SCOTUS may gut NEPA in GMO case Monsanto v Geertson Seed

Supreme Court to Take First Look at Genetically Modified Crops in Case with NEPA Implications

By Gabriel Nelson
New York Times

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments Tuesday involving a federal judge’s temporary ban on a breed of pesticide-resistant alfalfa, setting the stage for the court’s first-ever ruling on genetically modified crops.

Legal experts do not expect a blockbuster decision on the merits of regulating modified plants such as Monsanto Co.’s Roundup Ready alfalfa, but the case, Monsanto Co. v. Geertson Seed Farms, has drawn widespread interest because the justices could issue a ruling that would raise or lower the threshold for challenges under the National Environmental Policy Act.

Environmental groups, which frequently use the statute to bring lawsuits against government agencies and industry groups, “don’t expect anything good” to come from the Supreme Court’s eventual decision, said David Bookbinder, chief climate counsel at the Sierra Club. It seems that some of the justices are “on a kick to gut NEPA remedies,” he said earlier this year during a panel discussion on environmental law at Georgetown University.

That sense of foreboding is compounded by the fact that the case comes from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a frequent source of environmental cases struck down by the Supreme Court. Last year, when the Supreme Court overturned five decisions favoring environmentalists, four had come from the 9th Circuit (Greenwire, June 25, 2009).

The Monsanto case stems from a 2006 lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Led by Phillip Geertson, a producer of organic alfalfa seeds from Adrian, Ore., the plaintiffs claimed that Roundup Ready alfalfa could spread its genes to alfalfa in neighboring fields, potentially preventing the other farmers from marketing their produce as organic.

Read full post at New York Times

15 responses to “SCOTUS may gut NEPA in GMO case Monsanto v Geertson Seed

  1. Just subscribed to your site yesterday. I am so glad that I have too, this article is the most concise I have read so far regarding this issue. I was so worried about the court telling Monsanto to go ahead and plant gmo alfalfa, you say in the article

    “The ban on alfalfa plantings would end once the agency concludes the environmental review process. Though that would likely render the case moot, a final statement could still be years away.”

    I am not clear if your quote means that even if the court sides with Monsanto, the EIS would still be the final deciding factor?

    Also, Clarence has decided NOT to recuse himself, of course not, that is why Bush Sr. put him there in my opinion. He and 5 other Monsanto employees were put in key positions during the GB 41 years, that and Bush Sr is the one who kick started the GMO ball rolling anyway.

    One last comment, sorry this is so long; we did not just wake up one day and this fall from the sky, this plan has been in the making for years.

    Thanks for your work and if I may I would like to post this article on Millions Against Monsanto Campaign page on facebook? The number of supporters to stop gmo is growing by great numbers every day on that site. I am encouraged by that!

    • Thx, Jimmieanna. we’d love for you to reference us on your site.

      btw, in my editorial insertion into this New York Times article (see brackets), I did say Thomas is NOT recusing himself.

  2. Rady, Yes, I saw you had said Clarence isn’t recusing himself, I just was emphasizing the point. 🙂

    Thanks for permission to post article, which I just did and look forward to reading more of your articles here!


    Above is the link which has your article on it. Thanks again!

  4. hmmm, that one did not seem to work, try this one out

  5. The link actually is all I posted, and the way facebook is, when one clicks on the link, it will take whomever wants to access it, right back to your page here. I did not change or paste anything just used the direct link to your page here on wordpress. Is that ok? I wish you could check it out, you don’t have facebook? lol (meant in the kindest of regards btw) 😉

    • ohhhh…. perfect. Yeah, no, I’m not on facebook cuz they won’t let me use the name I want. i tried several times and several different names, and so i gave up.

      but i know fb gets a lot of hits, so I really appreciate the link.

  6. Pingback: The Progressive Mind » SCOTUS may gut NEPA in GMO case Monsanto v Geertson Seed « Food Freedom

  7. Pingback: Environmental Law and Climate Change Law News, May 3, 2010, vol. 2, no. 13 « Taber Law Group

  8. Pingback: Scholars and Rogues » Weeds 1, Monsanto 0, Farmers -1

  9. And, btw, Obama’s SCOTUS pick, Kagan, is another Monsanto goon who is in on this case:
    No. 09-475
    Title:Monsanto Company, et al., Petitioners
    Geertson Seed Farms, et al.
    Docketed:October 23, 2009
    Lower Ct:United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
    Case Nos.07-16458, 07-16492, 07-16725)

    Attorneys for Respondents:
    Elena Kagan Solicitor General(202) 514-2217

    Counsel of Record, United States Department of Justice
    950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
    Washington, DC 20530-0001
    Party name: Federal Respondents in support of petitioners

    Mike5000 at Buzz Flash just passed along this info:

    Here’s the Kagan brief in the case you cited in #2. It’s a nasty piece of work.

    Click to access 09-475_RespondentFederal.pdf

    Take a look at brief page 15 which is PDF page 23.

    Kagan, as Solicitor General of the United States, is trying to help Monsanto get around NEPA by arguing that the Obama administration says Monsanto’s GM alfalfa is OK and the courts and the laws on the statute books should give way before the government’s opinion. GM alfalfa escaped from fields during trials and would of course escape again if GM alfalfa were sold but Kagan argues that the government’s opinion – an opinion presumably bought by Monsanto with large campaign bribes – trumps mere facts.

  10. While the SCOTUS may seem to be “gutting” NEPA, it could be the 9th Circuit doesn’t get it and/or can’t sell it.

    While I agree that I find arguments to support a more thorough NEPA review, I do not presume to think the Justices are perfect (logically or legally).

    I will say the 9th is “out there” at times. Neither good nor bad, but a fact. Perhaps the “standard” should be what the SCOTUS decides rather than the assumption that the 9th is right and the SCOTUS is just “throwing it out..”

    Again, I think a thorough review is warranted on the facts. I wish Justices were Idealistic. However, I find more and more justices appear to be politicians looking to gather “favor” rather than find any justice.

    Of course, I am jaded…

  11. Pingback: Weeds 1, Monsanto 0, Farmers -1 | Scholars and Rogues

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