National Wildlife Refuge System; Draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment for the Use of Genetically Modified Crops in National Wildlife Refuge Farming Programs in Region 4 (Southeast Region) of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service; Discontinuation of Preparation of NEPA Document
Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and in accordance with the negotiated settlement of a lawsuit, we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), published a notice in the Federal Register on April 30, 2013, announcing and inviting comments on our intention to develop a draft programmatic environmental assessment (PEA) of the effects of the cultivation and use of genetically modified crops (GMCs) on certain refuges in the Southeast Region to meet wildlife management objectives. As part of the settlement agreement, we also agreed to discontinue cultivating and using the GMCs in the Southeast Region after the 2012 crop year and to refrain from such activities until 90 days after completion of an appropriate NEPA analysis of such activities. On July 17, 2014, the Chief of the Service's National Wildlife Refuge System issued a memorandum announcing that the use of GMCs to meet wildlife management objectives within the National Wildlife Refuge System (System) would be phased out and discontinued by January 2016. Accordingly, we have concluded that our NEPA process is no longer necessary and, therefore, are notifying the public that we are discontinuing preparation of the PEA.