[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 7 (Tuesday, January 12, 2010)]
[Pages 1585-1586]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-345]



Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2007-0044]

Draft Environmental Impact Statement; Determination of Regulated 
Status of Alfalfa Genetically Engineered for Tolerance to the Herbicide 

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of availability of a draft environmental impact 
statement and public meetings.


SUMMARY: We are advising the public that the Animal and Plant Health 
Inspection Service has prepared a draft environmental impact statement 
in connection with making a determination on the status of the Monsanto 
Company and Forage Genetics International alfalfa lines designated as 
events J101 and J163 as regulated articles. This notice also provides 
notice of public meetings.

DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before 

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16, 2010. We will also consider comments made at public meetings to be 
held on January 19, 2010, and on February 3, 4, and 9, 2010.

ADDRESSES: The public meetings will be held in Las Vegas, NV, Kearney, 
NE, Lincoln, NE, and Riverdale, MD (see the Supplementary Information 
section of this notice for the address of each hearing site). You may 
submit written comments on the draft environmental impact statement by 
either of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to (http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2007-0044) to view the draft 
environmental impact statement, or to submit or view public comments.
     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send two copies of 
your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2007-0044, Regulatory Analysis and 
Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, 
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your comment refers to 
Docket No. APHIS-2007-0044.
     Reading Room: You may read any comments that we receive on this 
docket 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) 690-2817 before coming.
     Other Information: Additional information about APHIS and its 
programs is available on the Internet at (http://www.aphis.usda.gov).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Andrea Huberty, Branch Chief, 
Regulatory and Environmental Analysis Branch, BRS, APHIS, 4700 River 
Road Unit 146, Riverdale, MD 20737; (301) 734-0485.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:  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.
    In a notice published in the Federal Register on June 27, 2005 (70 
FR 36917-36919, Docket No. 04-085-3), APHIS advised the public of its 
determination, effective June 14, 2005, that the Monsanto/Forage 
Genetics International (FGI) alfalfa events J101 and J163 were no 
longer considered regulated articles under the regulations governing 
the introduction of certain genetically engineered organisms. That 
determination was subsequently challenged in the United States District 
Court for the Northern District of California by the Center for Food 
Safety, other associations, and several organic alfalfa growers. The 
lawsuit alleged that APHIS' decision to deregulate the genetically 
engineered glyphosate-tolerant alfalfa events J101 and J163 violated 
the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species 
Act, and the Plant Protection Act.
    On February 13, 2007, the court in that case issued its memorandum 
and order in which it determined that APHIS had violated NEPA by not 
preparing an environmental impact statement (EIS) in connection with 
its deregulation determination. The court ruled that the environmental 
assessment prepared by APHIS for its deregulation determination failed 
to adequately consider certain environmental impacts in violation of 
NEPA. The deregulation determination was vacated and APHIS was directed 
by the court to prepare an EIS in connection with its new determination 
on the regulated status of the events.
    APHIS has prepared a draft EIS, titled ``Glyphosate-Tolerant 
Alfalfa Events J101 and J163: Request for Nonregulated Status'' 
(November 2009), regarding this determination of regulated status. The 
EIS is available on Regulations.gov for review and comment, and may be 
accessed via the Internet address provided above under the heading 
    A notice of availability regarding the draft EIS was also published 
by the Environmental Protection Agency in the Federal Register on 
December 18, 2009 (74 FR 67206-67207, Docket No. ER-FRL-8986-6).

Public Meetings

    We are advising the public that we are hosting four public 
meetings. The public meetings will be held as follows:
     Tuesday, January 19, 2010, in the Golden Nugget Hotel, 129 
Fremont Street, Las Vegas, NV, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., local time.
     Wednesday, February 3, 2010, in the Buffalo County 
Fairgrounds Exhibit Center, 3807 Avenue N, Kearney, NE, from 3 p.m. to 
6 p.m., local time.
     Thursday, February 4, 2010, in the Holiday Inn Haymarket, 
141 North 9th Street, Lincoln, NE, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., local time.
     Tuesday, February 9, 2010, in the USDA Center at 
Riverside, 4700 River Road, Riverdale, MD, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., local 
    A representative of APHIS will preside at the public meetings. Any 
interested person may appear and be heard in person, by attorney, or by 
other representative. Written statements may be submitted and will be 
made part of the meeting record.
    Registration will take place 30 minutes prior to the scheduled 
start of the meeting. Persons who wish to speak at a meeting will be 
asked to sign in with their name and organization to establish a record 
for the meeting. We ask that anyone who reads a statement provide two 
copies to the presiding officer at the meeting.
    The presiding officer may limit the time for each presentation, so 
that all interested persons appearing at each meeting have an 
opportunity to participate. Each meeting may be terminated at any time 
if all persons desiring to speak have been heard.

Parking and Security Procedures

    Please note that a fee of $4 in exact change is required to enter 
the parking lot at the USDA Center at Riverside. The machine accepts $1 
bills or quarters.
    Upon entering the building, visitors should inform security 
personnel that they are attending the public meeting regarding the 
regulated status of alfalfa genetically engineered for tolerance to the 
herbicide glyphosate. State issued photo identification is required and 
all bags will be screened. Security personnel will direct people to the 
registration tables. Registration upon arrival is required for all 
    Done in Washington, DC, this 6\th\ day of January 2010.

Kevin Shea
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2010-345 Filed 1-11-10: 11:49 am]