APHIS announces final EIS for GE sugar beets
In the FEIS, APHIS has selected alternative 2, determination of nonregulated status for RR sugar beets, as the Agency’s preferred alternative. This is consistent with the Agency’s authority with regard to determining the plant pest risk of RR sugar beets.
In response to a U.S. District Court decision in 2009, APHIS has worked hard to complete this FEIS and ensure it is sound and comprehensive. While APHIS worked on the EIS for the petition for full nonregulated status for RR sugar beets, the Agency granted an interim regulatory measure to partially deregulate the RR sugar beet root crop production under mandatory conditions and issue regulatory permits for the seed crop production. This allowed both the root and seed crops to go into the ground and be harvested in accordance with strict Agency requirements and monitoring.
In October, 2011, APHIS published a draft PPRA and a draft EIS and made them available for public comment for 60 days. APHIS held three public meetings across the United States during the open comment period for both documents, and approximately 150 people attended. APHIS received approximately 25,000 comments on the drafts, many of which were helpful to the agency.
APHIS has submitted the final EIS to the Environmental Protection Agency for publication in the Federal Register. APHIS anticipates that EPA will publish a notice that the final EIS on RR sugar beets is available for public review in the Federal Register on June 8th, 2012. A copy of the FEIS provided to EPA can be reviewed HERE and the final PPRA is available HERE.
With Agriculture Secretary Vilsack’s leadership, APHIS works tirelessly to create and sustain opportunities for America’s farmers, ranchers and producers. Each day, APHIS promotes U.S. agricultural health, regulates genetically engineered organisms, administers the Animal Welfare Act, and carries out wildlife damage management activities, all to safeguard the nation’s $157 billion agriculture, fishing and forestry industries. In the event that a plant or animal pest or disease of concern is detected, APHIS implements emergency protocols and partners with affected states and other countries to quickly manage or eradicate the outbreak. To promote the health of U.S. agriculture in the international trade arena, APHIS develops and advances science-based standards with trading partners to ensure America’s agricultural exports, valued at more than $137 billion annually, are protected from unjustified restrictions.