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Notice

Syngenta Seeds, Inc.; Determination of Nonregulated Status for Corn Genetically Engineered To Produce an Enzyme That Facilitates Ethanol Production

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

We are advising the public of our determination that a corn line developed by Syngenta Seeds, Inc., designated as transformation event 3272, which has been genetically engineered to produce a microbial enzyme that facilitates ethanol production, is no longer considered a regulated article under our regulations governing the introduction of certain genetically engineered organisms. Our determination is based on our evaluation of data submitted by Syngenta Seeds, Inc., in its petition for a determination of nonregulated status, our analysis of available scientific data, and comments received from the public in response to our previous notice announcing the availability of the petition for nonregulated status and its associated environmental assessment and plant pest risk assessment. This notice also announces the availability of our written determination and finding of no significant impact.

DATES:

Effective Date: February 15, 2011.

ADDRESSES:

You may read the documents referenced in this notice and the comments we received 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. Those documents are also available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/​brs/​not_​reg.html and are posted with the previous notices and the comments we received on the Regulations.gov Web site at http://www.regulations.gov/​fdmspublic/​component/​main?​main=​DocketDetail&​d=​APHIS-2007-0016.

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. Andrea Huberty, Biotechnology Regulatory Services, APHIS, 4700 River Road, Unit 146, Riverdale, MD 20737-1236; (301) 734-0485, email: andrea.f.huberty@aphis.usda.gov. To obtain copies of the documents referenced in this notice, contact Ms. Cindy Eck at (301) 734-0667, e-mail: cynthia.a.eck@aphis.usda.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

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.”

The regulations in § 340.6(a) provide that any person may submit a petition to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) seeking a determination that an article should not be regulated under 7 CFR part 340. Paragraphs (b) and (c) of § 340.6 describe the form that a petition for a determination of nonregulated status must take and the information that must be included in the petition.

On October 7, 2005, APHIS received a petition seeking a determination of nonregulated status (APHIS Petition No. 05-280-01p) from Syngenta Seeds, Inc., of Research Triangle Park, NC (Syngenta), for corn (Zea mays L.) designated as transformation event 3272, which has been genetically engineered to produce a microbial enzyme that facilitates ethanol production. The petition stated that Event 3272 corn is unlikely to pose a plant pest risk and, therefore, should not be a regulated article under APHIS' regulations in 7 CFR part 340.

In a notice [1] published in the Federal Register on November 19, 2008 (73 FR 69602-69604, Docket No. APHIS-2007-0016), APHIS announced the availability of the Syngenta petition and a draft environmental assessment (EA) for public comment. APHIS solicited comments on the petition, whether the subject corn is likely to pose a plant pest risk, and on the draft EA for 60 days ending on January 20, 2009. In a subsequent notice published in the Federal Register on June 4, 2009 (74 FR 26832-26835, Docket No. APHIS-2007-0016), we reopened the comment period until July 6, 2009.

APHIS received over 13,000 comments during the comment period, most of which conveyed opposition to the deregulation of the Event 3272 corn. APHIS has addressed the issues raised during the comment period and has provided responses to these comments as an attachment to the finding of no significant impact.

National Environmental Policy Act

To provide the public with documentation of APHIS' review and analysis of any potential environmental impacts associated with the determination of nonregulated status for Syngenta's Event 3272 corn, an EA has been prepared. The EA was prepared in accordance with: (1) The National Environmental Policy Act of 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). Based on our EA, the response to public comments, and other pertinent scientific data, APHIS has reached a Start Printed Page 8708finding of no significant impact with regard to the preferred alternative identified in the EA.

Determination

Based on APHIS' analysis of field, greenhouse, and laboratory data submitted by Syngenta, references provided in the petition, information analyzed in the EA, the plant pest risk assessment, comments provided by the public, and information provided in APHIS' response to those public comments, APHIS has determined that Syngenta's Event 3272 corn is unlikely to pose a plant pest risk and should be granted nonregulated status.

Copies of the signed determination document, as well as copies of the petition, plant pest risk assessment, EA, finding of no significant impact, and response to comments are available as indicated in the ADDRESSES and FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT sections of this notice.

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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 11th day of February 2011.

Kevin Shea,

Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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Footnotes

1.  To view the notice, petition, draft EA, the plant pest risk assessment and the comments we received, go to http://www.regulations.gov/​fdmspublic/​component/​main?​main=​DocketDetail&​d=​APHIS-2007-0016.

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[FR Doc. 2011-3504 Filed 2-14-11; 8:45 am]

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