What is in this article?:
- New herbicide-tolerant crops: USDA to assess environmental impact
- Unexpected development
• USDA/APHIS has announced it will prepare two environmental impact statements for dicamba- and-2,4-D resistant crops.
• The crops include Dow AgroSciences 2,4-D tolerant corn and soybeans and Monsanto’s dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton.
• APHIS plans to host upcoming public meetings that will be publicized through the Federal Register and the agency’s Web site.
“While unexpected, we’ll use this timing to broaden the development of high-yielding varieties that we’ll ultimately be able to deliver to the farm.”
Dow AgroSciences also quickly responded to the APHIS announcement. “We will continue to support our customers by working with USDA/APHIS to get the much-needed Enlist technologies approved for commercial use as soon as possible.”
The crop traits “would provide farmers the flexibility for new applications of these herbicides, while also offering farmers additional crop planting options.
“Four years ago, Dow AgroSciences began submissions of a robust and thorough data package to support the Enlist traits. Since that time, glyphosate-resistant and hard-to-control weeds have spread across our nation’s farmland.
“Twenty-five states are now affected and the number of new acres infested in 2012 increased by 50 percent over the previous year. These adverse trends will continue without new state-of-the-art solutions like the Enlist Weed Control System.”
Save Our Crops Coalition said it was “pleased that USDA has now chosen to undertake a comprehensive review of these crops. (We) hope that this process will better inform the decision-makers at USDA and EPA about the vastly increased potential for non-target plant damage impacts caused by dicamba spray drift and volatilization.”
The SOCC statement also said that dicamba, “because of its potential to drift and volatilize, has proven to be one of America’s most dangerous herbicides for non-target plant damage.
Non-target plant damage associated with herbicide spray drift and volatilization is a major concern for specialty crop growers and processors, and credible estimates project dramatic increases in the amount of dicamba to be applied upon the introduction of dicamba tolerant crops.”
Under the National Environmental Policy Act, APHIS is required to evaluate the potential environmental impacts that could result from a deregulation of new GE plants.
If APHIS finds its potential regulatory decision may significantly affect the quality of the human environment, the agency must prepare an EIS before making a decision on the proposed federal action.
In preparing the EIS’s, APHIS plans to host upcoming public meetings that will be publicized through the Federal Register and the agency’s Web site.