you for taking the time to express your thoughts
about Section 733, known as the "Farmer Assurance Provision,"
of the Fiscal Year 2013 (FY2013) Agriculture
Appropriations bill. I appreciate hearing your concerns, and welcome
the opportunity to respond to your comments.
the last decade, genetically engineered (GE)
crop varieties in the United States have increased from 3.6 million
acres to 165 million acres in 2010. GE varieties now dominate soybean, cotton, and corn production in
the United States, and they continue to expand rapidly in other countries.
The rapid expansion of GE crops has led to concerns about
whether regulation and oversight of biotechnology are adequate,
particularly as newer applications emerge that did not exist when the current regulatory regime was established.
of the "Farmer Assurance Provision"
argue that its main purpose is to serve as an assurance for farmers
growing genetically engineered crops
which have completed the U.S. regulatory review process that their harvest will
not be put at risk
by subsequent legal disputes. To
do so, this provision would limit the ability of non-GE farmers
and others to defend themselves against potential contamination by GE strains. The provision would require
the Secretary of Agriculture to grant, upon the request by a farmer, grower, farm operator, or producer,
a temporary permit to continue
to grow GE plants even if another authority such as a court has ordered a halt to such activities until
the environmental impact of the crop growing activity can be determined.
safety is an issue which is dear to my heart, and during my time in Congress, I have supported measures
to make sure that food is not only safe, but that we know exactly
what we are consuming. I believe that consumers
have a right to know if foods contain GE components, and I recently asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to
approve labeling of GE foods. I believe
the "Farmer Assurance Provision" would violate the constitutional
precedent of separation of powers by interfering with the process of judicial review, as well as overriding
the Department of Agriculture's authority to evaluate the environmental, health, and safety aspects of
GE crops. You can be sure that as the House continues
its work on the Fiscal Year 2013 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, as
well as a new
Farm Bill, I will keep your strong views on this
matter in mind.
again, thank you for taking the time to contact me about this important issue. Your comments help me
to better represent the people of our Congressional District.
Michael M. Honda
Member of Congress