[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 69 (Monday, April 13, 2009)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 16797-16798]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-8352]

Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.


Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 69 / Monday, April 13, 2009 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 16797]]


Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

7 CFR Part 340

[Docket No. APHIS-2008-0023]
RIN 0579-AC31

Importation, Interstate Movement, and Release Into the 
Environment of Certain Genetically Engineered Organisms

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Proposed rule; notice of public meeting and extension of 
comment period.


SUMMARY: We are advising the public that the Animal and Plant Health 
Inspection Service is holding an issue-focused public meeting on April 
29 and 30, 2009, on its proposed rule, ``Importation, Interstate 
Movement, and Release Into the Environment of Certain Genetically 
Engineered Organisms.'' The April 2009 issue meeting will provide an 
opportunity for interested persons to discuss in a collaborative forum 
the key concerns that were raised during the comment period on the 
proposed rule with U.S. Department of Agriculture officials and with 
one another.

DATES: The comment period of the proposed rule published at 73 FR 
60007, Oct. 9, 2008, reopened and extended at 74 FR 2907, Jan. 16, 
2009, is reopened and extended until June 29, 2009. The public meeting 
will be held on April 29 and 30, 2009, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. 
We will consider all comments that we receive on the proposed rule on 
or before June 29, 2009.

ADDRESSES: The public meeting will be held at the USDA Center at 
Riverside, 4700 River Road, Riverdale, MD, in Conference Room B. For 
directions or facilities information, call (301) 734-8010.
    You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2008-0023 to submit or view comments and 
to view supporting and related materials available electronically.
     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send two copies of 
your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2008-0023, 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-2008-0023.
    Registration and Other Information: If you plan to attend the 
public meeting, please register prior to the meeting at http://web01.aphis.usda.gov/BRS_PublicMeeting.nsf/. Additional details 
regarding the agenda and format of the meeting are available on the 
APHIS Web site at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/biotechnology/340/340_index.shtml.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Richard Coker, Biotechnology 
Regulatory Services, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 147, Riverdale, MD 
20737-1238; (301) 734-5720.



    On October 9, 2008, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 
(APHIS) published in the Federal Register (73 FR 60007-60048, Docket 
No. APHIS-2008-0023) a proposal \1\ to revise our regulations in 7 CFR 
part 340 regarding the importation, interstate movement, and 
environmental release of certain genetically engineered (GE) organisms. 
The proposed revisions would bring the regulations into alignment with 
authorities of the Plant Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.) and 
update the regulations in response to advances in genetic science and 
technology and our accumulated experience in implementing the current 
regulations. APHIS sought public comment on the proposal from October 
9, 2008, to November 24, 2008.

    \1\ To view the proposed rule, supporting documents, and the 
comments we have received, go to http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2008-0023.

    On January 16, 2009, APHIS published in the Federal Register (74 FR 
2907-2909, Docket No. APHIS-2008-0023) a notice announcing the 
reopening of the comment period for the proposed rule for an additional 
60 days and particularly seeking additional comments on the following 
four issues:
    Issue 1: Scope of the regulation and which GE organisms should be 
    Issue 2: Incorporation into the APHIS part 340 regulations the 
Plant Protection Act's noxious weed authority.
    Issue 3: Elimination of the notification procedure and revision of 
the permit procedure.
    Issue 4: Environmental release permit categories and regulation of 
GE crops that produce pharmaceutical and industrial compounds.
    All four issues were among those that have been raised in the 
comments we have received so far on the proposed rule. In some cases 
commenters identified concerns about these issues, but did not provide 
specific suggestions as to how the proposed rule could be modified to 
address these concerns. By extending the comment period, APHIS is 
seeking to increase the transparency of the rulemaking process and 
elicit more specific information and detailed suggestions regarding 
these issues. We noted in the January 2009 notice reopening the comment 
period that APHIS intends to hold an additional public meeting on the 
proposed rule during the extended public comment period. To ensure that 
we identified the full range of topics for the April meeting's agenda, 
we held a scoping session on March 13, 2009. That scoping session was 
announced in a notice published in the Federal Register on March 11, 
2009 (74 FR 10517-10518, Docket No. APHIS-2008-0023).
    The March 13, 2009, scoping session began with a discussion of the 
topics to be included on the agenda for the April 2009 meeting, 
including the four specific issues described above on which the Agency 
is seeking comment. Those four issues will be discussed during the 
April 2009 meeting, along with other significant issues deemed 
appropriate by APHIS based on suggestions offered by those who attended 
the March 2009 scoping session. The meeting participants at the scoping 
session also offered suggestions regarding collaborative meeting 
formats that could help ensure that the agenda issues will be frankly 
and fully explored during the April 2009 meeting.

[[Page 16798]]

    This issue-focused meeting will be open to the public. The 
proceedings will be transcribed, and the transcripts will be made part 
of the rulemaking record. The meeting is intended to provide a forum 
for all interested parties to attend and participate in all the 
discussions to foster focused, substantive dialogue on the key issues.
    Those wishing to attend the April 29 and 30, 2009, meeting may 
register on the Internet at http://web01.aphis.usda.gov/BRS_PublicMeeting.nsf/. If you require a sign language interpreter or other 
special accommodations, you may provide this information when you 
register or by contacting the person listed under FOR FURTHER 

Parking and Security Procedures

    Please note that a fee of $3.00 in exact change is required to 
enter the parking lot at the USDA Center at Riverside. The machine 
accepts $1 bills or quarters.
    Upon entering the building, visitors should inform security 
personnel that they are attending the 340 Proposed Rule public meeting. 
State-issued photo identification is required and all bags will be 
screened. Security personnel will direct visitors to the registration 
tables located outside of Conference Room B on the first floor. 
Registration upon arrival is required for all participants.

Extension of Comment Period

    In the March 2009 notice that announced the scoping meeting 
described above, we also announced that the comment period for the 
proposed rule will be extended for 60 days following the April meeting, 
and that the new date for the close of the comment period would be 
provided in the notice announcing the date and other details for the 
April 2009 meeting. The new date for the close of the comment period 
will be June 29, 2009, which is 60 days after April 30, 2009, the 
second day of our public meeting. Persons wishing to submit written 
comments on the proposed rule may continue to do so until June 29, 
2009, using either of the methods described under ADDRESSES above.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 7th day of April 2009.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. E9-8352 Filed 4-10-09; 8:45 am]