APHIS Withdraws 2008 Proposed Biotechnology Rules

WASHINGTON, February 27, 2015”The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is withdrawing its 2008 proposed rule that would have amended the regulations regarding the introduction (importation, interstate movement, and environmental release) of certain genetically engineered organisms.

APHIS received over 88,300 comments on the proposed rule. Based on the scope of comments received, and in light of the experience we have gained over the past 28 years as well as continuing advances in biotechnology, APHIS has decided to withdraw the rule and begin fresh stakeholder engagement aimed at exploring alternative policy approaches.

APHIS intends to utilize an open and robust dialogue to drive the development of future regulatory or policy approaches, as well as new scientific knowledge whenever it is available. That engagement will begin with a series of webinars that will be announced in the coming month.

From their Q&A:
Q: When can stakeholders and the public begin to share their input?
A: Once the 2008 proposed rule is officially withdrawn, APHIS can begin having conversations with stakeholders about regulatory issues that were not possible due to ex parte communication rules that apply during rule making. These rules are designed to prevent unequal access or the perception of favoritism during the active rulemaking period after a new rule is proposed.

IFB Comment: We see this as an opportunity to have even more meaningful discussions about biotechnology regulations that pertain to GM Trees.

Source: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/stakeholders/downloads/2015/sa_withdrawal.pdf