Mike Pina (301) 734 7253
Suzanne Bond (301) 734-5175
WASHINGTON, Jan. 12, 2010--The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced the dates and locations for a series of public meetings where interested parties can comment on the APHIS draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for alfalfa genetically engineered for tolerance to the herbicide glyphosate. This genetically engineered alfalfa is commonly referred to as Roundup Ready® (RR) alfalfa.
APHIS will consider comments made at the following public meetings:
Jan. 19, 2010, from 11a.m. to 2 p.m., Las Vegas, Nev.
Golden Nugget Hotel
129 Fremont St.
Las Vegas, Nev. 89101
During the Western Alfalfa Seed Growers Association Winter Seed Conference
Feb. 3, 2010, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Kearney, Neb.
Buffalo County Fairgrounds Exhibit Center
3807 Ave. N
Kearney, Neb. 68847
During the Mid-America Alfalfa Expo
Feb. 4, 2010, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Lincoln, Neb.
Holiday Inn Haymarket
141 North 9th St.
Lincoln, Neb. 68508
During the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society Annual Healthy Farms/Rural Advantage Conference
Feb. 9, 2010, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Riverdale, Md.
APHIS Conference Center
4700 River Rd.
Riverdale, Md. 20737
APHIS advised the public on Dec. 14, 2009, that it had prepared a draft EIS in connection with making a determination on the status of the Monsanto Company and Forage Genetics International alfalfa lines designated as events J101 and J163 as regulated articles. The draft EIS announcement also called for meetings to receive public comments on the document.
APHIS considered two alternatives in the draft EIS: to grant nonregulated status to the two RR alfalfa lines, or to maintain the lines' status as regulated articles. APHIS analyzed these alternatives with regard to their potential environmental impacts, socioeconomic impacts, as well as human health and safety impacts.
APHIS originally deregulated the two lines of RR alfalfa in 2005. The agency prepared this draft EIS to comply with a February 2007 judgment and order by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The court did not overturn APHIS' 2005 conclusions regarding the safety of the RR alfalfa for food and feed purposes, but rather concluded that APHIS had not adequately documented potential, or lack of potential, environmental impacts.
This notice is published in today's Jan. 12 Federal Register.
In addition to the public meetings, APHIS will consider all comments related to the draft EIS that are received on or before Feb. 16, 2010. The draft EIS is available on the APHIS Web site at http://www.aphis.usda.gov and the public may comment by either of the following methods:
Comments received are posted on the Regulations.gov Web site and can be viewed at USDA, Room 1141, 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 http://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 firstname.lastname@example.org and leave the subject blank. In the message, type
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272, or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).