By Cassandra Anderson
July 29, 2011
The USDA, FDA and EPA favor corporations over human health and the environment, especially when it comes to genetically engineered (GE) organisms.
Contemporary law is no longer based on the Constitution and common law, but has been replaced by case law precedents. The GE alfalfa case (Forage Genetics and Monsanto v Geertson Seed Farms) is disturbing because it appears that a dangerous precedent has been set.
Alfalfa is a perennial plant that lives more than 2 years, so it is especially prone to contamination. The USDA deregulated or allowed open, restriction-free planting of of GE alfalfa on January 27, 2011. The Center for Food Safety (the lawyers opposing Monsanto and Forage Genetics) filed a lawsuit on March 19, 2011, and the case will not be heard until December 2011.
GE alfalfa has been allowed to be planted openly since Spring 2011 and will contaminate conventional and organic alfalfa fields as well as polluting the organic dairy and meat markets because it is used primarily for animal feed. GE alfalfa is pointless because over 90% of alfalfa grown in the US needs no herbicide, so the purpose of GE alfalfa appears to be the contamination of natural alfalfa for profit and to create a monopoly as alfalfa is the 4th largest crop in the US.
An overwhelming amount of incompetence surrounds this case.
TIMELINE OF EVENTS:
the USDA's sub-agency APHIS (Animal and Health Inspection Service) deregulated GE alfalfa, but the USDA/APHIS failed to perform an Environmental Impact Statement, in violation of NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act), so the Center for Food Safety filed a lawsuit against the USDA/APHIS.
The Center for Food Safety could have challenged the authority of the USDA/APHIS under the 10th Amendment. The States may also challenge the authority of the USDA/APHIS.
Judge Breyer of the US District Federal Court placed a blanket nationwide injunction against future planting of GE alfalfa, which was intended to remain in place until the USDA/APHIS completed the required Environmental Impact Statement.
However, the injunction was incomplete because Judge Breyer failed to hold an evidentiary hearing. An evidentiary hearing would have resolved the disputes over risks to the environment that the USDA/APHIS would have to consider in their Environmental Impact Statement. And it would have exposed information and entered it into the court record.
Judge Breyer determined that an evidentiary hearing was not required. Judge Breyer received his law degree in 1966 and should have known that the Supreme court would overturn his injunction because there was no evidentiary hearing (page 68, footnote #17). He also should have known that it would be temporary.
Monsanto and Forage Genetics requested an evidentiary hearing, but Judge Breyer rejected the request.
When we contacted the Center for food Safety a few weeks ago, we were advised that they did not believe that an evidentiary hearing was necessary.
We were advised by an insider that the intent was to quickly implement an injunction to stop the planting of GE alfalfa before the next planting season.A legal expert advised that the Center for food Safety could have brought a suit against the USDA as an agency for failure to perform necessary duties, protection of public health and safety and the misuse of public office to benefit themselves and those whom they have contracted with, such as Monsanto, their business partner in the 'Terminator' seed patent. This type of lawsuit could have made the temporary injunction permanent.
The Supreme Court bounced the case right back down to Breyer's court in its ruling on June 21, 2010. The Supreme Court ruled that the blanket injunction was too broad.
The Center for Food Safety should have acted immediately and filed a Notice for Hearing on the injunction. The Center for Food Safety failed to follow through on this action.
USDA/APHIS announced that they planned to complete the Environmental Impact Statement before the next Spring planting. This implies their intent to deregulate GE alfalfa, otherwise, there would have been no rush.
USDA/APHIS completed its Environmental Impact Statement and then deregulated GE alfalfa on January 27, 2011.
The Center for Food Safety filed a new lawsuit on March 18, 2011 against the USDA. Judge Breyer refused to take the case indicating that this new lawsuit is unrelated to the last one.
The new lawsuit won't be heard until December by Judge Conti, 89. Conti has refused to impose an injunction against GE alfalfa.
After speaking with several attorneys, the consensus is that there were a number of errors and more effective actions that could have been taken as outlined below:
1. Judge Breyer should have held an evidentiary hearing.
2. The Center for Food Safety appears to have dropped the ball by failing to request an evidentiary hearing and then failing to follow up with a Notice for Hearing on the injunction that the Supreme Court lifted in their ruling in June 2010.
3. The Center for Food Safety would have been more efficient if they had filed a civil lawsuit against the USDA/APHIS office holders for contracting against the state and its citizens for harm and damage.
4. The Center for Food Safety or the farmers collectively could have filed a Constitutional tort against USDA/APHIS for intent to benefit economically. The USDA/APHIS are knowingly allowing an uncontrollable invasive seed line to spread on behalf of corporate contractors that impedes free trade and harms farmers whose crops will become involuntarily contaminated.
5. The authority of the USDA and APHIS should be challenged under the Tenth Amendment.
6. The Supreme Court could have extended the injunction until litigation was complete, requiring evidence to be entered into the court records.
GE alfalfa has been openly planted across the US beginning in Spring 2011 and will be continued to be planted until there is follow up action on the original lawsuit or an injunction is obtained through the second lawsuit scheduled for hearing in December. So, by the time a decision is reached, it will likely be too late and GE alfalfa may contaminate natural alfalfa crops across the US forever.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
The Center for Food Safety appears to have a profound conflict-of-interest because they have received funding, year after year, from the Rockefellers who are longtime promoters and financiers of GE food.
Tax forms from Guidestar.org show that the Center for Food Safety, a 'non-profit' organization (NPO), has received funding from the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors Foundation for $75,000 in 2008 and and the Center for Food Safety's sister organization, the International Center for Technology Assessment received $147,000 from the Rockefeller Family Fund in 2008. Both NPO organizations share funding and board members. The Rockefellers have been the primary financiers of GE food. The Rockefellers have also manipulated agriculture worldwide for profit and control over decades, as William F. Engdahl chronicles in his book "Seeds of Destruction".
The Center for Food Safety and its sister agency, the International Center for Technology Assessment, through shared funding, have received grants from the Turner Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation and the Center for Deep Ecology that have supported depopulation.
The powder puff opposition to GE products may be a result of incompetence, but the financial support of the Center for Food Safety by the Rockefellers appears dubious.
What can be done now? An independent law firm and farmers could file lawsuits against the USDA/APHIS for contracting against the state and citizens, a Constitutional tort against USDA/APHIS could be filed against their intent to benefit economically and a Notice for Hearing over the original case could go back to Breyer's court. Lastly, the authority of USDA/APHIS could be challenged (see items 2-5 under "assessment"). The States also have the right to challenge the authority of USDA/APHIS under the Tenth.