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About the EIS Process for Rulemaking

Preparation of the EIS
As part of the biotechnology regulatory revision process, APHIS is preparing a Programmatic environmental impact statement (pEIS) that evaluates the environmental impacts of updating its regulations. Programmatic EISs are often prepared for actions that typically involve the agency, an entire program or a substantial program component. These actions are characterized by their broad scope (often global or nationwide) and potential impacts (potentially impacting a wide range of environmental quality values or indicators) and whether or not affected individuals or systems may be completely identified at the time.

The EIS Process

  • The first step, the publication of a Notice of Intent (NOI)  is scoping to determine the principal issues to be considered within the EIS.  APHIS opened a 30-day public comment period on June 29, 2018, through July 30, 2018, to receive comments regarding what factors should be considered in the draft EIS. (See details below on APHIS’ Notice of Intent.)
  • APHIS then prepares a draft EIS and announces its availability for comment via a Federal Register notice. APHIS also informs its biotechnology stakeholder registry. To join the registry to receive automatic email notices of this and other biotechnology regulatory actions, join our Stakeholder Registry.
  • APHIS considers the comments on the draft EIS, integrates any new information or analysis into the EIS, and prepares a final EIS.
  • The public is notified of the availability of the final EIS, again through a Federal Register notice, a stakeholder announcement and other appropriate means as specified in the National Environmental Policy Act. No decision on a proposed action can take place until the later of the following dates: 90 days after publication of the notice of the draft EIS or 30 days after the notice of publication of a final EIS.

APHIS' Notice of Intent
On June 29, 2018, USDA APHIS published a Notice of Intent (NOI), advising the public that it intends to prepare a programmatic environmental impact statement (EIS) in connection with potential changes to the regulations for the importation, interstate movement, and environmental release of certain genetically engineered (GE) organisms.

The NOI announced a scoping period during which written and other comments on the content of the programmatic EIS will be gathered. APHIS will thoroughly review and consider all public input submitted during the 30-day comment period on the notice of intent and use the information as it works to complete, and then publish, the draft pEIS and a draft proposed rule. 

View the Notice of Intent

Learn more about Updating the Biotechnology Regulations

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