the web at: http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org (http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/)

http://tinyurl.com/2b6q8al

Artemis
12-27-10, 09:39 AM
I live in farm country and it breaks my heart to see so many farmers using Roundup on everything. Every time I talk to the gardening society about problems I might be having in my garden, someone recommends I use Roundup. It takes up a whole aisle at the feed store.

Monsanto is evil.