Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - April 25, 2018 


President Trump loses another round in court on immigrant “dreamers.” Also on today’s rundown: Environmentalists tell New York Governor Cuomo to match words with action; California lawmakers wear jeans to take a stand against sexual violence; and Airbnb called out for “secret deals.”

Daily Newscasts

300+ Groups Oppose Ag-Related Mega Mergers

More than 300 organizations have signed a letter to U.S. Attorney General Sessions urging him to oppose proposed mega-mergers that affect agriculture. (Die Grünen Kärnten/Flickr)
More than 300 organizations have signed a letter to U.S. Attorney General Sessions urging him to oppose proposed mega-mergers that affect agriculture. (Die Grünen Kärnten/Flickr)
February 15, 2017

HELENA, Mont. – Nearly 325 organizations have signed a letter pressing new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to make sure the Justice Department does its job without political interference when it looks at a proposal to let Dow Chemical and DuPont, Monsanto and Bayer, and Syngenta and ChemChina merge.

Tiffany Finck-Haynes, food-futures campaigner of Friends of the Earth, says her group and others want Congress to provide oversight, because President Donald Trump met with the CEOs of Monsanto just before he was inaugurated.

"It raised a lot of ethics questions for lawyers who are very well versed in anti-trust law, because they said that this is very uncommon; that presidents hardly ever, and really in history, have not interfered in this way," she explained.

The letter says if all three deals were to close, the newly-created companies would control nearly 70 percent of the world's pesticide market, more than 60 percent of commercial seed sales, and 80 percent of the U.S. corn-seed market. Trump has said the mergers would create jobs and boost the U.S. economy.

Joe Maxwell, executive director of the Organization for Competitive Markets, says big mergers are bad for the environment, small farmers, rural communities and consumers. He cites climate change as one reason the nation needs more diversified and competitive development.

"There's little incentive for these companies to do further research and development on these seeds," he said. "We all worry about having too few strains or genes in those seeds. If we become too dependent, we'll look just like Ireland did in the potato famine."

Lisa Griffith, interim director of the National Family Farm Coalition, says when these mergers happen, prices go up and some seed varieties disappear.

"A lot of these varieties that are available from the agri-chemical corporations are GM varieties, genetically modified, which may not be what the farmer wants," said Griffith.

Local groups signing the letter include the Montana Organic Association, the University of Montana Real Food Challenge, and Environment Montana.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - MT