The top news stories for the week of Sept. 9 are…
- Grain Barge Apparently Deliberately Set Adrift on Columbia River
- Cargill Names New CEO
- Monsanto Donates 46 Million to Fight GMO Labeling in Washington
- Firefighters Douse-Smoldering Feed at Iowa Feed Mill
- Monsanto Case Appealed to US Supreme Court
A grain barge that was reported missing on Sept. 6 was luckily found by a passing tug boat. When found, it was floating down the Columbia River with no lights and no crew. The barge was found before it sustained or caused any damage, which would have been an easy feat for an unmanned but loaded 252-foot-barge. The workers at the dock where the barge was released say that the moorings that held it in place seemed to have been loosened. The barge was headed to one of the ports who have locked out the International Longshore and Warehouse Union since last spring. The union denies having any knowledge of the potential sabotage, but notes that private security and the strikebreaking firm should be examined just as closely during the investigation.
Cargill has named its current president, David Maclennan, as its next chief executive officer. Maclennan has been with the company since 1991 and has held a variety of top executive positions over the last five years. The current CEO, Greg Page, will still be active in the company as the new executive chairman.
It seems that the state of Washington’s legal battle for GMO labeling is where Monsanto and DuPont have decided to stand their ground. Both companies made multimillion dollar donations this past week, propelling the funds of the anti-labeling side of the debate well above those of the pro-labeling side. This is a similar to the California vote that took place last year, where the anti-labeling campaign raised almost five times as much as the pro-labeling side. The California vote was only won by 4%, and with over twenty states bringing similar legislation, two have already passed the measures, it’s unclear if these new donations will be enough.
Iowa’s late season heat wave may have been responsible for a feed ingredient to combust and start to smolder. When the employees at the Gilbert office of Key Cooperative were notified of smoke coming from the bin, they called in local firefighters. The smoldering grain was quickly doused by the firefighters. Luckily, there were only three tons of feed in the bin at the time and though that feed is lost, there is only minor clean-up and water damage to deal with.
A group of organic farmers, seed companies and public advocacy groups sued Monsanto in 2011, to stop Monsanto from suing farmers who have their fields accidently contaminated with Monsanto’s patented genetically engineered crops. The first judge to hear the case issued a ruling that the lawsuit was preemptive, and cited Monsanto’s public stance that it wouldn’t sue farmers in the case of accidental exposure. This June the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld the ruling. That same coalition is now appealing to the United States Supreme Court, hoping for a different outcome. Monsanto released a statement accusing these groups of trying to stir up nonexistent controversy.
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