The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Trump's Pick for Attorney General Could Be Big Boost to Monsanto
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.
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
By Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner
Over six gallons of water are required to produce one gallon of wine. "Irrigation, sprays, and frost protection all [used in winemaking] require a lot of water," explained winemaker and sommelier Keith Wallace, who's also a professor and the founder of the Wine School of Philadelphia, the largest independent wine school in the U.S. And water waste is just the start of the climate-ruining inefficiencies commonplace in the wine industry. Sustainably speaking, climate change could be problematic for your favorite glass of wine.
By Jeff Turrentine
From day to day, our public health infrastructure — the people and systems we've put in place to keep populations, as opposed to individuals, healthy — largely goes unnoticed. That's because when it's working well, its success takes the form of utter normalcy.
Cell Phone Tracking Analysis Shows Where Florida Springbreakers and New Yorkers Fleeing Coronavirus Went to Next
By Eoin Higgins
A viral video showing cell phone data collected by location accuracy company X-Mode from spring break partiers potentially spreading the coronavirus around the U.S. has brought up questions of digital privacy even as it shows convincingly the importance of staying home to defeat the disease.