The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced today that the Agency plans to prepare two separate environmental impact statements (EIS) on crops genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicides known as 2,4 dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and Dicamba.
APHIS will publish Notices of Intent to prepare EIS’s in an upcoming Federal Register, and each notice will be accompanied by a 60-day public comment period.
Cathleen Enright, Executive Vice President for Food and Agriculture for the Biotechnology Industry organization (BIO) issued the following statement in response:
"While the industry fully intends to cooperate with APHIS during this process, we are disappointed by the decision, and we believe that this action by the Agency sets bad precedent for future consideration of safe and beneficial genetically engineered plant products.
"These petitions have been under review by APHIS for years, and they have already been subjected to multiple delays in the approval system. Although APHIS received many comments, no new scientific issues about potential risks have been raised. Furthermore, the herbicides in question have been safely used for more than four decades.
"Not only does this decision come at a time when the Agency was looking to streamline its approval process and tighten timeframes, but at a time when American Farmers need new tools to combat weeds and maximize yields – tools and technologies that are available to farmers in other countries.
"Unfortunately, the U.S. regulatory system for biotech products remains unnecessarily burdensome and unpredictable, and American farmers are paying the price. The United States has always been a world leader in agriculture production with science and technology playing a key role in our success. If we can’t get safe and proven technologies into the hands of our growers, continued leadership is uncertain."
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