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USDA Seeks Public Comment on Draft Environmental Assessment for Cotton Genetically Engineered for Insect Resistance and Herbicide Tolerance

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Contact:
R. Andre Bell (301) 734-3853
Lyndsay Cole (970) 494-7410

WASHINGTON, June 28, 2011--The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has prepared a plant pest risk assessment and a draft environmental assessment (EA) to address a request from Bayer CropScience seeking a determination of nonregulated status. The request is for cotton that has been genetically engineered (GE) to be tolerant to the herbicide glufosinate and resistant to several lepidopteran pests.

Bayer's GE cotton is a combined-trait cotton developed using conventional breeding techniques. By crossing Bayer's Cry1Ab Cotton (event T304-40) with Bayer's Cry2Ae Cotton (event GHB119), Bayer developed a cotton resistant to several lepidopteran pests and that expresses a glufosinate herbicide tolerance trait. Bayer's cotton is currently regulated by APHIS. Interstate movement, importation and field testing has been conducted under notifications acknowledged by APHIS.

APHIS' risk assessment indicates that Bayer's cotton is unlikely to pose a plant pest risk. APHIS is making available for public comment the Bayer petition, the agency's risk assessment and draft EA for the proposed determination of nonregulated status.

APHIS has prepared this draft EA to consider the potential environmental effects of a determination of nonregulated status consistent with Council on Environmental Quality's regulations implementing National Environmental Policy Act regulations and procedures.

The notice of availability of the risk assessment, draft EA and the petition is published in today's June 28 Federal Register.

Consideration will be given to comments received on or before Aug. 29. You may submit comments by either of the following methods:

• Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to
www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=APHIS-2010-0102 to submit or view comments and to view supporting and related materials available electronically.
• Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2010-0102, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

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