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Jan, 12 2010 - USDA Announces Dates and Locations for Public Meetings on Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Genetically Engineered Alfalfa

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Contact:
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:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#
    documentDetail?R=0900006480a6b7a1
    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-2007-0044, 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-2007-0044.

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.

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