Oregon may let farmers sue Monsanto, other GMO patent-holders, for crop contamination
Read the full text of HB 2739 here.
Oregon lawmakers are considering a bill that would let farmers sue Monsanto, Scotts Miracle-Gro and other companies that hold patents on genetically engineered seeds if crops grown from those seeds contaminate traditional or organic crops.
Cross-contamination from GE crops can make other crops worthless, and can ruin seed lines that have taken decades to develop, farmers told the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
Genetically engineered crops also can escape their fields and become pests that are hard to eradicate – something that’s happened with Scotts’ genetically modified bentgrass, which now threatens Oregon’s billion-dollar grass seed industry.
“Where there is harm or damage, there needs to be a remedy,” said Sandra Bishop of Our Family Farms, a Medford-based nonprofit that advocates for traditional seed crops.
House Bill 2739 would allow landowners to seek three times actual economic damages if GE organisms are present on their land without permission.
It also would allow individuals to sue the corporations if GE organisms are found on land owned or occupied by a public body, such as a park, in the area where they live.
Opponents said allowing such lawsuits would stifle innovation.