Dear Ms. Lincoln :
Thank you for writing me concerning genetically modified food. It was good to hear from you.
As you know, genetically modified foods are food products derived from plants or animals that have been genetically altered to improve production or increase nutritional value. These products may provide unique benefits, but they have also raised a number of unresolved questions regarding environmental impacts. As the science is not yet conclusive, many nations across the globe have implement ed trade restrictions on genetically modified food. Washington state is a significant agricultural exporter and a place where growers and producers have to make hard choices between genetic advances in productivity and access to markets that resist these products.
On March 26, 2013, H.R. 933, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013 , was signed into law by President Obama. The bill was passed in order to prevent a government shutdown by providing funding to federal ag encies for the remainder of fiscal year 2013 . Section 735 of the law directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to allow farmers to continue planning, purchasing, and planting USDA approved genetically modified crops undergoing a court challenge until there is a final decision in court regarding their use . This section expired on September 30, and was not included in the fiscal year 2014 funding bill.
Thank you again for contacting me about this important issue . If you would like to know more about my work in the Senate, please feel free to sign up for my weekly updates at http://www.murray.senate.gov/updates
Again, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me.
United States Senator
Thank you for contacting me to share your concerns regarding the Monsanto Protection Act. I appreciate hearing from you on this issue. I am happy to inform you that, after a long effort to end this dangerous policy, Congress blocked the Monsanto Protection Act from continuing in law.
I share your concerns about the negative impacts that genetically engineered crops could have on our environment and food production systems, and I support the government's ability to thoroughly review them. That is why I was disturbed when the Monsanto Protection Act, which stripped that ability, was added to a bill to keep the government funded in March of 2013. After learning of this secret provision at town hall meetings, I initiated an effort to repeal this provision.
I introduced an amendment to the Senate Farm Bill to repeal the Monsanto Protection Act, and the Chair of the Agriculture Committee committed to oppose continuing it in the Farm Bill. When the House tried to extend the Monsanto Protection Act in its version of the government funding bill, I led an effort to make sure the Senate would block that from happening. I am pleased that the Monsanto Protection Act has now expired.
Thanks, again, for your input. I hope you will keep sending your thoughts and observations my way.
All my best,
Jeffrey A. Merkley
United States Senator