Today the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service outlined steps to respond to a recent court case to keep sugar beet growers in compliance with a recent court ruling which overturned the agency’s decision to deregulate, or allow unlimited planting, of biotech sugar beets.
APHIS has received applications from and is issuing permits to sugar beet seed producers to authorize “steckling” (i.e seedlings) production this fall under strict permit conditions that would not allow flowering of the stecklings. APHIS anticipates that issuance of such non-flowering permits can be completed in the next two weeks.
APHIS has also received and is evaluating a request for a partial deregulation of Roundup Ready sugar beets. In connection with this evaluation, APHIS is developing an appropriate environmental analysis to inform its decision making regarding this request to authorize future seed and root crop plantings under a combination of permits, administrative orders, or other regulatory measures. Any regulatory measures taken would include mitigating restrictions consistent with those proposed to the Court as interim measures while APHIS completes the environmental impact statement (EIS) for the petition for determination of non-regulated status for GE sugar beets.
APHIS said it will continue to place a priority on the expedited completion of the EIS, a process that is anticipated to take two years.