USDA issues final EIS on Dows Enlist corn and soybeans
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 6, 2014-USDA issued a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) today as part of its review to deregulate corn and soybean plants developed by Dow AgroSciences that are resistant to several herbicides, including 2,4-D.
The final EIS affirms the decision from USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to fully deregulate the Dow Enlist crops.
“This is also consistent with APHIS' final plant pest risk assessment (PPRA), also being made available today, that found 2,4-D resistant corn and soybeans are unlikely to pose a plant pest risk to agricultural crops or other plants in the United States,” USDA noted.
Dow said in a press release that the EIS “brings American farmers one step closer to obtaining a critical tool needed to manage resistant and hard-to-control weeds.”
The only remaining action before regulatory approval of the Enlist traits is USDA issuance of a Record of Decision, which is expected soon, Dow noted.
However, EPA is still reviewing information to assess the potential for environmental and human risks associated with the use of 2,4-D.
Dow said farmers across the Midwest and Southern U.S. have been grappling with resistant weeds for multiple seasons. Resistant weeds now affect 70 million acres of American farmland, the company stated.
The final EIS indicates that Enlist crops will help farmers manage resistant weeds without having to return to tillage practices, “which would adversely impact soil, air and water quality,” Dow stated.
“This has been one of the most extensive evaluations of a new agriculture technology in recent history,” says John Cuffe, the global regulatory sciences and regulatory affairs leader at Dow AgroSciences. “Now we are eagerly anticipating final regulatory approvals from USDA and EPA so farmers can get the help they need.”
Also today, USDA issued a draft EIS for Monsanto's cotton and soybean plants resistant to the herbicide dicamba. APHIS recommends deregulating these varieties.
The draft EIS will be available for a 45-day public review and comment period once it is published in the Federal Register.
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