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Supreme Court reviews ban on Monsanto's Roundup Ready alfalfa

U.S. Supreme Court
The U.S. Supreme Court

By Veronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis, MO – The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in a case involving St. Louis-based biotech company Monsanto.

The case originates from a 2006 lawsuit filed against Monsanto by a producer of organic alfalfa seeds. The plaintiffs claimed that Monsanto's genetically engineered alfalfa could spread its genes to neighboring organic fields through cross-pollination.

In a 2007 decision, a U.S. District court banned the planting of Monsanto's Roundup Ready alfalfa seeds pending a U.S. Department of Agriculture review under the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA.

The 9th Circuit court upheld the ban for the second time last year.

Environmental and industry groups have closely followed the case.

Environmentalists fear that if the Supreme Court decides to overturn the ban, it would weaken NEPA and make future lawsuits more difficult.