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, "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 section 340.6(a) provide that any person may submit a petition to the Animal and
According to our process  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  published in the
APHIS received 82 comments on the petition: Several of these comments included electronic attachments consisting of a consolidated document of many identical or nearly identical letters, for a total of 23,698 comments. Issues raised during the comment period include effects of herbicide use, such as the development of herbicide-resistant weeds and effects on non-target organisms, gene flow, effects on organic corn production, and health concerns. APHIS has evaluated the issues raised during the comment period and, where appropriate, has provided a discussion of these issues in our environmental assessment (EA).
After public comments are received on a completed petition, APHIS evaluates those comments and then provides a second opportunity for public involvement in our decisionmaking process. According to our public review process (see footnote 1), the second opportunity for public involvement follows one of two approaches, as described below.
If APHIS decides, 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 no substantive new issues, APHIS will follow Approach 1 for public involvement. Under Approach 1, APHIS announces in the
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