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Notice

Availability of an Environmental Assessment for a Proposed Field Release of Genetically Engineered Safflower

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

We are advising the public that an environmental assessment has been prepared for a proposed field release involving a transgenic safflower line that has been genetically engineered to express, within the seeds, a carp growth hormone fused to an Arabidopsis oleosin. The purpose of this field release is to obtain a seed increase of material harvested in Chile for future use as a supplement in aquaculture meal. We are making the environmental assessment available to the public for review and comment.

DATES:

We will consider all comments received on or before March 7, 2007.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments by either of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov, select “Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service” from the agency drop-down menu, then click “Submit.” In the Docket ID column, select APHIS-2006-0190 to submit or view public comments and to view supporting and related materials available electronically. Information on using Regulations.gov, including instruction for accessing documents, submitting comments, and viewing the docket after the close of the comment period, is available through the site's “User Tips” link.
  • Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send four copies of your comment (an original and three copies) to Docket No. APHIS-2006-0190, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your comment refers to Docket No. APHIS-2006-0190.

Reading Room: You may read the environmental assessment (EA) and any comments we receive on this docket in our reading room. The reading room is located in room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202) 690-2817 before coming. The EA is also available on the Internet at http://aphis.usda.gov/​brs/​aphisdocs/​06_​25001r_​ea.pdf.

Other Information: Additional information about APHIS and its programs is available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dr. Patricia Beetham, Biotechnology Regulatory Services, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 147, Riverdale, MD 20737-1236; (301) 734-0664. To obtain copies of the environmental assessment, contact Ms. Cynthia Eck at (301) 734-0667; e-mail: cynthia.a.eck@aphis.usda.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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 organisms and products are considered “regulated articles.” A permit must be obtained or a notification acknowledged before a regulated article may be introduced. The regulations set forth the permit application requirements and the notification procedures for the importation, interstate movement, or release in the environment of a regulated article.

On September 5, 2006, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) received a permit application (APHIS No. 06-250-02r) from SemBioSys Genetics, Inc. of West Sacramento, CA, for a field trial using a line of transgenic safflower. Permit application 06-250-02r describes a transgenic safflower (Carthamus tinctorius) cultivar that has been genetically engineered to express a fusion protein consisting of oleosin from Arabidopsis thaliana and carp growth hormone (somatotropin) from Cyprinus carpio exclusively within its seeds. Expression of the fusion protein is controlled by the phaseolin promoter and terminator sequences from Phaseolus vulgaris L. (common bean). Constructs were inserted into the recipient organisms via a disarmed Agrobacterium tumefaciens vector system. The seed from these safflower plants will be ground and incorporated into aquaculture feed to be used in experimental fish feeding studies by SemBioSys and is not for commercial production.

The subject safflower is considered a regulated article under the regulations in 7 CFR part 340 because it has been genetically engineered using the recombinant DNA technique using a vector derived from the plant pest Agrobacterium tumefaciens.

To provide the public with documentation of APHIS' review and analysis of any potential environmental impacts and plant pest risks associated with the proposed release of these transgenic safflowers, an environmental assessment (EA) has been prepared. The EA was prepared in accordance with: (1) The National Environmental Policy Act Start Printed Page 5264of 1969 (NEPA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), (2) regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality for implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), (3) USDA regulations implementing NEPA (7 CFR part 1b), and (4) APHIS' NEPA Implementing Procedures (7 CFR part 372). Copies of the EA are available from the individual listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

Authority: 7 U.S.C. 7701-7772 and 7781-7786; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.3.

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Done in Washington, DC, this 30th day of January 2007.

Kevin Shea,

Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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[FR Doc. E7-1790 Filed 2-2-07; 8:45 am]

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