Anti-GMO groups protesting farmer assurance
"A stream of lawsuits" have slowed approvals and created uncertainties for companies developing modified plants, James Greenwood, president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, was quoted by Bloomberg News.
Two big examples of past problems for companies and farmers that spurred the protection provision in the appropriations bill were Roundup Ready sugar beets and alfalfa.
The USDA's approval of the modified alfalfa was overturned in 2007 by a California district judge who banned further plantings pending the completion of a more thorough environmental impact statement, but the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the planting ban in June 2010. The USDA re-approved the crop in January 2011 after completing the court-ordered study. In an accommodation for sugar beet growers, the USDA last year allowed farmers to plant modified sugar beets while the agency completed a court-mandated environmental impact statement. That followed another district judge in California ruling in 2009 that the USDA erred in approving the crop without appropriate scrutiny.