Court Upholds RR Alfalfa Injunction

A U.S. appeals court upheld an injunction blocking the sale of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa seed. What’s the holdup and how long will it be?

The sale will be blocked until USDA finalizes research on the environmental impact of the biotech seed on nearby crops. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the company’s request for a rehearing of its appeal and said it would accept no more petitions for rehearing in the case which began three years ago, according to Feedstuffs newsletter.

The permanent injunction prevents further planting until USDA completes an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which is anticipated by fall 2009.

Monsanto is "disappointed" with the decision and hasn’t ruled out asking the Supreme Court to review the case, according to media reports.

The suit was originally brought against USDA. Monsanto and Forage Genetics intervened in the suit. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the lower court’s ruling, but the intervenors appealed.

The decision upholds District Court Judge Charles Breyer’s earlier ruling of May 2007. Breyer found that USDA had not addressed concerns that Roundup Ready alfalfa would contaminate conventional and organic alfalfa. The Ninth Circuit decision affirmed that USDA violated national environmental laws by approving genetically modified alfalfa without a full EIS.

The Center for Food Safety initiated the legal action in February 2006, representing itself and its co-plaintiffs in the suit: WORC, Dakota Resource Council, National Family Farm Coalition, Sierra Club, Beyond Pesticides, Cornucopia Institute, Trask Family Seeds, and Geertson Seed Farms.

(Source: Feedstuffs newsletter)

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