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Monsanto and Pals Spend Half-Million to Try To Swamp County Ballot Measure that Would Protect Family Farmers from Genetically Engineered Crops

April 7th, 2014
Center for Food Safety

“Big Six” Chemical Companies Drop $455,000 in One Day on Ballot Initiative to Restrict GE Crops in Jackson County, Oregon

It was revealed last Friday that the “Big Six” chemical companies have recently donated a combined $455,000 to defeat a county ballot initiative in Jackson County, Oregon that would restrict genetically engineered crops from being grown.  Opponents of the measure now have an eight-to-one spending advantage over local advocates with $799,000 and $102,000 respectively.

“This is a staggering amount of money for a local ordinance. For every vote they might get, Monsanto and its pals could afford to take each voter out for a fancy steak dinner,” said senior attorney George Kimbrell, based in Center for Food Safety’s (CFS) Portland office.

Chemical companies opposing the ban include: Monsanto ($183,294), DuPont Pioneer ($129,647), Syngenta ($75,000.00), Bayer ($22,353), BASF ($22,353), and Dow AgroSciences ($22,353). Even prior to this influx of cash more than 95% of the oppositions’ campaign funds had come from outside Jackson County.

“These chemical companies are willing to spend whatever it takes, because they know the truth: Genetically engineered crops offer zero public benefits. They only offer risk of genetically engineered contamination to farmers and lost markets, as well as massively increased pesticides and environmental harm.  All they do is generate billions of dollars for chemical companies,” added Kimbrell. 

Over the past decade, CFS has assisted numerous counties across the country in crafting and passing GE crop regulation ordinances like that of Jackson county.  In 2013, two counties in Hawaii passed ordinances on the regulation of pesticides and genetically engineered crops.  Several other counties in Oregon were similarly gearing up county ordinances, but Oregon’s legislature passed a controversial preemption rider last summer.  It exempted only Jackson county’s upcoming May vote.  However the legal basis of the preemption law is at best very questionable.  Another county initiative, in Josephine county Oregon, is proceeding to a vote despite the controversial new preemption law.

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