BIO Welcomes USDA’s Release of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement</a>

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 12, 2007) -- Jim Greenwood, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), released the following statement today regarding the publication of a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) on agricultural biotechnology regulations:

“In the decade since biotech crops have been commercially available in the United States, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has done an outstanding job in regulating agricultural biotechnology and ensuring biotech crops are safe for agriculture and the environment. Few industries have enjoyed the safety record of agricultural biotechnology, in large part due to the strong science-based federal regulations for this technology.

“As any industry continues to progress, and newer and more beneficial products become available, it is inevitable that regulations and government oversight concurrently advance. BIO and its members support USDA’s plans to review and revise agricultural biotechnology regulations ¯ commonly known as APHIS Part 340 regulations ¯ so that the Agency may continue to ensure the safety of this exciting and important technology. Today’s release of the draft programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is an important first step in revising the Part 340 regulations. The biotechnology industry appreciates the opportunity to review the EIS and provide industry comment to USDA to ensure that regulatory policies continue to be science- and risk-based.

“With renewed regulations in place, the biotechnology industry looks forward to providing farmers and consumers with new and enhanced agricultural biotechnology products such as nutrient-enhanced and healthful grains and oils, plant varieties that are tolerant to extreme environmental stresses and new industrial uses from biotech plant varieties, including increased yields to promote biofuel production. Agricultural biotechnology has the potential to support sustainable agriculture by producing more food while simultaneously reducing agriculture’s environmental footprint.”

BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and 31 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the annual BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry.  Visit BIO at www.bio.org.

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About BIO
BIO is the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world. BIOtechNOW is BIO's blog chronicling “innovations transforming our world” and the BIO Newsletter is the organization’s bi-weekly email newsletter. Subscribe to the BIO Newsletter.