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Keywords:

  • agriculture;
  • biotechnology;
  • genetic engineering;
  • regulation

Abstract

The unique regulatory requirements and costs of genetic engineering (GE) are likely to inhibit commercialization of dedicated bioenergy crops due to the relatively small current market. Two recent regulatory approvals for GE plants, however, may signal a shift in policy and an opening of a door to a streamlined federal regulatory pathway for commercialization for non-food plants. The change, however, may shift regulatory battles from the federal to the state and local level, as each state has independent authority to regulate plants under respective noxious weed/plant protection statutes. This previously dormant state regulatory power could result in even more complex barriers to commercialization of GE bioenergy crops--replacing the regulatory delays embedded in the federal system with regulatory chaos at the state and local level.