Dow AgroSciences LLC; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Determination of Nonregulated Status of Herbicide Resistant Corn and Soybeans, and Notice of Virtual Public Meeting, 28798-28800 [2013-11579]

Download as PDF 28798 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 95 / Thursday, May 16, 2013 / Notices 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 10th day of May 2013. Michael Gregoire, Deputy Administrator, Biotechnology Regulatory Services, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. [FR Doc. 2013–11580 Filed 5–15–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–34–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service [Docket No. APHIS–2013–0042] Dow AgroSciences LLC; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Determination of Nonregulated Status of Herbicide Resistant Corn and Soybeans, and Notice of Virtual Public Meeting Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: We are announcing to the public that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) intends to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) on environmental impacts that may result from the potential approval of three petitions from Dow AgroSciences LLC seeking a determination of nonregulated status of herbicide resistant corn and soybeans. Issues to be addressed in the EIS include the potential environmental impacts associated with the increased use of certain herbicides and possible selection for and spread of weeds resistant to the herbicide 2,4-D combined with resistance to other herbicides (multiple resistance). We are also requesting public comments to further delineate the scope of the alternatives and environmental impacts and issues to be included in this EIS. We are also announcing that APHIS will be hosting a virtual public meeting during the scoping period. The purpose of the scoping meeting will be to allow the public an opportunity to comment on the range of alternatives and environmental impacts and issues discussed in the EIS. DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before June 17, 2013. We will also consider comments made at the virtual public meeting that will be held during the comment period. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to https://www.regulations.gov/ tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:13 May 15, 2013 Jkt 229001 #!documentDetail;D=APHIS-2013-00420001. • Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to Docket No. APHIS–2013–0042, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A–03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737–1238. Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may be viewed at https:// www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2013-0042 or in our reading room, which 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. Other Information: Details regarding the virtual scoping meeting, including the time, date, and how to participate, will be available at https:// www.aphisvirtualmeetings.com. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Rebecca Stankiewicz Gabel, Branch Chief, Biotechnology Environmental Analysis Branch, Environmental Risk Analysis Programs, Biotechnology Regulatory Services, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 147, Riverdale, MD 20737– 1238; (301) 851–3954. To obtain copies of the petition, contact Ms. Cindy Eck at (301) 851–3882, email: cynthia.a.eck@aphis.usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background Under the authority of the plant pest provisions of the Plant Protection Act (PPA), as amended, (7 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.), 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 § 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 § 340.6 describe the form that a petition for a PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 determination of nonregulated status must take and the information that must be included in the petition. APHIS has received three petitions (referred to below as ‘‘the petitions’’) from Dow AgroSciences LLC (Dow) seeking determinations of nonregulated status for corn and soybean cultivars genetically engineered to be resistant to herbicides. The first petition, APHIS Petition Number 09–233–01p, seeks a determination of nonregulated status for corn (Zea mays) designated as event DAS–40278–9, which has been genetically engineered for increased resistance to certain broadleaf herbicides in the phenoxy auxin group (particularly the herbicide 2,4-D) and resistance to grass herbicides in the aryloxyphenoxypropionate (AOPP) acetyl coenzyme A carboxylase (ACCase) inhibitor group (i.e., ‘‘fop’’ herbicides, such as quizalofop-p-ethyl). The second petition, APHIS Petition Number 09–349–01p, seeks a determination of nonregulated status for soybean (Glycine max) designated as DAS–68416–4, which has been genetically engineered for resistance to certain broadleaf herbicides in the phenoxy auxin growth regulator group (particularly the herbicide 2,4-D) and the nonselective herbicide glufosinate. The third petition (APHIS Petition Number 11–234–01p) seeks a determination of nonregulated status for soybean designated as event DAS– 44406–6, which has been genetically engineered for resistance to certain broadleaf herbicides in the auxin growth regulator group (particularly the herbicide 2,4-D) and the nonselective herbicides glyphosate and glufosinate. The petitions state that these articles are unlikely to pose a plant pest risk and, therefore, should not be regulated articles under APHIS’ regulations in 7 CFR part 340. These part 340 regulations are authorized by the PPA to prevent the introduction or dissemination of plant pests, and the decision on whether or not to approve the petitions will be based on this standard. Notices were published 1 in the Federal Register for each petition advising the public that APHIS had 1 Docket No. APHIS–2010–0103 published on December 27, 2011, 76 FR 80872–80873; Docket No. APHIS–2012–0019 published on July 13, 2012, 77 FR 41367–41368; and Docket No. APHIS–2012– 0032 published on July 13, 2012, 77 FR 41361– 41362. The Federal Register notices for the petitions and supporting and related materials, including public comments, are available at https://www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2010-0103; https:// www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS2012-0019; and https://www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2012-0032. E:\FR\FM\16MYN1.SGM 16MYN1 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 95 / Thursday, May 16, 2013 / Notices received the petition and was seeking public comments on the petition. The notices for the first two petitions also sought comment on our plant pest risk assessment (PPRA) and our draft environmental assessment (EA) for each petition; we have not yet published a PPRA or EA for the third petition, so that notice sought comment on the petition, only. Under the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) (NEPA), Federal agencies must examine the potential environmental impacts of proposed major Federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment before those actions can be taken. In accordance with NEPA, regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality for implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500–1508), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations implementing NEPA (7 CFR part 1b), and APHIS’ NEPA Implementing Procedures (7 CFR part 372), APHIS has considered how to properly examine the potential environmental impacts of decisions for petitions for determinations of nonregulated status. For each petition for a determination of nonregulated status under consideration in the past, APHIS prepared an EA to provide the APHIS decisionmaker with a review and analysis of any potential environmental impacts. In two cases,2 APHIS prepared an environmental impact statement (EIS). In reviewing petitions for determinations of nonregulated status of crop cultivars genetically engineered to be resistant to various herbicides, APHIS has identified the potential selection of herbicide resistant weeds as a potential environmental impact. We have concluded for the three Dow petitions that it is appropriate to complete an EIS for the potential determinations of nonregulated status requested by the petitions in order to perform a comprehensive environmental analysis of the potential selection of 2,4-D resistant weeds and other potential environmental impacts that may occur as a result of making determinations of nonregulated status of these events. An EIS can examine the broad and cumulative environmental impacts of making determinations of nonregulated status of the three requested corn and soybean cultivars, 2 Glyphosate-Tolerant Alfalfa Events J101 and J163: Request for Nonregulated Status, Final Environmental Impact Statement-December 2010; Glyphosate-Tolerant H7–1 Sugar Beet: Request for Nonregulated Status, Final Environmental Impact Statement-May 2012. VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:13 May 15, 2013 Jkt 229001 including potential impacts of the proposed action on the human environment, alternative courses of action, and possible mitigation measures for reducing potential impacts. Alternatives The Federal action being considered is whether to approve the three petitions for nonregulated status. This notice identifies reasonable alternatives and potential issues that may be studied in the EIS. We are requesting public comments to further delineate the range of alternatives and environmental impacts and issues to be evaluated in the EIS for the three petitions. We will be hosting a virtual meeting during the scoping period to discuss the appropriate scope of the EIS (see ADDRESSES above). We are particularly interested in receiving comments regarding biological, cultural, or ecological issues, and we encourage the submission of scientific data, studies, or research to support your comments. The EIS will consider a range of reasonable alternatives. APHIS is currently considering four alternatives: (1) Take no action, i.e., APHIS would not change the regulatory status of the corn and soybean events and they would continue to be regulated articles, (2) approve the three petitions for determinations of nonregulated status of the corn event and both soybean events, (3) approve the petition for determination of nonregulated status of the corn event and deny the two petitions for determination of nonregulated status of the soybean events, or (4) approve the petitions for determination of nonregulated status of the two soybean events and deny the petition for determination of nonregulated status of the corn event. For the purposes of alternatives 3 and 4, APHIS will consider either approving both soybean petitions and denying the corn petition or denying both soybean petitions and approving the corn petition. Corn and soybean are often grown as rotation crops and these alternatives can compare the potential impacts of approving petitions for one rotation crop without the other. APHIS is grouping the two soybean petitions in alternatives 3 and 4 because the two soybean events share both 2,4-D and glufosinate resistance. One soybean, DAS 44406–6 is also resistant to glyphosate. However, DAS 68416–4 (glufosinate, 2,4-D resistant) could be crossed with any glyphosate resistant soybean for which APHIS has previously made a determination of nonregulated status to create a soybean that is resistant to all three herbicides. PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 28799 Because APHIS does not regulate breeding of events for which APHIS has previously made a determination of nonregulated status, approving the petition for nonregulated status for DAS 68416–4 and not DAS 44406–6 could still result in a soybean resistant to all three herbicides being marketed. Based on the preliminary plant pest risk assessments for each soybean event, APHIS has not identified any plant pest risks associated with either soybean event. Therefore, APHIS plans to consider either approving or denying both soybean petitions together in these alternatives. Environmental Issues for Consideration We have also identified the following potential environmental issues for consideration in the EIS. We are requesting that the public provide information on the following questions during the comment period on this Notice of Intent (NOI): • What are the impacts of weeds, herbicide-resistant weeds, weed management practices, and unmet weed management needs for crop cultivation, and how may these change with the approval of these petitions for nonregulated status of these three herbicide-resistant crops? • In which weeds would the approval of the three petitions likely contribute to controlling the spread of biotypes that are resistant to more than one herbicide mode of action and how will that control influence weed management strategies in cropland or managed noncropland? • What weeds are currently resistant to herbicides in the phenoxyaliphatic acid herbicide class of the auxin growth regulator group (e.g., 2,4-D) and what is their natural frequency and occurrence in corn and soy crops, other crops, and in non-crop ecosystems? • Would the increased use of 2,4-D associated with the approval of these three petitions cause an acceleration of the selection and spread of 2,4-Dresistant biotypes? Are there weeds that are more likely to be difficult to control if they become resistant to 2,4-D? • In which crops or non-cropland weeds would the selection and spread of 2,4-D-resistant biotypes be most problematic in terms of available alternate weed management strategies and agronomic production? • In which weeds would the approval of the three petitions likely contribute to the selection and spread of biotypes that are resistant to more than one herbicide mode of action and which would be most problematic for weed management strategies in cropland or managed noncropland? E:\FR\FM\16MYN1.SGM 16MYN1 28800 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 95 / Thursday, May 16, 2013 / Notices • What are the potential changes in agronomic practices, including crop rotation and weed management practices (e.g., herbicide use, tillage), for control of weeds in rotational crops that may occur with the use of these herbicide-resistant crops? What are the current and potentially effective strategies for management of herbicideresistant weeds in crops? What are the costs associated with these practices and strategies? Comments that identify other issues or alternatives that chould be considered for examination in the EIS would be especially helpful. All comments received during the scoping period will be carefully considered in developing the final scope of the EIS. Upon completion of the draft EIS, a notice announcing its availability and an opportunity to comment on it will be published in the Federal Register. 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 10th day of May 2013. Michael Gregoire, Deputy Administrator, Biotechnology Regulatory Services, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. [FR Doc. 2013–11579 Filed 5–15–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–34–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Ravalli County Resource Advisory Committee Forest Service, USDA. Notice of meeting. AGENCY: ACTION: The Ravalli County Resource Advisory Committee will meet in Hamilton, MT. The committee is authorized under the Secure Rural Schools and Community SelfDetermination Act (Pub. L. 110–343) (the Act) and operates in compliance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The purpose of the committee is to improve collaborative relationships and to provide advice and recommendations to the Forest Service concerning projects and funding consistent with the title II of the Act. The meeting is open to the public. The purpose of the meeting is to provide information regarding the monitoring of RAC projects. DATES: The meeting will be held May 28, 2013, 6:30 p.m. ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held at the Bitteroot National Forest Supervisor’s Office located at 1801 N. 1st, Hamilton, MT. Written comments tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 19:45 May 15, 2013 Jkt 229001 may be submitted as described under Supplementary Information. All comments, including names and addresses when provided, are placed in the record and are available for public inspection and copying. The public may inspect comments received at the Bitteroot National Forest Supervisor’s Office. Please call ahead to 406–363– 7100 to facilitate entry into the building and to view comments. Dan Ritter, Stevensville District Ranger at 406–777–5461 or Joni Lubke, Executive Assistant at 406–363–7100. Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1– 800–877–8339 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday. Please make requests in advance for sign language interpreting, assistive listening devices or other reasonable accomodation for access to the facility or procedings by contacting the person listed for further information. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The following business will be conducted: Presentations will be given on the montioring of RAC projects. Contact Joni Lubke at 406–363–7100 for a full agenda. Anyone who would like to bring related matters to the attention of the committee may file written statements with the committee staff before the meeting. Individuals wishing to make an oral statement should request in writing by May 1, 2013 to be scheduled on the agenda. Written comments and requests for time for oral comments must be sent to Joni Lubke at 1801 N. 1st, Hamilton, MT 59840 or by email to jmlubke@fs.fed.us or via facsimile to 406–363–7159. A summary of the meeting will be posted at https://fsplaces.fs.fed.us/fsfiles/unit/wo/ secure_rural_schools.nsf/ Web_Agendas?OpenView& Count=1000&RestrictToCategory= Ravalli+County within 21 days of the meeting. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Dated: May 8, 2013. Julie K. King, Forest Supervisor. [FR Doc. 2013–11699 Filed 5–15–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–11–P PO 00000 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Foreign-Trade Zones Board [S–65–2013] Foreign-Trade Zone 61—San Juan, Puerto Rico; Application for Subzone; Parapiezas Corporation; San Juan, Puerto Rico An application has been submitted to the Foreign-Trade Zones Board (the Board) by the Puerto Rico Trade & Export Company, grantee of FTZ 61, requesting special-purpose subzone status for the facility of Parapiezas Corporation located in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The application was submitted pursuant to the provisions of the Foreign-Trade Zones Act, as amended (19 U.S.C. 81a–81u), and the regulations of the Board (15 CFR part 400). It was formally docketed on May 9, 2013. The proposed subzone (2.44 acres) is located at Ave. 65th de Infanteria Km. 5.3 Parque Escorial in San Juan. No authorization for production activity has been requested at this time. The proposed subzone would be subject to the existing activation limit of FTZ 61. In accordance with the Board’s regulations, Camille Evans of the FTZ Staff is designated examiner to review the application and make recommendations to the Executive Secretary. Public comment is invited from interested parties. Submissions shall be addressed to the Board’s Executive Secretary at the address below. The closing period for their receipt is June 25, 2013. Rebuttal comments in response to material submitted during the foregoing period may be submitted during the subsequent 15-day period to July 10, 2013. A copy of the application will be available for public inspection at the Office of the Executive Secretary, Foreign-Trade Zones Board, Room 21013, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230–0002, and in the ‘‘Reading Room’’ section of the Board’s Web site, which is accessible via www.trade.gov/ftz. For further information, contact Camille Evans at Camille.Evans@trade.gov or (202) 482– 2350. Dated: May 9, 2013. Andrew McGilvray, Executive Secretary. [FR Doc. 2013–11685 Filed 5–15–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–DS–P Frm 00005 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\16MYN1.SGM 16MYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 95 (Thursday, May 16, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 28798-28800]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-11579]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2013-0042]


Dow AgroSciences LLC; Notice of Intent To Prepare an 
Environmental Impact Statement for Determination of Nonregulated Status 
of Herbicide Resistant Corn and Soybeans, and Notice of Virtual Public 
Meeting

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: We are announcing to the public that the Animal and Plant 
Health Inspection Service (APHIS) intends to prepare an environmental 
impact statement (EIS) on environmental impacts that may result from 
the potential approval of three petitions from Dow AgroSciences LLC 
seeking a determination of nonregulated status of herbicide resistant 
corn and soybeans. Issues to be addressed in the EIS include the 
potential environmental impacts associated with the increased use of 
certain herbicides and possible selection for and spread of weeds 
resistant to the herbicide 2,4-D combined with resistance to other 
herbicides (multiple resistance). We are also requesting public 
comments to further delineate the scope of the alternatives and 
environmental impacts and issues to be included in this EIS. We are 
also announcing that APHIS will be hosting a virtual public meeting 
during the scoping period. The purpose of the scoping meeting will be 
to allow the public an opportunity to comment on the range of 
alternatives and environmental impacts and issues discussed in the EIS.

DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before June 
17, 2013. We will also consider comments made at the virtual public 
meeting that will be held during the comment period.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to https://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=APHIS-2013-0042-0001.
     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to 
Docket No. APHIS-2013-0042, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, 
APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-
1238.
    Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may 
be viewed at https://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2013-
0042 or in our reading room, which 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.
    Other Information: Details regarding the virtual scoping meeting, 
including the time, date, and how to participate, will be available at 
https://www.aphisvirtualmeetings.com.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Rebecca Stankiewicz Gabel, Branch 
Chief, Biotechnology Environmental Analysis Branch, Environmental Risk 
Analysis Programs, Biotechnology Regulatory Services, APHIS, 4700 River 
Road Unit 147, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238; (301) 851-3954. To obtain 
copies of the petition, contact Ms. Cindy Eck at (301) 851-3882, email: 
cynthia.a.eck@aphis.usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Under the authority of the plant pest provisions of the Plant 
Protection Act (PPA), as amended, (7 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.), 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 has received three petitions (referred to below as ``the 
petitions'') from Dow AgroSciences LLC (Dow) seeking determinations of 
nonregulated status for corn and soybean cultivars genetically 
engineered to be resistant to herbicides. The first petition, APHIS 
Petition Number 09-233-01p, seeks a determination of nonregulated 
status for corn (Zea mays) designated as event DAS-40278-9, which has 
been genetically engineered for increased resistance to certain 
broadleaf herbicides in the phenoxy auxin group (particularly the 
herbicide 2,4-D) and resistance to grass herbicides in the 
aryloxyphenoxypropionate (AOPP) acetyl coenzyme A carboxylase (ACCase) 
inhibitor group (i.e., ``fop'' herbicides, such as quizalofop-p-ethyl). 
The second petition, APHIS Petition Number 09-349-01p, seeks a 
determination of nonregulated status for soybean (Glycine max) 
designated as DAS-68416-4, which has been genetically engineered for 
resistance to certain broadleaf herbicides in the phenoxy auxin growth 
regulator group (particularly the herbicide 2,4-D) and the nonselective 
herbicide glufosinate. The third petition (APHIS Petition Number 11-
234-01p) seeks a determination of nonregulated status for soybean 
designated as event DAS-44406-6, which has been genetically engineered 
for resistance to certain broadleaf herbicides in the auxin growth 
regulator group (particularly the herbicide 2,4-D) and the nonselective 
herbicides glyphosate and glufosinate. The petitions state that these 
articles are unlikely to pose a plant pest risk and, therefore, should 
not be regulated articles under APHIS' regulations in 7 CFR part 340. 
These part 340 regulations are authorized by the PPA to prevent the 
introduction or dissemination of plant pests, and the decision on 
whether or not to approve the petitions will be based on this standard.
    Notices were published \1\ in the Federal Register for each 
petition advising the public that APHIS had

[[Page 28799]]

received the petition and was seeking public comments on the petition. 
The notices for the first two petitions also sought comment on our 
plant pest risk assessment (PPRA) and our draft environmental 
assessment (EA) for each petition; we have not yet published a PPRA or 
EA for the third petition, so that notice sought comment on the 
petition, only.
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    \1\ Docket No. APHIS-2010-0103 published on December 27, 2011, 
76 FR 80872-80873; Docket No. APHIS-2012-0019 published on July 13, 
2012, 77 FR 41367-41368; and Docket No. APHIS-2012-0032 published on 
July 13, 2012, 77 FR 41361-41362. The Federal Register notices for 
the petitions and supporting and related materials, including public 
comments, are available at https://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2010-0103; https://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2012-0019; and https://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2012-0032.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Under the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) (NEPA), Federal agencies must 
examine the potential environmental impacts of proposed major Federal 
actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment 
before those actions can be taken. In accordance with NEPA, regulations 
of the Council on Environmental Quality for implementing the procedural 
provisions of NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), U.S. Department of 
Agriculture (USDA) regulations implementing NEPA (7 CFR part 1b), and 
APHIS' NEPA Implementing Procedures (7 CFR part 372), APHIS has 
considered how to properly examine the potential environmental impacts 
of decisions for petitions for determinations of nonregulated status. 
For each petition for a determination of nonregulated status under 
consideration in the past, APHIS prepared an EA to provide the APHIS 
decisionmaker with a review and analysis of any potential environmental 
impacts. In two cases,\2\ APHIS prepared an environmental impact 
statement (EIS).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ Glyphosate-Tolerant Alfalfa Events J101 and J163: Request 
for Nonregulated Status, Final Environmental Impact Statement-
December 2010; Glyphosate-Tolerant H7-1 Sugar Beet: Request for 
Nonregulated Status, Final Environmental Impact Statement-May 2012.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In reviewing petitions for determinations of nonregulated status of 
crop cultivars genetically engineered to be resistant to various 
herbicides, APHIS has identified the potential selection of herbicide 
resistant weeds as a potential environmental impact. We have concluded 
for the three Dow petitions that it is appropriate to complete an EIS 
for the potential determinations of nonregulated status requested by 
the petitions in order to perform a comprehensive environmental 
analysis of the potential selection of 2,4-D resistant weeds and other 
potential environmental impacts that may occur as a result of making 
determinations of nonregulated status of these events. An EIS can 
examine the broad and cumulative environmental impacts of making 
determinations of nonregulated status of the three requested corn and 
soybean cultivars, including potential impacts of the proposed action 
on the human environment, alternative courses of action, and possible 
mitigation measures for reducing potential impacts.

Alternatives

    The Federal action being considered is whether to approve the three 
petitions for nonregulated status. This notice identifies reasonable 
alternatives and potential issues that may be studied in the EIS. We 
are requesting public comments to further delineate the range of 
alternatives and environmental impacts and issues to be evaluated in 
the EIS for the three petitions. We will be hosting a virtual meeting 
during the scoping period to discuss the appropriate scope of the EIS 
(see ADDRESSES above). We are particularly interested in receiving 
comments regarding biological, cultural, or ecological issues, and we 
encourage the submission of scientific data, studies, or research to 
support your comments.
    The EIS will consider a range of reasonable alternatives. APHIS is 
currently considering four alternatives: (1) Take no action, i.e., 
APHIS would not change the regulatory status of the corn and soybean 
events and they would continue to be regulated articles, (2) approve 
the three petitions for determinations of nonregulated status of the 
corn event and both soybean events, (3) approve the petition for 
determination of nonregulated status of the corn event and deny the two 
petitions for determination of nonregulated status of the soybean 
events, or (4) approve the petitions for determination of nonregulated 
status of the two soybean events and deny the petition for 
determination of nonregulated status of the corn event.
    For the purposes of alternatives 3 and 4, APHIS will consider 
either approving both soybean petitions and denying the corn petition 
or denying both soybean petitions and approving the corn petition. Corn 
and soybean are often grown as rotation crops and these alternatives 
can compare the potential impacts of approving petitions for one 
rotation crop without the other. APHIS is grouping the two soybean 
petitions in alternatives 3 and 4 because the two soybean events share 
both 2,4-D and glufosinate resistance. One soybean, DAS 44406-6 is also 
resistant to glyphosate. However, DAS 68416-4 (glufosinate, 2,4-D 
resistant) could be crossed with any glyphosate resistant soybean for 
which APHIS has previously made a determination of nonregulated status 
to create a soybean that is resistant to all three herbicides. Because 
APHIS does not regulate breeding of events for which APHIS has 
previously made a determination of nonregulated status, approving the 
petition for nonregulated status for DAS 68416-4 and not DAS 44406-6 
could still result in a soybean resistant to all three herbicides being 
marketed. Based on the preliminary plant pest risk assessments for each 
soybean event, APHIS has not identified any plant pest risks associated 
with either soybean event. Therefore, APHIS plans to consider either 
approving or denying both soybean petitions together in these 
alternatives.

Environmental Issues for Consideration

    We have also identified the following potential environmental 
issues for consideration in the EIS. We are requesting that the public 
provide information on the following questions during the comment 
period on this Notice of Intent (NOI):
     What are the impacts of weeds, herbicide-resistant weeds, 
weed management practices, and unmet weed management needs for crop 
cultivation, and how may these change with the approval of these 
petitions for nonregulated status of these three herbicide-resistant 
crops?
     In which weeds would the approval of the three petitions 
likely contribute to controlling the spread of biotypes that are 
resistant to more than one herbicide mode of action and how will that 
control influence weed management strategies in cropland or managed 
non-cropland?
     What weeds are currently resistant to herbicides in the 
phenoxyaliphatic acid herbicide class of the auxin growth regulator 
group (e.g., 2,4-D) and what is their natural frequency and occurrence 
in corn and soy crops, other crops, and in non-crop ecosystems?
     Would the increased use of 2,4-D associated with the 
approval of these three petitions cause an acceleration of the 
selection and spread of 2,4-D-resistant biotypes? Are there weeds that 
are more likely to be difficult to control if they become resistant to 
2,4-D?
     In which crops or non-cropland weeds would the selection 
and spread of 2,4-D-resistant biotypes be most problematic in terms of 
available alternate weed management strategies and agronomic 
production?
     In which weeds would the approval of the three petitions 
likely contribute to the selection and spread of biotypes that are 
resistant to more than one herbicide mode of action and which would be 
most problematic for weed management strategies in cropland or managed 
non-cropland?

[[Page 28800]]

     What are the potential changes in agronomic practices, 
including crop rotation and weed management practices (e.g., herbicide 
use, tillage), for control of weeds in rotational crops that may occur 
with the use of these herbicide-resistant crops? What are the current 
and potentially effective strategies for management of herbicide-
resistant weeds in crops? What are the costs associated with these 
practices and strategies?
    Comments that identify other issues or alternatives that chould be 
considered for examination in the EIS would be especially helpful. All 
comments received during the scoping period will be carefully 
considered in developing the final scope of the EIS. Upon completion of 
the draft EIS, a notice announcing its availability and an opportunity 
to comment on it will be published in the Federal Register.

    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 10th day of May 2013.
Michael Gregoire,
Deputy Administrator, Biotechnology Regulatory Services, Animal and 
Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-11579 Filed 5-15-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P