WASHINGTON— Yesterday, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, questioned Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) on his commitment to enforce antitrust laws, after President-elect Donald Trump’s meetings with agrichemical giants Monsanto (NYSE: MON) and Bayer (ETR: BAYN) last week. As Senator Sessions awaits confirmation as the next Attorney General – a role that would put him in charge of enforcing antitrust laws – his independence as an impartial law enforcer is being called into question. Senator Klobuchar noted that the president-elect’s meetings “underscore the importance of [his] commitment to ensuring the integrity and independence of the ... Antitrust Division.”
In response, Pesticide Action Network, SumOfUs, Center for Food Safety, Beyond Pesticides, and Friends of the Earth released the following joint statement:
“Last week, President-elect Trump met with the heads of Bayer and Monsanto to discuss their proposed merger, but he only heard one side of the story.
“We hope Trump will be wise enough to listen to the American people and the antitrust experts who know not to believe the empty promises of multi-billion dollar company executives. Time and again, corporate mega mergers have gone back on their word, cutting American jobs and raising prices on consumers once a deal is done. Nothing in Bayer’s or Monsanto’s track record tells us they would do any different.
“The proposed merger presents a powerful threat to our food safety and supply, environmental health, innovation in our crops, the prices consumers pay, and the viability of family farming. The continuous consolidation of seed and pesticide companies increases incentives to make agriculture more pesticide-intensive and pesticide-dependent, all while decreasing environmentally sustainable options for farmers. This will only endanger the global diversity of seed further; kill bees and other important pollinators; and put humans at higher risk of exposure to toxic chemicals through our food, air and water.
“We commend Sen. Klobuchar for her line of questioning and call upon the president-elect and Senator Sessions to state unequivocally that the Department of Justice will be free to decide upon the merger after a rigorous and objective review, free from political interference.”