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USDA Seeks Public Comment on Draft Environmental Assessment for Genetically Engineered Soybean

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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 the Monsanto Company seeking a determination of nonregulated status. The request is for soybeans that have been genetically engineered (GE) to have a modified fatty acid profile and a tolerance to the herbicide glyphosate.

Monsanto's GE soybean, event MON 87705, produces soybean seeds with lower levels of saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids and higher levels of monounsaturated fatty acid than those found in non-modified soybean seeds. MON 87705 also expresses tolerance to glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in Roundup®.

APHIS' risk assessment indicates that MON 87705 is unlikely to pose a plant pest risk. APHIS is making available for public comment the Monsanto petition, the agency's risk assessment and the draft EA for the proposed determination of nonregulated status.

APHIS has prepared its draft EA to consider the potential environmental effects of a determination of nonregulated status consistent with the Council on Environmental Quality's regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act regulations and procedures. This EA has been prepared in order to specifically evaluate the effects on the quality of the human environment that may result from a nonregulated status determination of MON 87705.

MON 87705 is currently under APHIS regulation. Interstate movements, importations and field testing have been conducted under notifications acknowledged by APHIS.

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-2011-0046 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-2011-0046, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

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