Three years have passed since a U.S. district judge in San Francisco ruled that a more thorough evaluation of potential environmental impact was needed on Roundup Ready alfalfa. That ruling took the product off the market and sent interested parties back to the drawing board in an effort to update the product's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Late last year, USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) posted the latest 1,476-page draft of the EIS online. That opened a public comment period which ran from December 18 to February 16.
Sources tell us that some 10,000 individual comments were submitted on the latest EIS this winter. Industry specialists tell Hoard's Dairyman that nearly 1,000 comments were submitted from alfalfa growers . . . the vast majority supported the conclusions of the EIS and recommended deregulation of Roundup Ready alfalfa.
APHIS is now working on a final EIS that considers new information or questions supplied by the 10,000 commenters. Those with working knowledge of the process are hopeful that a final EIS can be completed later this year. After a final EIS is published, APHIS will make a determination on deregulation. If they rule in favor of deregulation, Roundup Ready alfalfa will be back on the market soon thereafter.
On a related subject, the U.S. Supreme Court heard an appeal to the broad injunction imposed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on April 27. A ruling on that portion of the case is expected by the end of June. To learn more about the reasons that the U.S. Supreme Court decided to hear the case, a description is given at Monsanto's website. Click the title of this blog to read it.