The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday published its final Environmental Impact Statement on Monsanto's Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans and Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton, concluding that both should be fully deregulated.
Both have been engineered for resistance to several herbicides, including dicamba, USDA said.
The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is finalizing its assessment of these GE plants while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is concluding its concurrent review of the related herbicides.
It is expected that EPA will make available its proposed regulatory decision in the coming months for public review and comment, USDA said.
"The final EIS moves us one step closer to the introduction of Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton and Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans, paving the way to provide access to dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton," said Miriam Paris, Xtend system launch manager at Monsanto. "This is a significant milestone in providing farmers new tools to manage weeds and time more efficiently, which will help farmers have better harvests."
The final EIS on the dicamba-resistant crops will be available for public viewing for 30 days upon publication in the Federal Register before APHIS makes its final regulatory determination on these petitions for deregulation.
APHIS will publish its record of decision for the final EIS and its final regulatory determination after that 30-day public viewing period has concluded.
Before reaching its decision, the USDA considered nearly 5,000 comments submitted by farmers, academic and scientific experts and other key stakeholders.