Friends of the Earth – Bee Action Update

Taken from Friends of the Earth Newsmagazine Volume 47, number 2, Summer 2017

Fighting for Bees on Capitol Hill

By Tiffany Finck-Haynes Food futures campaigner

Friends of the Earth Bee Action campaign created some serious buzz this June, organizing a congressional briefing and “By-in” to raise awareness about the $66 billion Bayer+Monsanto merger and the dangerous grip these companies have over our food and agriculture system.  The top six agrichemical and seed companies are negotiating mergers which could result in just three powerful multinational corporations controlling this market.  If approved, the toxic Bayer + Monsanto mega-merger will devastate American consumers, farmers, workers and our environment.

Teaming up with farming, food, beekeeping, environmental and consumer groups,  Friends of the Earth helped mobilize over 15 farms and beekeepers from ten states to lobby Congress and the U.S. Department of Justice, the agency responsible for approving the merger.  These farmers and beekeepers shared their concerns about the mega-merger in over 40 meetings wit senators, representatives and Department of Justice officials, including five in person conversations with members of Congress. 

These grassroots efforts persuaded a number of Home and Senate offices to ask their state attorney general to join the Departmentof Justice’s investigation of the Bayer + Monsanto merger.  And we achieved success on both sides of the aisle, convincing three Republican offices to consider pursuing a hearing on the merger. These meetings also helped secure the signatures of 19 Democratic senators on a letter that was sent to the Department of Justice in July, which expressed their concern over the Bayer + Monsanto merger.  The issue was elevated and highlighted as an area of concern as part of the Democrats’ new policy agenda, which calls for a crackdown on corporate monopolies and adoption of new standards for merger review.

Perhaps our biggest achievement was securing the commitment of two House offices to work with Friends of the Earth to craft federal legislation protecting farmers and the American public from agribusiness consolidation and concentration. 

Successful efforts like these are only possible thanks to support from Friends of the Earth. Members like you. Your continued generosity will help us keep the pressure on as we seek commitments from state attorneys general to join the Department of Justice investigation into the mergers in the coming months.  Thank you for all you do to protect people, the planet and our pollinators. 

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