Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Biotech Alfalfa


The following is an article from Feedstuffs



Jacqui Fatka


This morning the U.S. Supreme court ruled favorably on the side of Monsanto in the case, Monsanto Co. vs. Geertson Seed Farms, that centers on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s procedures in approving biotech alfalfa.

In the lower court case, environmental groups and individual organic alfalfa farmers sued USDA, claiming its decision to grant deregulated status to glyphosate-tolerant (Roundup Ready) alfalfa violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

The ninth circuit court determined that USDA should have done an environmental impact statement before making the deregulation decision, and the court ultimately halted almost all planting and sales of Roundup Ready alfalfa pending issuance of the impact statement.

The highest court said the District Court “erred in entering the nationwide injunction against planting RRA, for two independent reasons. First, because it was inappropriate for the District Court to foreclose even the possibility of a partial and temporary deregulation, it follows that it was inappropriate to enjoin planting in accordance with such a deregulation decision. Second, an injunction is a drastic and extraordinary remedy, which should not be granted as a matter of course.”

The court documents went on to explain that if a less drastic remedy was sufficient to redress their injury, no recourse to the additional and extraordinary relief of an injunction was warranted.

David F. Snively, Monsanto’s senior vice president and general counsel, said the case is important for not only alfalfa farmers, but every American farmer. “All growers can rely on the expertise of USDA and trust that future challenges to biotech approvals must now be based on scientific facts, not speculation.”

Steve Welker, Monsanto’s alfalfa business lead said the news comes in time for the next planting season. He noted that the company has Roundup Ready alfalfa seed ready to deliver and it awaits USDA guidance on its release. “Our goal is to have everything in place for growers to plant in fall 2010,” Welker said.

Prior to the injunction, Roundup Ready alfalfa was planted by approximately 5,500 growers across 263,000 acres. Alfalfa is the fourth-largest crop grown in the U.S., with 23 million acres grown annually.


Source:  Feedstuffs

Posted by Haylie Shipp



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