The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) would like to remind stakeholders and the public that the public comment period for its recently published proposed rule titled “Movement of Certain Genetically Engineered Organisms” will be closing August 6, 2019.
In preparing this proposal, the Department was guided by the following principles: Sustainable, Ecological, Consistent, Uniform, Responsible, Efficient, or SECURE for short. The SECURE rule will modernize USDA’s biotechnology regulations with a balanced approach that continues to protect plant health while allowing agricultural innovation to thrive.
SECURE would mark the first significant revision of USDA’s biotechnology regulations since they were established in 1987. For several years, USDA has worked to engage stakeholders about potential changes to these regulations, with the goal of fostering public confidence while providing industry with an efficient and transparent review process that doesn’t restrict innovation.
USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) oversees the importation, interstate movement and environmental release of genetically engineered organisms to ensure they do not pose a plant pest risk. SECURE is designed to have sufficient regulatory flexibility for advances in genetic engineering and our understanding of the plant pest risk posed by them. SECURE also incorporates certain provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill and recommendations from the 2015 USDA Office of Inspector General report on GE organisms.
USDA published the proposed rule on June 5, 2019, for a 60-day public comment period. The draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (dPEIS) was published for a 60-day public comment period on June 6, therefore the public comment period for both the dPEIS and the proposed rule will be kept open until August 6. USDA encourages our stakeholders and the public to take this opportunity to provide comments. After the public comment period closes, we will decide next steps based on our evaluation of public comments.