Monsanto’s Petition to Rehear Denied in Full

*San Francisco, CA – June 24, 2009 – *In a decision handed down here
today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has
re-affirmed its previous decision upholding a nationwide ban on the
planting of genetically-engineered (GE) Roundup Ready alfalfa pending a
full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The Court determined that the
planting of genetically modified alfalfa can result in potentially
irreversible harm to organic and conventional varieties of crops, damage
to the environment, and economic harm to farmers.
Although the suit was brought against United States Department of
Agriculture (USDA), Monsanto Company and Forage Genetics entered into
the suit as Defendant-Intervenors. In September 2008 the Ninth Circuit
affirmed the lower court’s ruling, but the Intervenors continued to
press the appeal alone, requesting the appellate court to rehear the
case. Today’s decision denied that request and re-affirmed the earlier
decision in full.
“This ruling affirms a major victory for consumers, ranchers, organic
farmers, and most conventional farmers across the country,” said Andrew
Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety. “Roundup
Ready Alfalfa represents a very real threat to farmers’ livelihoods and
the environment; the court rightly dismissed Monsanto’s claims that
their bottom line should come before the rights of the public and
America’s farmers. This ruling is a turning point in the regulation of
biotech crops in this country.”
Today’s decision again upholds District Court Judge Charles Breyer’s
earlier ruling of May 2007, in which he found that the USDA failed to
address concerns that Roundup Ready alfalfa will contaminate
conventional and organic alfalfa. The Ninth Circuit decision affirms
that USDA violated national environmental laws by approving GE alfalfa
without a full Environmental Impact Statement.
The Center for Food Safety represented itself and the following
co-plaintiffs in the suit: Western Organization of Resource Councils,
National Family Farm Coalition, Sierra Club, Beyond Pesticides,
Cornucopia Institute, Dakota Resource Council, Trask Family Seeds, and
Geertson Seed Farms. For more information, please visit
www.centerforfoodsafety.org .