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Is Vermont’s Governor Surrendering to Monsanto?

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin has less than two weeks to either stand with the 90% of his constituents who support a mandatory labeling bill for genetically engineered foods – or cave in to Monsanto’s threat to sue the state if legislators pass H.722.

If the Governor’s words this past week are any indication, he’s already surrendered to Monsanto. But Vermonters, not known for backing down from a fight, are challenging legislators to take on the biotech industry. They’re even offering to raise money for the state’s defense.

Last week, thousands of Vermonters flooded the Governor’s office with petitions, phone calls and emails, to make the case for GMO labeling of all food sold in Vermont and to demand a vote on the bill. Under Vermont’s constitution, the Governor can extend the state’s legislative session indefinitely, ultimately forcing a vote on the bill. If he doesn’t extend the session, or urge legislators to vote on the bill, it will die in committee.

But while supporters were emailing and phoning and signing, Governor Shumlin was sending out a canned response to the thousands of supporters who emailed his office. In the Governor’s own words:

“Dear Friend,
“Thank you for contacting me about labeling genetically modified foods. I agree with those who advocate for clear labeling of genetically modified foods. GMO labeling makes sense and would give Vermonters key information about their food choices. However, we know from attempts to pass similar legislation in the past that such a requirement would not stand up to federal legal scrutiny. I don’t think it is fair to ask Vermonters to bear the burden of the cost of those legal challenges.”

On April 12, in the hope once again of forcing a vote, more than 300 people packed the Vermont statehouse for public testimony on H.722, with more than one hundred of them testifying – every single one in favor – of passing the bill. When legislators brought up the burden of a potential legal battle, supporters of the bill called for a legal defense fund – not a retreat.

However, a bill that once appeared destined to pass on the merits of scientific evidence, overwhelming public support, and support of the majority of Vermont’s progressive legislators, now appears doomed – unless Vermont voters succeed in changing the Governor’s mind.

Read more…

2 comments to Is Vermont’s Governor Surrendering to Monsanto?

  • on What Is GMO? over the next few days. In the second part you will find out which 10 nasty items Monsanto does not want you to know. What Is GMO? If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing by

  • I have heard of GMO’s but it seemed like it would be rlleay hard to find food without them. I always thought it seemed like a bad idea, but I was told one time that that’s how we have things like seedless oranges. I have to admit, that I rlleay love not having seeds in my fruit, but if I thought about how dangerous the GMO’s are, then I’d deal with the seeds. It just doesn’t come to mind when I’m shopping. However, if the food was labeled GMO or Non-GMO then I would opt for the type that was not tampered with.Lisa McLellan

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