Bayer; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Determination of Nonregulated Status for Maize Developed Using Genetic Engineering for Dicamba, Glufosinate, Quizalofop, and 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid Resistance, With Tissue-Specific Glyphosate Resistance Facilitating the Production of Hybrid Maize Seed, 22384-22386 [2021-08879]

Download as PDF 22384 Notices Federal Register Vol. 86, No. 80 Wednesday, April 28, 2021 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency statements of organization and functions are examples of documents appearing in this section. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES April 23, 2020. The Department of Agriculture has submitted the following information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104–13. Comments are requested regarding: Whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of burden including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques and other forms of information technology. Comments regarding this information collection received by May 28, 2021 will be considered. Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be submitted within 30 days of the publication of this notice on the following website www.reginfo.gov/ public/do/PRAMain. Find this particular information collection by selecting ‘‘Currently under 30-day Review—Open for Public Comments’’ or by using the search function. An agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless the collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number and the agency informs potential persons who are to respond to the collection of information that such persons are not required to respond to the collection of information unless it VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:17 Apr 27, 2021 Jkt 253001 displays a currently valid OMB control number. Forest Service Title: Federal Excess Personal and Firefighter Property Program Administration. OMB Control Number: 0596–0223. Summary of Collection: Federal Excess Personal Property (FEPP) and Firefighter Property (FFP) programs provide state (including US territories) forestry agencies the opportunity to obtain excess Department of Defense and other Federal agencies equipment and supplies to be used in firefighting and emergency services. The authority to provide excess supplies to state agencies comes from Federal Property and Administration Services Act of 1949, as amended, 40 U.S.C., Sec 202. Authority to loan excess supplies comes from 10 U.S.C., Subtitle A, Part IV, Chapter 153, 2576b grants the authority for the FFP. Need and Use of the Information: The Forest Service (FS) ‘‘Federal Excess Property Management Information System (FEPMIS) database allows the FS to collect FEPP and FFP information used to manage property inventory electronically. Access to the database is limited to those state employees with access authorized by FS Management Officers working in the fire and Aviation staff. Each state designates an Accountable Officer who is responsible for the integrity of the program within their respective state and completing the necessary documentation for each program in which the state participates. For this reason FEPP and FFP collects the state forestry agency contact information and the information of the Accountable Officer. Cooperative Agreement forms FS–3100–10 and/or FS–3100–11 are used to collect the required information from the participating state agency that outlines the requirements and rules for the cooperation. Participating state agencies must submit separate agreements if they desire to participate in both programs. Description of Respondents: State and local government. Number of Respondents: 76. Frequency of Responses: Recordkeeping; Reporting: Annual. PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Total Burden Hours: 600. Levi S. Harrell, Departmental Information Collection Clearance Officer. [FR Doc. 2021–08821 Filed 4–27–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411–15–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service [Docket No. APHIS–2020–0021] Bayer; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Determination of Nonregulated Status for Maize Developed Using Genetic Engineering for Dicamba, Glufosinate, Quizalofop, and 2,4Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid Resistance, With Tissue-Specific Glyphosate Resistance Facilitating the Production of Hybrid Maize Seed Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA. ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement. AGENCY: We are advising the public that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) plans to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) regarding a request from Bayer seeking a determination of nonregulated status for maize developed using genetic engineering for dicamba, glufosinate, quizalofop, and 2,4dichlorophenoxyacetic acid resistance with tissue-specific glyphosate resistance facilitating the production of hybrid maize seed. APHIS is requesting public comment to help identify alternatives, and relevant information, studies, and/or analyses APHIS should consider in the EIS. DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before May 28, 2021. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov. Enter APHIS– 2020–0021 in the Search field. Select the Documents tab, then select the Comment button in the list of documents. • Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to Docket No. APHIS–2020–0021, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\28APN1.SGM 28APN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 80 / Wednesday, April 28, 2021 / Notices 3A–03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737–1238. The petition and any comments we receive on this docket may be viewed at www.regulations.gov or in our reading room, which is located in room 1620 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. Ms. Cindy Eck, Biotechnology Regulatory Services, APHIS, 4700 River Road, Unit 147, Riverdale, MD 20737–1236; phone (301) 851–3892; email: cynthia.a.eck@ aphis.usda.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Purpose and Need for the Proposed Action Under the authority of the plant pest provisions of the Plant Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.), the regulations in 7 CFR part 340, ‘‘Movement of Organisms Modified or Produced Through Genetic Engineering,’’ regulate, among other things, the importation, interstate movement, or release into the environment of organisms modified or produced through genetic engineering that are plant pests or pose a plausible plant pest risk. The petition for nonregulated status described in this notice is being evaluated under the version of the regulations effective at the time that it was received. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a final rule, published in the Federal Register on May 18, 2020 (85 FR 29790– 29838, Docket No. APHIS–2018–0034),1 revising 7 CFR part 340; however, the final rule is being implemented in phases. The new Regulatory Status Review (RSR) process, which replaces the petition for determination of nonregulated status process, became effective on April 5, 2021 for corn, soybean, cotton, potato, tomato, and alfalfa. The RSR process is effective for all crops as of October 1, 2021. However, ‘‘[u]ntil RSR is available for a particular crop . . . APHIS will continue to receive petitions for determination of nonregulated status for the crop in accordance with the [legacy] regulations at 7 CFR 340.6.’’ (85 FR 29815). This petition for a determination of nonregulated status is being evaluated in accordance with the 1 To view the final rule, go to www.regulations.gov and enter APHIS–2018–0034 in the Search field. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:17 Apr 27, 2021 Jkt 253001 regulations at 7 CFR 340.6 (2020) as it was received by APHIS December 11, 2019. Bayer has submitted a petition (APHIS Petition Number 19–316–01p) to APHIS seeking a determination of nonregulated status for a maize 2 (identified as MON 87429) which has been developed using genetic engineering for dicamba, glufosinate, quizalofop, and 2,4dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) resistance with tissue-specific glyphosate resistance facilitating the production of hybrid maize seed. The Bayer petition stated that MON 87429 maize is unlikely to pose a plant pest risk and, therefore, should not be regulated under APHIS’ regulations in 7 CFR part 340. According to our process 3 for soliciting public comment when considering petitions for determination of nonregulated status of regulated organisms, APHIS accepts written comments regarding a petition once APHIS deems it complete. On May 8, 2020, APHIS announced the availability of the Bayer petition for public comment in the Federal Register 4 (85 FR 27354–27355, Docket No. APHIS– 2020–0021). APHIS solicited comments on the petition for 60 days ending July 7, 2020, 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. We received 4,112 comments by the close of the comment period. Based on comments received on the petition and new information that APHIS became aware of after our May 8, 2020 Federal Register publication, we have determined that an environmental impact statement (EIS), as opposed to an environmental assessment (EA), is the appropriate National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis for the Bayer petition. Specifically, APHIS became 2 Maize is the common botanical term used globally for the cereal plant Zea mays. In the United States, maize is also referred to as corn. Both terms are used interchangeably in this document. For consistency with the common plant name and petition, APHIS uses the term maize, but also refers to corn in certain instances, such as in reference to food products. 3 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 www.regulations.gov and enter APHIS–2011–0129 in the Search field. 4 To view the notice, its supporting documents, or the comments that we received, go to www.regulations.gov and enter APHIS–2020–0021 in the Search field. PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 22385 aware of new information regarding potential issues with dicamba spray drift and volatilization and associated potential economic impacts, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) issuance of a cancellation order on June 8, 2020, for three products (Xtendimax with Vaporgrip Technology, EPA Reg. No. 524–6 17, Engenia, EPA Reg. No. 7969–345, and FeXapan, EPA Reg. No. 352–9 13) that contain the active ingredient dicamba. Additionally, on October 27, 2020, EPA approved limited 5-year registrations for two enduse dicamba products and the extension of the registration for one dicamba product (EPA Reg. Nos. 100–1623, 264– 1210, and 7969–472). As part of our evaluation of Bayer’s petition, we are planning to prepare an EIS to consider the potential impacts of a determination of nonregulated status for MON 87429 maize on the human environment.5 The EIS is being prepared in accordance with: (1) NEPA, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), (2) the Council on Environmental Quality’s NEPAimplementing regulations (40 CFR parts 1500–1508), (3) USDA’s NEPAimplementing regulations (7 CFR part 1b), and (4) APHIS’ NEPA Implementing Procedures (7 CFR part 372). Proposed Action and Alternative the EIS Will Consider The EIS will analyze both the preferred alternative—approve Bayer’s petition for a determination of nonregulated status for MON 87429 maize—and the no action alternative— deny the petition for nonregulated status—both of which will be fully considered. APHIS has developed a list of topics for analysis in the EIS based on issues identified in prior public comments on the petition, prior EAs/ EISs for maize varieties developed using genetic engineering, public comments submitted for other EAs/EISs evaluating petitions for nonregulated status, the scientific literature on agricultural biotechnology, and issues identified by APHIS specific to wild and cultivated Zea mays (maize) and Tripsacum species. The following topics were identified as relevant to the scope of analysis: Agricultural production (acreage and areas of U.S. corn production, agronomic practices and 5 Human environment means comprehensively the natural and physical environment and the relationship of present and future generations of Americans with that environment. Impacts/effects include ecological (such as effects on natural resources, and on the components, structures, and functioning of affected ecosystems), aesthetic, historic, cultural, economic (such as the effects on employment), social, or health effects (see 40 CFR 1508.1). E:\FR\FM\28APN1.SGM 28APN1 22386 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 80 / Wednesday, April 28, 2021 / Notices inputs); physical environment (soils, water resources, air quality); biological resources (soil biota, animal communities, plant communities, herbicide-resistant weeds, gene flow and weediness, biodiversity); public health and worker safety; animal health and welfare; and socioeconomic considerations. In addition, potential impacts on threatened and endangered species will be evaluated. Summary of Potential Impacts APHIS anticipates the primary potential impacts of the proposed action will be on agronomic practices and inputs. Agronomic impacts may include changes in: Herbicide use in U.S. corn crops, weed and herbicide resistant (HR) weed management practices, and the control of HR weeds. In recent years, the use of dicamba-based herbicides has resulted in instances of significant economic impact on neighboring crop and orchard fields because of unintended drift and volatilization of the herbicide. Potential economic impacts associated with the use of dicamba-based herbicides will also be considered. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Anticipated Permits and Authorizations MON 87429 maize, if deregulated, could be cultivated to produce food, feed, fuel, and industrial products, subject to any EPA and/or U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements under the Coordinated Framework.6 For example, any pesticide registration and use with MON 87429 maize would be subject to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) (7 U.S.C. 136 et seq.) and EPA requirements. Any human or animal food derived from MON 87429 maize would be subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA; 21 U.S.C. 301 et seq.) and FDA requirements. Bayer may voluntarily consult with the FDA to ensure compliance with the FFDCA. Public Scoping Process As previously discussed, APHIS seeks public comment on petitions deemed complete through notices published in the Federal Register. In accordance with our process, on May 8, 2020, APHIS solicited comments on the petition for 60 days ending July 7, 2020. We received 4,112 comments on the petition by the close of the comment period from the academic sector, farmers, non-governmental 6 See Coordinated Framework. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Biotechnology Regulatory Services, https:// usbiotechnologyregulation.mrp.usda.gov/ biotechnologygov/home/. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:17 Apr 27, 2021 Jkt 253001 organizations, nonprofit organizations, industry, private citizens, and a tribal nation. APHIS is seeking additional public comment on this notice of intent to prepare an EIS to help identify potential alternatives, and relevant information, studies, and/or analyses that APHIS should consider in evaluating the potential impacts of the proposed action on the quality of the human environment. Those who have already submitted comments on the Bayer petition need not resubmit—APHIS will consider these comments in development of the EIS. To promote informed NEPA analysis and decisionmaking, comments should be as specific as possible and explain why the issues raised are important for consideration in the EIS. Comments should include, where possible, references and data sources supporting the information provided in the comment. We encourage the submission of scientific data, studies, or research to support your comments. APHIS will accept written comments regarding the EIS for the Bayer petition for a period of 30 days from the date of this notice. The petition is available for public review, and copies are available as indicated under ADDRESSES and FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT above. Schedule for the Decision-Making Process As part of the decision-making process in responding to the petition, APHIS is preparing an EIS and a Plant Pest Risk Assessment (PPRA). APHIS plans to complete the PPRA within 6 months, and the EIS and record of decision within 2 years of the date of this notice. Note that this schedule is tentative, and the time frame could be extended. 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 23rd day of April 2021. Michael Watson, Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. [FR Doc. 2021–08879 Filed 4–27–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–34–P COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS Agenda and Notice of Public Meeting of the South Dakota Advisory Committee Commission on Civil Rights. Announcement of public meeting. AGENCY: ACTION: PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Notice is hereby given, pursuant to the provisions of the rules and regulations of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Commission), and the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), that the South Dakota State Advisory Committee to the Commission will convene a meeting on May 19, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. (CT). The purpose of the meeting is for final review and vote on the draft report on Maternal Mortality and Health Disparities of American Indian Women in South Dakota. SUMMARY: Wednesday, May 19, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. (CT). DATES: Public Web Conference Registration Link (video and audio): https://bit.ly/3eoX6To; password, if needed: USCCR. If Joining by Phone Only, Dial: 1–800– 360–9505; access code: 199 390 2377. ADDRESSES: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mallory Trachtenberg at mtrachtenberg@usccr.gov or by phone at (202) 809–9618. The meeting is available to the public through the web link above. If joining only via phone, callers can expect to incur charges for calls they initiate over wireless lines, and the Commission will not refund any incurred charges. Individuals who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing may also follow the proceedings by first calling the Federal Relay Service at 1–800–877–8339 and providing the Service with conference details found through registering at the web link above. To request other accommodations, please email mtrachtenberg@usccr.gov at least 7 days prior to the meeting for which accommodations are requested. Members of the public are entitled to make comments during the open period at the end of the meeting. Members of the public may also submit written comments; the comments must be received in the Regional Programs Unit within 30 days following the meeting. Written comments may be emailed to Mallory Trachtenberg at mtrachtenberg@usccr.gov. Persons who desire additional information may contact the Regional Programs Unit at (202) 809–9618. Records and documents discussed during the meeting will be available for public viewing as they become available at www.facadatabase.gov. Persons interested in the work of this advisory committee are advised to go to the Commission’s website, www.usccr.gov, or to contact the Regional Programs Unit at the above phone number or email address. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: E:\FR\FM\28APN1.SGM 28APN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 80 (Wednesday, April 28, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 22384-22386]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-08879]


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

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2020-0021]


Bayer; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact 
Statement for Determination of Nonregulated Status for Maize Developed 
Using Genetic Engineering for Dicamba, Glufosinate, Quizalofop, and 
2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid Resistance, With Tissue-Specific 
Glyphosate Resistance Facilitating the Production of Hybrid Maize Seed

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement.

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

SUMMARY: We are advising the public that the Animal and Plant Health 
Inspection Service (APHIS) plans to prepare an environmental impact 
statement (EIS) regarding a request from Bayer seeking a determination 
of nonregulated status for maize developed using genetic engineering 
for dicamba, glufosinate, quizalofop, and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic 
acid resistance with tissue-specific glyphosate resistance facilitating 
the production of hybrid maize seed. APHIS is requesting public comment 
to help identify alternatives, and relevant information, studies, and/
or analyses APHIS should consider in the EIS.

DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before May 
28, 2021.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov. 
Enter APHIS-2020-0021 in the Search field. Select the Documents tab, 
then select the Comment button in the list of documents.
     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to 
Docket No. APHIS-2020-0021, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, 
APHIS, Station

[[Page 22385]]

3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.
    The petition and any comments we receive on this docket may be 
viewed at www.regulations.gov or in our reading room, which is located 
in room 1620 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.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Cindy Eck, Biotechnology 
Regulatory Services, APHIS, 4700 River Road, Unit 147, Riverdale, MD 
20737-1236; phone (301) 851-3892; email: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Purpose and Need for the Proposed Action

    Under the authority of the plant pest provisions of the Plant 
Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.), the regulations in 7 CFR part 
340, ``Movement of Organisms Modified or Produced Through Genetic 
Engineering,'' regulate, among other things, the importation, 
interstate movement, or release into the environment of organisms 
modified or produced through genetic engineering that are plant pests 
or pose a plausible plant pest risk.
    The petition for nonregulated status described in this notice is 
being evaluated under the version of the regulations effective at the 
time that it was received. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 
(APHIS) issued a final rule, published in the Federal Register on May 
18, 2020 (85 FR 29790-29838, Docket No. APHIS-2018-0034),\1\ revising 7 
CFR part 340; however, the final rule is being implemented in phases. 
The new Regulatory Status Review (RSR) process, which replaces the 
petition for determination of nonregulated status process, became 
effective on April 5, 2021 for corn, soybean, cotton, potato, tomato, 
and alfalfa. The RSR process is effective for all crops as of October 
1, 2021. However, ``[u]ntil RSR is available for a particular crop . . 
. APHIS will continue to receive petitions for determination of 
nonregulated status for the crop in accordance with the [legacy] 
regulations at 7 CFR 340.6.'' (85 FR 29815). This petition for a 
determination of nonregulated status is being evaluated in accordance 
with the regulations at 7 CFR 340.6 (2020) as it was received by APHIS 
December 11, 2019.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ To view the final rule, go to www.regulations.gov and enter 
APHIS-2018-0034 in the Search field.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Bayer has submitted a petition (APHIS Petition Number 19-316-01p) 
to APHIS seeking a determination of nonregulated status for a maize \2\ 
(identified as MON 87429) which has been developed using genetic 
engineering for dicamba, glufosinate, quizalofop, and 2,4-
dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) resistance with tissue-specific 
glyphosate resistance facilitating the production of hybrid maize seed. 
The Bayer petition stated that MON 87429 maize is unlikely to pose a 
plant pest risk and, therefore, should not be regulated under APHIS' 
regulations in 7 CFR part 340.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ Maize is the common botanical term used globally for the 
cereal plant Zea mays. In the United States, maize is also referred 
to as corn. Both terms are used interchangeably in this document. 
For consistency with the common plant name and petition, APHIS uses 
the term maize, but also refers to corn in certain instances, such 
as in reference to food products.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    According to our process \3\ for soliciting public comment when 
considering petitions for determination of nonregulated status of 
regulated organisms, APHIS accepts written comments regarding a 
petition once APHIS deems it complete. On May 8, 2020, APHIS announced 
the availability of the Bayer petition for public comment in the 
Federal Register \4\ (85 FR 27354-27355, Docket No. APHIS-2020-0021). 
APHIS solicited comments on the petition for 60 days ending July 7, 
2020, 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. We received 
4,112 comments by the close of the comment period.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ 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 
www.regulations.gov and enter APHIS-2011-0129 in the Search field.
    \4\ To view the notice, its supporting documents, or the 
comments that we received, go to www.regulations.gov and enter 
APHIS-2020-0021 in the Search field.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Based on comments received on the petition and new information that 
APHIS became aware of after our May 8, 2020 Federal Register 
publication, we have determined that an environmental impact statement 
(EIS), as opposed to an environmental assessment (EA), is the 
appropriate National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis for the 
Bayer petition. Specifically, APHIS became aware of new information 
regarding potential issues with dicamba spray drift and volatilization 
and associated potential economic impacts, and the Environmental 
Protection Agency's (EPA) issuance of a cancellation order on June 8, 
2020, for three products (Xtendimax with Vaporgrip Technology, EPA Reg. 
No. 524-6 17, Engenia, EPA Reg. No. 7969-345, and FeXapan, EPA Reg. No. 
352-9 13) that contain the active ingredient dicamba. Additionally, on 
October 27, 2020, EPA approved limited 5-year registrations for two 
end-use dicamba products and the extension of the registration for one 
dicamba product (EPA Reg. Nos. 100-1623, 264-1210, and 7969-472).
    As part of our evaluation of Bayer's petition, we are planning to 
prepare an EIS to consider the potential impacts of a determination of 
nonregulated status for MON 87429 maize on the human environment.\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ Human environment means comprehensively the natural and 
physical environment and the relationship of present and future 
generations of Americans with that environment. Impacts/effects 
include ecological (such as effects on natural resources, and on the 
components, structures, and functioning of affected ecosystems), 
aesthetic, historic, cultural, economic (such as the effects on 
employment), social, or health effects (see 40 CFR 1508.1).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The EIS is being prepared in accordance with: (1) NEPA, as amended 
(42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), (2) the Council on Environmental Quality's 
NEPA-implementing regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), (3) USDA's 
NEPA-implementing regulations (7 CFR part 1b), and (4) APHIS' NEPA 
Implementing Procedures (7 CFR part 372).

Proposed Action and Alternative the EIS Will Consider

    The EIS will analyze both the preferred alternative--approve 
Bayer's petition for a determination of nonregulated status for MON 
87429 maize--and the no action alternative--deny the petition for 
nonregulated status--both of which will be fully considered. APHIS has 
developed a list of topics for analysis in the EIS based on issues 
identified in prior public comments on the petition, prior EAs/EISs for 
maize varieties developed using genetic engineering, public comments 
submitted for other EAs/EISs evaluating petitions for nonregulated 
status, the scientific literature on agricultural biotechnology, and 
issues identified by APHIS specific to wild and cultivated Zea mays 
(maize) and Tripsacum species. The following topics were identified as 
relevant to the scope of analysis: Agricultural production (acreage and 
areas of U.S. corn production, agronomic practices and

[[Page 22386]]

inputs); physical environment (soils, water resources, air quality); 
biological resources (soil biota, animal communities, plant 
communities, herbicide-resistant weeds, gene flow and weediness, 
biodiversity); public health and worker safety; animal health and 
welfare; and socioeconomic considerations. In addition, potential 
impacts on threatened and endangered species will be evaluated.

Summary of Potential Impacts

    APHIS anticipates the primary potential impacts of the proposed 
action will be on agronomic practices and inputs. Agronomic impacts may 
include changes in: Herbicide use in U.S. corn crops, weed and 
herbicide resistant (HR) weed management practices, and the control of 
HR weeds. In recent years, the use of dicamba-based herbicides has 
resulted in instances of significant economic impact on neighboring 
crop and orchard fields because of unintended drift and volatilization 
of the herbicide. Potential economic impacts associated with the use of 
dicamba-based herbicides will also be considered.

Anticipated Permits and Authorizations

    MON 87429 maize, if deregulated, could be cultivated to produce 
food, feed, fuel, and industrial products, subject to any EPA and/or 
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements under the 
Coordinated Framework.\6\ For example, any pesticide registration and 
use with MON 87429 maize would be subject to the Federal Insecticide, 
Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) (7 U.S.C. 136 et seq.) and EPA 
requirements. Any human or animal food derived from MON 87429 maize 
would be subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA; 21 
U.S.C. 301 et seq.) and FDA requirements. Bayer may voluntarily consult 
with the FDA to ensure compliance with the FFDCA.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ See Coordinated Framework. U.S. Department of Agriculture, 
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Biotechnology Regulatory 
Services, https://usbiotechnologyregulation.mrp.usda.gov/biotechnologygov/home/.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Public Scoping Process

    As previously discussed, APHIS seeks public comment on petitions 
deemed complete through notices published in the Federal Register. In 
accordance with our process, on May 8, 2020, APHIS solicited comments 
on the petition for 60 days ending July 7, 2020. We received 4,112 
comments on the petition by the close of the comment period from the 
academic sector, farmers, non-governmental organizations, nonprofit 
organizations, industry, private citizens, and a tribal nation.
    APHIS is seeking additional public comment on this notice of intent 
to prepare an EIS to help identify potential alternatives, and relevant 
information, studies, and/or analyses that APHIS should consider in 
evaluating the potential impacts of the proposed action on the quality 
of the human environment. Those who have already submitted comments on 
the Bayer petition need not resubmit--APHIS will consider these 
comments in development of the EIS. To promote informed NEPA analysis 
and decision-making, comments should be as specific as possible and 
explain why the issues raised are important for consideration in the 
EIS. Comments should include, where possible, references and data 
sources supporting the information provided in the comment. We 
encourage the submission of scientific data, studies, or research to 
support your comments.
    APHIS will accept written comments regarding the EIS for the Bayer 
petition for a period of 30 days from the date of this notice. The 
petition is available for public review, and copies are available as 
indicated under ADDRESSES and FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT above.

Schedule for the Decision-Making Process

    As part of the decision-making process in responding to the 
petition, APHIS is preparing an EIS and a Plant Pest Risk Assessment 
(PPRA). APHIS plans to complete the PPRA within 6 months, and the EIS 
and record of decision within 2 years of the date of this notice. Note 
that this schedule is tentative, and the time frame could be extended.

    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 23rd day of April 2021.
Michael Watson,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2021-08879 Filed 4-27-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P