Monsanto Wins Limited Victory in Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-1 in favor of Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MON) in the Court’s first case concerning genetically modified (GMO) crops (Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Farms).

However, both sides are claiming victory in the decision. 

Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety, which sued to halt the planting of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa, wrote an editorial explaining that the ban on planting the crop still stands, because the Supreme Court reversed only a temporary injunction, but not the ban itself:

"The Supreme Court ruled that an injunction against planting was unnecessary since, under lower courts’ rulings, Roundup Ready Alfalfa became a regulated item and illegal to plant. In other words, the injunction was "overkill’ because our victory in lower federal court determined that USDA violated the National Environmental Policy Act and other environmental laws when it approved Roundup Ready alfalfa. The court felt that voiding the USDA’s decision to make the crop legally available for sale was enough."

Kimbrell added that the decision is also beneficial, because the Court did not rule on arguments presented by Monsanto about the application of federal environmental law. As a result, no harmful changes will be made to the enforcement of the National Environmental Policy Act or any other environmental laws.

Steve Welker, who heads Monsanto’s alfalfa business, said in a statement: “We have Roundup Ready alfalfa seed ready to deliver and await USDA guidance on its release. Our goal is to have everything in place for growers to plant in fall 2010.”

However, the USDA must complete its environmental impact statement, before it makes a decision on whether or not to allow planting of the GMO crop. 

Read additional coverage at the link below.

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