Quantcast

Trump's Pick for Attorney General Could Be Big Boost to Monsanto

Popular

Donald Trump's election win and his pick for attorney general could be a big boost to Bayer AG's $66 billion purchase of Monsanto Co. that is currently undergoing state and federal antitrust investigations.

President-elect Donald Trump has picked Sen. Jeff Sessions as his attorney general.Flickr

Investopedia reports that Monsanto stocks have risen more than 4 percent since Trump's surprise victory. Additionally, Terry Haines of the investment banking advisory firm Evercore ISI said that the president-elect's nominee for attorney general—Sen. Jeff Sessions, a pro-business conservative from Alabama—is good news for any pending mega-deals.

"Sessions' likely nomination and confirmation by the Senate, in which he has served since 1997, is a market positive for merger and acquisition activity," Haines, who heads Evercore's Political Analysis team, wrote in a note last week.

"Sessions as attorney general would shift immediately from the current mostly 'red light' Obama antitrust/competition policy and move towards one that would be friendlier to M&A activity," Haines added.

A successful merger between the German pharmaceutical company and the St. Louis-based agritech giant will form the largest seed and pesticide company in the world. Critics are concerned that the consolidation of the two multinational juggernauts will increase pesticide and herbicide prices for farmers, and will have less incentive to compete and introduce better and cheaper products.

"Farmers get paid less for their crops, more pesticides are used and there are fewer options for consumers at the grocery store," Wenonah Hauter, the executive director of Food & Water Watch, told EcoWatch after Bayer and Monsanto announced acquisition plans in September.

Haines, however, pointed out that Sessions might not think that big businesses unfairly reduces competition. "[Sessions may decide] that no reflexive test for the disapproval of a merger should be applied, as Obama regulators did with their 'no four into three' doctrine," he wrote.

Although, legal experts told Reuters that as U.S. attorney general, Sessions would be tough on any corporate crime. Daniel Richman, a former federal prosecutor and Columbia Law School professor, told Reuters that the senator will be "a strong supporter" of corporate enforcement.

Regardless, as Carey Gillam of U.S. Right to Know wrote that President Trump's era signals "[dark days] ahead for America's burgeoning food movement," which has been advocating for more transparency and fewer pesticides in food production. Case in point, he has picked U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo to be CIA director, a "designated hitter for Monsanto and the other Big Ag chemical and seed players."

In October, Trump blamed an intern for retweeting an insult to Monsanto.

"#BenCarson is now leading in the polls in #Iowa. Too much #Monsanto in the #corn creates issues in the brain? #Trump #GOP," the post read.

The retweet shunned Monsanto, which has a major presence in Iowa, with facilities in 18 different cities in the state. The company also happens to be a major GOP donor.

Trump, who reportedly holds between $15,001 and $50,000 worth of Monsanto stocks, does not support the labeling of foods made with genetically modified ingredients.

When asked by the Iowa Farm Bureau, "Do you support the use of biotechnology in food products and oppose efforts to require mandatory labeling for foods simply because they contain ingredients derived from biotechnology?" Trump allegedly responded, "Yes."

Not only that, Modern Farmer noted that Trump, a junk food lover, does not seem to have an interest in organic food or organic farmers, and assembled an agribusiness-friendly agriculture advisory council during his presidential campaign.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Justin Trudeau delivers remarks during an election rally in Markham, Ontario, Canada, on Sept. 15. Creative Touch Imaging Ltd. / NurPhoto via Getty Images

By Chloe Farand for Climate Home News

Canadians are voting on Monday in an election observers say will define the country's climate future.

Read More Show Less
Activists Greta Thunberg (2ndL), Iris Duquesne(C), and Alexandria Villaseñor (3rd R) attend a press conference where 16 children present their official human rights complaint on the climate crisis to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child at the UNICEF Building on Sept. 23 in NYC. KENA BETANCUR / AFP / Getty Images

By Jessica Taft

Fifteen kids from a dozen countries, including Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, recently brought a formal complaint to the United Nations. They're arguing that climate change violates children's rights as guaranteed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a global agreement.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Cleanup costs for abandoned oil and gas wells once the producers have moved on could fall heavily on the public.
Susan Vineyard / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Justin Mikulka

Increasingly, U.S. shale firms appear unable to pay back investors for the money borrowed to fuel the last decade of the fracking boom. In a similar vein, those companies also seem poised to stiff the public on cleanup costs for abandoned oil and gas wells once the producers have moved on.

Read More Show Less
Blue tarps given out by FEMA cover several roofs two years after Hurricane Maria affected the island in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sept. 18. RICARDO ARDUENGO / AFP / Getty Images

Top officials at the Department of Housing and Urban Development confirmed to lawmakers last week that they knowingly — and illegally — stalled hurricane aid to Puerto Rico.

Read More Show Less
Actress Jane Fonda (C) and actor Sam Waterston (L) participate in a protest in front of the U.S. Capitol during a "Fire Drill Fridays" climate change protest and rally on Capitol Hill, Oct. 18. Mark Wilson / Getty Images News

It appears Jane Fonda is good for her word. The actress and political activist said she would hold demonstrations on Capitol Hill every Friday through January to demand action on the climate crisis. Sure enough, Fonda was arrested for demonstrating a second Friday in a row Oct. 18, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Only this time, her Grace and Frankie co-star Sam Waterston joined her.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Visitors look at the Aletsch glacier above Bettmeralp, in the Swiss Alps, on Oct. 1. The mighty Aletsch — the largest glacier in the Alps — could completely disappear by the end of this century if nothing is done to rein in climate change, a study showed on Sept. 12. FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP via Getty Images

Switzerland's two Green parties made historic gains in the country's parliamentary elections Sunday, according to projections based on preliminary results reported by The New York Times.

Read More Show Less
A mural in Richwood, West Virginia, a once booming Appalachia coal town, honors the community's history. Jeff Greenberg / Universal Images Group / Getty Images

By Jeff Turrentine

The coal industry is dying. But we can't allow the communities that have been dependent on coal to die along with it.

Read More Show Less
ThitareeSarmkasat / iStock / Getty Images

by Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

Every fruit lover has their go-to favorites. Bananas, apples, and melons are popular choices worldwide and can be purchased almost anywhere.

Read More Show Less