Anti-GMO activists all over the web are howling about the “Monsanto Protection Act,” that Congress “snuck in.” But there is no “Monsanto Protection Act.” They just made it up.
This didn’t come out of nowhere. It’s a result of the usual subjects–the anti-GMO misinformation mill–taking a piece of information, distorting it, inflating it, and then screaming and railing at their own gigantic straw man.
So where did they get this idea? What they call the “Monsanto Protection Act,” specifically refers to Section 735 of H.R. 933. Which reads as follows:
Sec. 735. In the event that a determination of non-regulated status made pursuant to section 411 of the Plant Protection Act is or has been invalidated or vacated, the Secretary of Agriculture shall, notwithstanding any other provision of law, upon request by a farmer, grower, farm operator, or producer, immediately grant temporary permit(s) or temporary deregulation in part, subject to necessary and appropriate conditions consistent with section 411(a) or 412(c) of the Plant Protection Act, which interim conditions shall authorize the movement, introduction, continued cultivation, commercialization and other specifically enumerated activities and requirements, including measures designed to mitigate or minimize potential adverse environmental effects, if any, relevant to the Secretary’s evaluation of the petition for non-regulated status, while ensuring that growers or other users are able to move, plant, cultivate, introduce into commerce and carry out other authorized activities in a timely manner: Provided, That all such conditions shall be applicable only for the interim period necessary for the Secretary to complete any required analyses or consultations related to the petition for non-regulated status: Provided further, That nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting the Secretary’s authority under section 411, 412 and 414 of the Plant Protection Act.
This basically says that if crops are found to be out of regulation for any reason whatsoever, the farmer can petition for their crops not to be immediately and summarily destroyed. Such a judgment of being out of regulation could happen for many different reasons, including bureaucratic failure, and this provision would allow the farmer to possibly not lose their crops to a tangle in the red tape. This could more accurately be framed as the “Farmer Protection from Regulatory Bungle Act.”
As Reddit user Hexaploit explained on an “Explain like I’m five” thread. (Or as Galaxy Quest villain Roth’h'ar Sarris might say, “Explain him as you would a child!”)
Genetically engineered crops are regulated. Once they get approved, farmers can grow them. However, if someone screws something up (like the environmental assessment), the approval can be revoked. This means farmers might be in the position of having crops that were legal when the planted them but illegal now. The thing everyone is up in arms about right now allows farmers to request that the USDA, if they deem it fit, to allow the planted crops to be grown as normal that season and not be destroyed until the GE crop in question can be officially cleared for cultivation again.
This thing isn’t to protect Monsanto, that’s just sensationalist nonsense, it is to protect farmers.
-user Hexaploid on Reddit
Here is a more detailed thread in which this is discussed on Reddit and thanks to these people for discussing it because the damn web is so choked up with hogwash from the GMO misinformation culture crying about this that it was somewhat difficult to find legitimate information parsing the source of this nonsense.
I don’t know why I didn’t check before, but it looks like Snopes took a look at this one, too. I take a little bit of an issue with them using the “mixed” tag because this is about as “mixed” as evolution is up for debate, but “we’vs” as the kids these days are wont to say.
This in no way represents a change in my viewpoint that calling it the “Monsanto Protection Act” is absurd, in case you were wondering.