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USDA to Prepare Environmental Impact Statement for Genetically Engineered Sugar Beets _ Seeks Public Comment on Scope of Issues

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Contact:
Suzanne Bond (301) 734-5175
Joelle Hayden (301) 734-0595

WASHINGTON, June 3, 2010 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for genetically engineered (GE) sugar beets.

In March 2005, APHIS deregulated a line of sugar beets that are genetically engineered to be tolerant to the Monsanto herbicide glyphosate, also known as Roundup®, making them Roundup Ready® (RR) sugar beets. The deregulation occurred after APHIS determined that the RR sugar beet did not pose a plant pest risk under the Plant Protection Act (PPA) and after APHIS conducted an environmental assessment (EA) and issued a finding of no significant impact pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act .

As a result of a lawsuit filed in January 2008, which challenged APHIS' decision to deregulate the RR sugar beets and the related EA, a U.S. District Court ruled that APHIS is required to prepare an EIS.

APHIS has reviewed the original petition for deregulation, the EA, the finding of no significant impact published in 2005 and the court order to identify potential issues to address in the EIS. These issues are outlined in the notice for public review and comment published on May 28, 2010, in the Federal Register APHIS is requesting the public comment on these issues and reasonable alternatives that are currently considered for the EIS. All public comments will be considered in developing a final scope of study.

Consideration will be given to comments received on or before June 28. You may submit comments by either of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2010-0047 to submit or view comments and to view supporting and related materials available electronically.
  • Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send two copies of your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2010-0047, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your comment refers to Docket No. APHIS-2010-0047.

Comments are posted on the Regulations.gov Web site and also can be reviewed at USDA, Room 1411, South Building 14th St. and Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C., between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. To facilitate entry into the comment reading room, please call (202) 690-2817.

Note to Reporters: USDA news releases, program announcements and media advisories are available on the Internet and through Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds. Go to the APHIS news release page at www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom and click on the RSS feed link. To sign up to receive APHIS releases automatically, send an e-mail message to lyris@mdrdlyriss10.aphis.usda.gov and leave the subject blank. In the message, type
subscribe press_releases.

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