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Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)

Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
Impacts of Proposed Revisions to APHIS Regulation of Genetically Engineered Organisms


Biotechnology Regulatory Services (BRS), a program within the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), is responsible for regulating the introduction—meaning the importation, interstate movement, and environmental release—of genetically engineered (GE) organisms. While BRS' current regulations have been effective in ensuring the safe introduction of GE organisms, the program is considering potential revisions to update its existing regulations in light of advances in science and technology, as well as the knowledge and experience BRS' experts have gained through their work.

As part of the evaluation of its regulatory program, BRS published a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in July 2007. The draft EIS is a crucial step in the regulatory revision process. The draft EIS evaluates the environmental impacts of the current regulations and the potential environmental effects of the revisions under consideration. The EIS process provides a detailed analysis of the regulatory alternatives that BRS is considering and allows for public input and comment.

View the Complete Draft Environmental Impact Statement (pdf, 310 pages)

View the July 17, 2007 Federal Register Notice Announcing the Availability of the Draft EIS

View the July 12, 2007 Press Release Announcing the Availability of the Draft EIS


In the draft EIS, APHIS evaluates the potential environmental impacts of changes to its regulatory system. Some of the regulatory changes APHIS is considering include:

  • Expanding the scope of our regulatory authority
  • Multi-tiered permitting system
  • How to respond to small amounts of regulated GE material in the environment
  • Importation of commodities that are unable to grow/reproduce
  • How to regulate crops used to produce pharmaceutical and industrial compounds
  • Conditional nonregulatory status

View the EIS factsheet summarizing changes under consideration

Public Participation


Read about the variety of ways that APHIS gathered public comments in the EIS process.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Draft EIS


View a list of frequently asked questions about the EIS process and the BRS Programmatic EIS.

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