Monsanto Company and Forage Genetics International; Determination of Nonregulatory Status of Genetically Engineered Alfalfa, 66686-66687 [2014-26597]

Download as PDF 66686 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 217 / Monday, November 10, 2014 / Notices Would this new program be subject to referendum? Yes. Within 3 years following USDA’s issuance of a final order, a referendum would be conducted among eligible beef industry entities to determine whether they favor continuation, termination, or suspension of the program. If the referendum passes, the new program would continue, with a second referendum held within 7 years of the start of the program. If the initial referendum fails, the program would be terminated. asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES What happens to the Beef Checkoff Program that was established under the 1985 Act? Nothing; the current Beef Checkoff Program would continue. This action is separate from the Beef Promotion and Research Order (7 CFR Part 1260) established under the 1985 Act. The 1985 Act program would continue to run until beef producers and importers vote in a referendum to terminate the program. As provided by the 1985 Act, USDA would conduct a referendum on the request of a representative group comprising 10 per cent or more of cattle producers to determine whether cattle producers favor the termination or suspension of the program. More information regarding the referendum process authorized by the Act of 1985 is available here: http:// www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/ getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5108482. The proposed program to be implemented under the 1996 Act would run in addition to the current Beef Checkoff Program, and assessments collected under the new program would be handled under separate authority. Projects and funding would be determined by provisions established under the new order. Comment Procedures In your comments, please reference the heading(s) under which you are contributing information. USDA is specifically seeking comments addressing the questions listed below. 1. Who should be assessed? 2. What should be the board structure? • Who is eligible to serve? • Should there be a relatively large delegate body appointed by the Secretary that would elect and recommend from within itself a smaller board? • What should be the size of the board? • What should be the term of office? 3. How should the board be selected? • Who may nominate eligible candidates to serve? VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:25 Nov 07, 2014 Jkt 235001 • What should be the nomination and selection process? 4. What should be the powers and duties of the board? 5. Who has decision-making authority? • Should funding decisions be made by the full board or a smaller body elected from within this board? • Should funding decisions be made in conjunction with other organizations such as the Federation of State Beef Councils or the current Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board? 6. How should the assessment rate be determined? • Should the assessment be a specified amount, a percent of value, or an amount determined by board? • If a specified amount or a percent of value, should there be provisions for adjustments to the rate by the board, and without subsequent producer referendum? • Should there be a de minimis exemption for certain size operations or classes of cattle or beef? • Should there be temporary or permanent provisions for refunds of assessments? 7. How should assessments be collected? • Should the States or the national board collect the assessment? • Should the assessment be levied at all points of sale, at slaughter, or at some other time? 8. When should the referenda be conducted? Comments that do not address these topics or topics closely associated with the structure of a new beef research and promotion order under the authority of the 1996 Act may be deemed unresponsive or beyond the scope of this notice. USDA will consider written comments in developing a Beef Promotion, Research and Information Order that provides for a promotion, research, and information program for beef and beef products under the 1996 Act. The new program would operate concurrently with the Beef Checkoff Program authorized under the authority of the 1985 Act. Dated: November 4, 2014. Rex A. Barnes, Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. 2014–26552 Filed 11–7–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service [Docket No. APHIS–2013–0013] Monsanto Company and Forage Genetics International; Determination of Nonregulatory Status of Genetically Engineered Alfalfa Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: We are advising the public of our determination that an alfalfa event developed by the Monsanto Company and Forage Genetics International, designated as event KK179, which has been genetically engineered to express reduced levels of guaiacyl lignin, 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 and Forage Genetics International in its petition for a determination of nonregulatory status, our analysis of available scientific data, and comments received from the public in response to our previous notices 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 November 10, 2014. ADDRESSES: You may read the documents referenced in this notice and the comments we received at http:// www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2013-0013 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. Supporting documents are also available on the APHIS Web site at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ biotechnology/petitions_table_ pending.shtml under APHIS Petition Number 12–321–01p. 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: SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\10NON1.SGM 10NON1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 217 / Monday, November 10, 2014 / Notices john.t.turner@aphis.usda.gov. To obtain copies of the supporting documents for this petition, contact Ms. Cindy Eck at (301) 851–3892, email: cynthia.a.eck@ aphis.usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 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 (GE) 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. APHIS received a petition (APHIS Petition Number 12–321–01p) from the Monsanto Company and Forage Genetics International (Monsanto and FGI), seeking a determination of nonregulated status of alfalfa designated as event KK179, which has been genetically engineered to express reduced levels of guaiacyl lignin, a major subunit component of total lignin that slows the digestion of cellulose in livestock, as compared to conventional alfalfa at the same stage of growth. The petition states that this alfalfa is unlikely to pose a plant pest risk and, therefore, should not be a regulated article under APHIS’ regulations in 7 CFR part 340. According to our process 1 for soliciting public comment when considering petitions for determinations of nonregulated status of GE organisms, APHIS accepts written comments regarding a petition once APHIS deems it complete. In a notice 2 published in the Federal Register on April 22, 2013, (78 FR 23738–23740, Docket No. 1 On March 6, 2012, APHIS published in the Federal Register (77 FR 13258–13260, Docket No. APHIS–2011–0129) a notice describing our public review process for soliciting public comments and information when considering petitions for determinations of nonregulated status for GE organisms. To view the notice, go to http:// www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS2011-0129. 2 To view the notice, the petition, the comments we received, and other supporting documents, go to http://www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2013-0013. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:25 Nov 07, 2014 Jkt 235001 APHIS–2013–0013), APHIS announced the availability of the Monsanto and FGI petition for public comment. APHIS solicited comments on the petition for 60 days ending on June 21, 2013, in order to help identify potential environmental and interrelated economic issues and impacts that APHIS may determine should be considered in our evaluation of the petition. APHIS received 55 comments on the petition. APHIS decided, based on its review of the petition and its evaluation and analysis of comments received during the 60-day public comment period on the petition, that the petition involves a GE organism that raises substantive new issues. According to our public review process for such petitions (see footnote 1), APHIS first solicits written comments from the public on a draft environmental assessment (EA) and a plant pest risk assessment (PPRA) for a 30-day comment period through the publication of a Federal Register notice. Then, after reviewing and evaluating the comments on the draft EA and the PPRA and other information, APHIS revises the PPRA as necessary and prepares a final EA and, based on the final EA, a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) decision document (either a finding of no significant impact (FONSI) or a notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement). If a FONSI is reached, APHIS furnishes a response to the petitioner, either approving or denying the petition. APHIS also publishes a notice in the Federal Register announcing the regulatory status of the GE organism and the availability of APHIS’ final EA, PPRA, FONSI, and our regulatory determination. In a notice (see footnote 2) published in the Federal Register on May 30, 2014, (79 FR 31082–31083, Docket No. APHIS–2013–0013), APHIS announced the availability of a draft EA and a PPRA for public comment. APHIS solicited comments on the draft EA, the PPRA, and whether the subject alfalfa is likely to pose a plant pest risk for 30 days ending on June 30, 2014. During the comment period, APHIS received a total of 177 comments, of which, 13 were opposed to a determination of nonregulated status and 164 were supportive of a determination of nonregulated status. Issues raised include potential effects on human health, effects from gene flow and effects on pollinators. APHIS has addressed the issues raised during the comment period and has provided responses to the comments as an attachment to the FONSI. PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 9990 66687 National Environmental Policy Act After reviewing and evaluating the comments received during the comment period on the draft EA and the PPRA and other information, APHIS has prepared a final EA. The EA has been prepared to provide the public with documentation of APHIS’ review and analysis of any potential environmental impacts associated with the determination of nonregulated status of Monsanto and FGI’s KK179 alfalfa. The EA was prepared in accordance with: (1) 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 FONSI with regard to the preferred alternative identified in the EA (to make a determination of nonregulated status of KK179 alfalfa). Determination Based on APHIS’ analysis of field and laboratory data submitted by Monsanto and FGI, 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 and FGI’s KK179 alfalfa is unlikely to pose a plant pest risk and therefore is no longer subject to our regulations governing the introduction of certain GE organisms. Copies of the signed determination document, PPRA, final EA, FONSI, and response to comments, as well as the previously published petition and supporting documents, 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 3rd day of November 2014. Kevin Shea, Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. [FR Doc. 2014–26597 Filed 11–7–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–34–P E:\FR\FM\10NON1.SGM 10NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 217 (Monday, November 10, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 66686-66687]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-26597]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2013-0013]


Monsanto Company and Forage Genetics International; Determination 
of Nonregulatory Status of Genetically Engineered Alfalfa

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: We are advising the public of our determination that an 
alfalfa event developed by the Monsanto Company and Forage Genetics 
International, designated as event KK179, which has been genetically 
engineered to express reduced levels of guaiacyl lignin, 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 and Forage Genetics International in its petition for 
a determination of nonregulatory status, our analysis of available 
scientific data, and comments received from the public in response to 
our previous notices 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 November 10, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may read the documents referenced in this notice and the 
comments we received at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2013-0013 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.
    Supporting documents are also available on the APHIS Web site at 
http://www.aphis.usda.gov/biotechnology/petitions_table_pending.shtml 
under APHIS Petition Number 12-321-01p.

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:

[[Page 66687]]

john.t.turner@aphis.usda.gov. To obtain copies of the supporting 
documents for this petition, 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 (GE) 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. APHIS received a petition (APHIS Petition Number 
12-321-01p) from the Monsanto Company and Forage Genetics International 
(Monsanto and FGI), seeking a determination of nonregulated status of 
alfalfa designated as event KK179, which has been genetically 
engineered to express reduced levels of guaiacyl lignin, a major 
subunit component of total lignin that slows the digestion of cellulose 
in livestock, as compared to conventional alfalfa at the same stage of 
growth. The petition states that this alfalfa is unlikely to pose a 
plant pest risk and, therefore, should not be a regulated article under 
APHIS' regulations in 7 CFR part 340.
    According to our process \1\ for soliciting public comment when 
considering petitions for determinations of nonregulated status of GE 
organisms, APHIS accepts written comments regarding a petition once 
APHIS deems it complete. In a notice \2\ published in the Federal 
Register on April 22, 2013, (78 FR 23738-23740, Docket No. APHIS-2013-
0013), APHIS announced the availability of the Monsanto and FGI 
petition for public comment. APHIS solicited comments on the petition 
for 60 days ending on June 21, 2013, in order to help identify 
potential environmental and interrelated economic issues and impacts 
that APHIS may determine should be considered in our evaluation of the 
petition.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ On March 6, 2012, APHIS published in the Federal Register 
(77 FR 13258-13260, Docket No. APHIS-2011-0129) a notice describing 
our public review process for soliciting public comments and 
information when considering petitions for determinations of 
nonregulated status for GE organisms. To view the notice, go to 
http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2011-0129.
    \2\ To view the notice, the petition, the comments we received, 
and other supporting documents, go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2013-0013.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    APHIS received 55 comments on the petition. APHIS decided, based on 
its review of the petition and its evaluation and analysis of comments 
received during the 60-day public comment period on the petition, that 
the petition involves a GE organism that raises substantive new issues. 
According to our public review process for such petitions (see footnote 
1), APHIS first solicits written comments from the public on a draft 
environmental assessment (EA) and a plant pest risk assessment (PPRA) 
for a 30-day comment period through the publication of a Federal 
Register notice. Then, after reviewing and evaluating the comments on 
the draft EA and the PPRA and other information, APHIS revises the PPRA 
as necessary and prepares a final EA and, based on the final EA, a 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) decision document (either a 
finding of no significant impact (FONSI) or a notice of intent to 
prepare an environmental impact statement). If a FONSI is reached, 
APHIS furnishes a response to the petitioner, either approving or 
denying the petition. APHIS also publishes a notice in the Federal 
Register announcing the regulatory status of the GE organism and the 
availability of APHIS' final EA, PPRA, FONSI, and our regulatory 
determination.
    In a notice (see footnote 2) published in the Federal Register on 
May 30, 2014, (79 FR 31082-31083, Docket No. APHIS-2013-0013), APHIS 
announced the availability of a draft EA and a PPRA for public comment. 
APHIS solicited comments on the draft EA, the PPRA, and whether the 
subject alfalfa is likely to pose a plant pest risk for 30 days ending 
on June 30, 2014. During the comment period, APHIS received a total of 
177 comments, of which, 13 were opposed to a determination of 
nonregulated status and 164 were supportive of a determination of 
nonregulated status. Issues raised include potential effects on human 
health, effects from gene flow and effects on pollinators. APHIS has 
addressed the issues raised during the comment period and has provided 
responses to the comments as an attachment to the FONSI.

National Environmental Policy Act

    After reviewing and evaluating the comments received during the 
comment period on the draft EA and the PPRA and other information, 
APHIS has prepared a final EA. The EA has been prepared to provide the 
public with documentation of APHIS' review and analysis of any 
potential environmental impacts associated with the determination of 
nonregulated status of Monsanto and FGI's KK179 alfalfa. The EA was 
prepared in accordance with: (1) 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 FONSI with regard to the preferred alternative 
identified in the EA (to make a determination of nonregulated status of 
KK179 alfalfa).

Determination

    Based on APHIS' analysis of field and laboratory data submitted by 
Monsanto and FGI, 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 and FGI's 
KK179 alfalfa is unlikely to pose a plant pest risk and therefore is no 
longer subject to our regulations governing the introduction of certain 
GE organisms.
    Copies of the signed determination document, PPRA, final EA, FONSI, 
and response to comments, as well as the previously published petition 
and supporting documents, 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 3rd day of November 2014.
Kevin Shea,
Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-26597 Filed 11-7-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P