[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 135 (Friday, July 13, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 41350-41351]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-17168]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2011-0095]


Monsanto Co.; Determination of Nonregulated Status of Soybean 
Genetically Engineered To Produce Stearidonic Acid

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: We are advising the public of our determination that a soybean 
line developed by the Monsanto Co., designated as event MON 87769, 
which has been genetically engineered to produce stearidonic acid, an 
omega-3 fatty acid not found in conventional soybean, is no longer 
considered a regulated article under our regulations governing the 
introduction of certain genetically engineered organisms. Our 
determination is based on our evaluation of data submitted by the 
Monsanto Company in its petition for a determination of nonregulated 
status, our analysis of available scientific data, and comments 
received from the public in response to our previous notice announcing 
the availability of the petition for nonregulated status and its 
associated environmental assessment and plant pest risk assessment. 
This notice also announces the availability of our written 
determination and finding of no significant impact.

DATES: Effective Date: July 13, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may read the documents referenced in this notice and the 
comments we received in our reading room. The reading room is located 
in room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence 
Avenue SW., Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 
4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone 
is there to help you, please call (202) 799-7039 before coming. Those 
documents are also available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/biotechnology/not_reg.html and are posted with the 
previous notice and the comments we received on the Regulations.gov Web 
site at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2011-0095.

[[Page 41351]]


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. John Turner, Director, 
Environmental Risk Analysis Programs, Biotechnology Regulatory 
Services, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 147, Riverdale, MD 20737-1236; 
(301) 851-3954, email: john.t.turner@aphis.usda.gov. To obtain copies 
of the documents referenced in this notice, contact Ms. Cindy Eck at 
(301) 851-3892, email: cynthia.a.eck@aphis.usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The regulations in 7 CFR part 340, ``Introduction of Organisms and 
Products Altered or Produced Through Genetic Engineering Which Are 
Plant Pests or Which There Is Reason to Believe Are Plant Pests,'' 
regulate, among other things, the introduction (importation, interstate 
movement, or release into the environment) of organisms and products 
altered or produced through genetic engineering that are plant pests or 
that there is reason to believe are plant pests. Such genetically 
engineered organisms and products are considered ``regulated 
articles.''
    The regulations in Sec.  340.6(a) provide that any person may 
submit a petition to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 
(APHIS) seeking a determination that an article should not be regulated 
under 7 CFR part 340. Paragraphs (b) and (c) of Sec.  340.6 describe 
the form that a petition for a determination of nonregulated status 
must take and the information that must be included in the petition.
    APHIS received a petition (APHIS Petition Number 09-183-01p) from 
the Monsanto Company (Monsanto) of St. Louis, MO, seeking a 
determination of nonregulated status of soybean (Glycine max) 
designated as event MON 87769, which has been genetically engineered to 
produce stearidonic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid not found in 
conventional soybean. The petition stated that this soybean is unlikely 
to pose a plant pest risk and, therefore, should not be a regulated 
article under APHIS' regulations in 7 CFR part 340.
    In a notice \1\ published in the Federal Register on December 27, 
2011 (76 FR 80871-80872, Docket No. APHIS-2011-0095), APHIS announced 
the availability of the Monsanto petition, a Plant Pest Risk Assessment 
(PPRA), and a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for public comment. 
APHIS solicited comments on the petition, whether the subject soybean 
are likely to pose a plant pest risk, the draft EA, and the PPRA for 60 
days ending on February 27, 2012.
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    \1\ To view the notice, petition, draft EA, the PPRA, and the 
comments we received, go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2011-0095.
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    APHIS received 226 comments during the comment period, with 21 
commenters expressing support of a determination of nonregulated status 
and the remaining 205 commenters expressing opposition. Issues raised 
during the comment period include socioeconomic impacts, changes in 
nutrition caused by the product, environmental impacts, changes in 
soybean properties, and product safety. APHIS has addressed the issues 
raised during the comment period and has provided responses to these 
comments as an attachment to the finding of no significant impact.

National Environmental Policy Act

    To provide the public with documentation of APHIS' review and 
analysis of any potential environmental impacts associated with a 
determination of nonregulated status of Monsanto's soybean event MON 
87769, an EA has been prepared. The EA was prepared in accordance with: 
(1) The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended 
(42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), (2) regulations of the Council on 
Environmental Quality for implementing the procedural provisions of 
NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), (3) USDA regulations implementing NEPA 
(7 CFR part 1b), and (4) APHIS' NEPA Implementing Procedures (7 CFR 
part 372). Based on our EA, the response to public comments, and other 
pertinent scientific data, APHIS has reached a finding of no 
significant impact with regard to the preferred alternative identified 
in the EA.

Determination

    Based on APHIS' analysis of field and laboratory data submitted by 
Monsanto, references provided in the petition, peer-reviewed 
publications, information analyzed in the EA, the PPRA, comments 
provided by the public, and information provided in APHIS' response to 
those public comments, APHIS has determined that Monsanto's soybean 
event MON 87769 is unlikely to pose a plant pest risk and therefore is 
no longer subject to our regulations governing the introduction of 
certain genetically engineered organisms.
    Copies of the signed determination document, as well as copies of 
the petition, PPRA, EA, finding of no significant impact, and response 
to comments are available as indicated in the ADDRESSES and FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT sections of this notice.

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 7701-7772 and 7781-7786; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 7 
CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.3.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 9th day of July 2012.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-17168 Filed 7-12-12; 8:45 am]
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