USDA Officials Hold Creeping Bentgrass Public Forums

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service recently hosted two public forums to accept public comments on a new variety of genetically engineered (GE) creeping bentgrass. The public forums were held May 3 at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center, Exhibition Hall, Chevy Chase, Md., and on May 18 at the Oregon State University Conference Complex, Corvallis, Ore.

APHIS’ biotechnology and regulatory services (BRS) program is preparing an environmental impact statement (EIS) concerning a petition received from Monsanto Company and the Scott’s Company to grant non-regulated status to a new variety GE herbicide–tolerant creeping bentgrass. If granted, the GE variety could be sold and grown in the United States without further BRS oversight.

The open forums provided a venue to interact with APHIS representatives. APHIS solicited public input on potential environmental impacts of herbicide-tolerant creeping bentgrass and on the scope of issues to be considered in the EIS.

APHIS will use the information contributed in the public forums in combination with collected scientific information and previous public comment as part of an in–depth analysis of the potential environmental issues associated with the GE variety.

Creeping bentgrass is a perennial turf grass used primarily on golf courses. Through a joint venture, Monsanto and the Scott’s Company developed the GE creeping bentgrass to be resistant to the herbicide glyphosate.

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