U.S. Beet Sugar Industry Submission to the National Academy of Sciences National Research Council Committee on Genetically Engineered Crops – Sept. 9, 2015

U S Beet Sugar Industry Submission to NAS – click to download file

Statement by the Sugar Industry Biotech Council on Appellate Court Activity

November 16, 2012

On November 15, 2012, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the appeal by the Center for Food Safety and other plaintiffs and affirmed the decision of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California to dismiss the case concerning permits for the planting of sugar beet stecklings (seedlings) that were genetically modified to tolerate labeled applications of Roundup agricultural herbicides as moot, following a series of legal proceedings.

The beet sugar industry’s growers, processors, technology providers and seed producers are pleased that the Ninth Circuit, after considering relevant legal precedents and evidence, concluded that further legal proceedings on this issue have no merit.

Additionally, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the district court’s conclusion that the court cannot order any actions after the expiration of the permits since none of the measures proposed by the plaintiffs can provide relief particularly now that Roundup Ready sugar beets have been fully deregulated and can be grown anywhere without a permit.

The court of appeals also affirmed the district court’s conclusion that there is no evidence demonstrating a reasonable expectation that the challenged conduct will recur.

In September 2010, APHIS issued four temporary permits, authorizing sugar beet seed companies to grow sugar beet stecklings. The plaintiffs challenged the permits and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted a preliminary injunction requiring the destruction of stecklings planted under the permits.

On February 25, 2011, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the injunction. The Appeals Court said plaintiffs failed to show that the stecklings, being grown under permits from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), “present a possibility, much less a likelihood, of genetic contamination or other irreparable harm.”

After the permits expired, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed the case as moot. The plaintiffs appealed and the case returned to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Statement by the Sugar Industry Biotech Council on APHIS’ Record of Decision on Roundup Ready® Sugar Beets

On July 20, 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced the determination of nonregulated status (full approval) for Roundup Ready® sugar beets. The Record of Decision (ROD), published in the Federal Register, is based on the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), issued by APHIS on June 1, 2012, in which the agency selected alternative 2, determination of nonregulated status for Roundup Ready sugar beets, as its preferred alternative.

The final EIS comprehensively examines the potential environmental impacts of determining the regulatory status of glyphosate-tolerant Roundup Ready sugar beets and consisted of two analyses, one under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and another under the Plant Protection Act (PPA). The assessment conducted under the Plant Protection Act found that Roundup Ready sugar beets are not likely to pose a plant pest risk.

The Sugar Industry Biotech Council welcomes USDA’s decision to deregulate Roundup Ready sugar beets as an important step toward providing farmers the choice of planting this technology. Growers currently growing this crop continue to be committed to the safety and stewardship of Roundup Ready sugar beets.

Sugar beets are an important crop, planted on 1.2 million acres in the United States annually and supplying half of our nation’s sugar. This important supply is essential for our food manufacturers and consumers. Roundup Ready sugar beets, planted on 95 percent of all sugar beet acreage over the last three years, have allowed growers to control weeds – one of their greatest challenges – in a more environmentally sustainable way.

Statement by the Sugar Industry Biotech Council on the Final Environmental Impact Statement

June 5, 2012

On June 1, 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced the completion of the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Roundup Ready® sugar beets. As part of the process, APHIS prepared two analyses, one under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and another under the Plant Protection Act (PPA).

The final EIS comprehensively examines the potential environmental impacts of determining the regulatory status of glyphosate-tolerant Roundup Ready sugar beets. USDA APHIS has selected Alternative 2 – determination of nonregulated status (full approval) for Roundup Ready sugar beets – as its Preferred Alternative. The other two alternatives under consideration were to maintain the regulated status of Roundup Ready sugar beets; or to continue planting Roundup Ready sugar beets with regulatory conditions in place.

The assessment conducted under the Plant Protection Act found that Roundup Ready sugar beets are not likely to pose a plant pest risk.

This is not APHIS’ final regulatory determination on the petition for nonregulated status of Roundup Ready sugar beets. APHIS’ analyses are available for public review for at least 30 days and its Record of Decision (ROD) for the final EIS is expected after that time.

Growers will continue to produce Roundup Ready sugar beets under the current requirements of partial deregulation until the ROD is published in the Federal Register. On Feb. 4, 2011, following an environmental assessment, APHIS authorized the interim planting of Roundup Ready sugar beets subject to conditions while it independently considers nonregulated status.

The sugar industry is currently reviewing the final EIS.

 

Statement by the Sugar Industry Biotech Council on Draft Environmental Impact Statement

October 17, 2011

On Oct. 14, 2011, announcement of a public comment period for Glyphosate-Tolerant H7–1 Sugar Beets, Request for Nonregulated Status, was published in the Federal Register. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced on Oct. 11, 2011, the availability of a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that examines the potential environmental effects of determining the nonregulated status of these glyphosate-tolerant Roundup Ready® sugar beets. The Federal Register notice requests public comments on the draft EIS through Dec. 13, 2011.

On Feb. 4, 2011, following an environmental assessment, APHIS authorized the interim planting of Roundup Ready sugar beets subject to conditions while it independently considers nonregulated status.

The sugar industry is currently reviewing the draft EIS.

Statement by the Sugar Industry Biotech Council on Appellate Court Activity

May 26, 2011

On May 20, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted the motion of Monsanto and other industry intervenors to dismiss the remaining appeals on Case number 10-17335.  The intervenor group had voluntarily asked that the appeal be dismissed.  As a result of subsequent court decisions and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) actions, continuation of the appeals had little consequence for Roundup Ready sugar beet growers or seed companies. The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has issued interim measures to allow the planting of Roundup Ready sugar beets and farmers are planting Roundup Ready sugar beet crops.

Statement by the Sugar Industry Biotech Council on Appellate Court Activity

February 28, 2011

On February 25, 2011, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned an injunction that had ordered the destruction of sugar beet stecklings (seedlings) that were genetically modified to tolerate labeled applications of Roundup agricultural herbicides. The Appeals Court said plaintiffs failed to show that the stecklings, being grown under permits from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), “present a possibility, much less a likelihood, of genetic contamination or other irreparable harm.” 

The beet sugar industry’s growers, processors, technology providers and seed producers are pleased that the Ninth Circuit, after considering relevant legal precedents and evidence, concluded that the planting of these permitted stecklings was unlikely to cause harm and that deference should be given to APHIS’ “technical expertise and judgments on this score.”  The stecklings are intended for research and breeding purposes, as well as basic seed and hybrid seed production for 2012 and future years.

The Appeals Court also said it would address in a separate decision the appeal regarding the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California’s August 13, 2010, order vacating the deregulation of biotech sugar beets.

In addition, also on February 25, 2011, the District Court judge in San Francisco, whose decision was the subject of the appeal, declined to hear another case brought by the plaintiffs regarding the next stage of Roundup Ready sugar beet cultivation.

Statement by the Sugar Industry Biotech Council on USDA’s APHIS Announcement for Partial Deregulation of Roundup Ready Sugar Beets

February 8, 2011

On February 4, 2011, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) authorized planting of Roundup Ready sugar beets. USDA APHIS’ decision included mandatory interim measures for planting Roundup Ready sugar beet crops, including the spring 2011 crop, while APHIS prepares a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on Roundup Ready sugar beets.

The sugar beet industry appreciates the Secretary’s leadership and USDA’s thorough scientific review reflected in this partial deregulation of Roundup Ready sugar beets while work on the EIS continues. To address the uncertainty created by the Center for Food Safety’s vows to overturn APHIS’ determination, the sugar beet industry has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia that, in part, seeks a declaratory judgment that APHIS’ action fulfills the requirements of federal law.

Because the sugar beet industry feels that a few of the mandatory measures required by APHIS go beyond what is required under federal law, the lawsuit also asks the Court to determine that certain of the interim measures adopted by APHIS impose an unnecessary burden. This lawsuit does not reflect a lack of respect or dissatisfaction with the significant work that USDA has undertaken to address matters that are critical to our industry, including the opportunity to plant Roundup Ready sugar beets this spring.

Sugar beets are unique in that the commercial crop grown for sugar production does not produce seed. Since the crop was deregulated in 2005, there has been no evidence of harm. In fact, Roundup Ready sugar beets offer numerous environmental benefits. The Roundup Ready system in sugar beets requires fewer herbicide applications to effectively control weeds. Fewer trips across the field mean reduced greenhouse gas emissions, reduced soil erosion, reduced soil compaction and enhanced water conservation.

Sugar beets are an important crop, planted on 1.2 million acres in the United States annually and supplying half of our nation’s sugar. This important supply is essential for our food manufacturers and consumers. The value of sugar beet crops is critically important to rural communities and their economies. Roundup Ready sugar beets planted on 95 percent of all sugar beet acreage have allowed growers to control weeds – one of their greatest challenges – in a more environmentally sustainable way. Sugar beet growers are committed to protecting this technology now and in the future for all growers, rural communities, the North American food industry and consumers.

Update on Appellate Court Activity by the Sugar Industry Biotech Council

December 22, 2010

On December 21, 2010, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals extended its stay pending appeal of Judge Jeffrey White’s November 30, 2010, injunction requiring destruction of sugar beet stecklings (seedlings) currently being grown under permits from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The stecklings are intended for research and breeding purposes, as well as basic seed and hybrid seed production for 2012 and future years. The Appeals Court consolidated the permit litigation with the appeal of Judge White’s August 13, 2010, decision vacating the deregulation of biotech sugar beets and expedited the briefing and hearing schedule so that the appeals can be heard in early February 2011. To allow for consideration of the appeals, the stay of Judge White’s injunction has been extended to February 28, 2011, or such other time as the Ninth Circuit orders.

The beet sugar industry’s growers, processors, technology providers and seed producers are pleased that the Court of Appeals will now have sufficient opportunity to consider relevant legal precedents and unrebutted evidence that the planting of these permitted steckling fields is authorized by law and would cause no harm.

Update on Appellate Court Activity by the Sugar Industry Biotech Council

December 7, 2010

On December 6, 2010, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a temporary stay of Judge Jeffrey White’s November 30, 2010, ruling requiring destruction of sugar beet stecklings (seedlings) currently being grown under permits from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The stecklings are intended for research and breeding purposes, as well as basic seed and hybrid seed production for 2012 and future years. The Appeals Court granted the stay of the district court’s order until December 23, 2010, and, in the interim, the Court will determine the next steps in the proceedings.

The beet sugar industry’s growers, processors, technology providers and seed producers are pleased that the Court of Appeals will now have a meaningful opportunity to consider relevant legal precedents and unrebutted evidence that the planting of these permitted steckling fields is authorized by law and would cause no harm.