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GM sugar beets take another step toward deregulation

USDA has finally released a draft environmental impact statement that measures the environmental effects of non-regulated status of sugar beets with genetically engineered resistance to the herbicide glyphosate, or Roundup. GM sugar beets are commonly referred to as Roundup Ready sugar beets.

From the West Central Tribune:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has released a draft environmental impact statement that evaluates the potential environmental effects if the agency grants non-regulated status of sugar beets genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicide glyphosate, known commercially as Roundup. The genetically engineered sugar beets are commonly referred to as Roundup Ready sugar beets.

In the draft statement, three alternatives were considered by USDA: deny the petition for non-regulated status; approve the non-regulated status petition; or extend the current partial deregulation with mandatory conditions and restrictions.

The impact statement also identifies full non-regulated status as the preferred alternative, since USDA determined that the genetically engineered sugar beet is unlikely to pose a plant pest risk.

The draft statement was prepared to comply with a September 2009 judgment and order by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, which stated that USDA should have prepared an impact statement before it originally decided in 2005 to grant non-regulated status for the genetically engineered sugar beets.

For more, see: USDA releases draft environmental impact statement for Roundup Ready sugar beets

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