Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA); Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) Grants to States, 34363-34366 [2015-14763]

Download as PDF 34363 Notices Federal Register Vol. 80, No. 115 Tuesday, June 16, 2015 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency statements of organization and functions are examples of documents appearing in this section. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Commodity Credit Corporation Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA); Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) Grants to States Commodity Credit Corporation and Farm Service Agency, USDA. AGENCY: ACTION: Notice. The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) is announcing the availability of competitive grants to fund States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and Washington, DC (referred to as ‘‘States’’ in this document), with respect to activities designed to expand the infrastructure for renewable fuels. BIP grantees must provide matching contributions with a goal of a one-to-one basis to the CCC funds. The CCC funds must be used to pay a portion of the costs related to the installation of fuel pumps and related infrastructure dedicated to the distribution of higher ethanol blends, for example ‘‘E15’’ and ‘‘E85,’’ at vehicle fueling locations, including, but not limited to, local fueling stations, convenience stores (CS), hypermarket fueling stations (HFS), or fleet facilities. The matching contributions may be used for these items or for additional related BIP costs such as additional infrastructure to support pumps, marketing, education, data collection, program evaluation, and administrative costs associated with the application process. asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: Applications: Applications must be submitted using www.grants.gov by July 15, 2015. Comments: To comment on the information collection request in the Paperwork Reduction Act Requirements section of this document, we will consider comments we receive by August 17, 2015. DATES: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:18 Jun 15, 2015 Jkt 235001 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Katina Hanson, telephone (202) 720– 3175. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background U.S. farmers are producing record amounts of feedstocks for renewable fuels. However, lower commodity prices, paired with this record production, have created uncertain times for U.S. feedstocks producers. Biofuels, which contribute to energy security, reduce air pollution, and support rural economic development, are an important market for U.S. feedstock producers. Infrastructure constraints and other barriers currently limit the market for biofuels and thereby the commodities used to produce them, contributing to lower commodity prices. In particular, the nation’s fueling infrastructure is not sufficiently flexible to accommodate large additional quantities of higher ethanol blends that could enable biofuels to fill a significantly greater portion of the nation’s fuel supply. Most vehicle fueling pumps can deliver only one type of fuel—E10, which contains a maximum of 10 percent ethanol. Fuels containing a higher percentage of ethanol are also available; the most prevalent of these fuels are those containing 15 percent ethanol (‘‘E15’’) and those containing more ethanol than gasoline (‘‘E85’’ refers to blends between 51 percent and 83 percent ethanol). These higher blend fuels are compatible with a significant portion of the nation’s vehicle fleet. After extensive testing by the Department of Energy, in 2012 EPA approved E15 for use in vehicles for the 2001 and newer model years. Approximately 80 to 85 percent of the 250 million vehicles registered in the United States are able to use E15.1 In addition, there are approximately 14 million flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) in the United States; these vehicles can utilize E85. Based on 2014 fuel consumption levels, these vehicles—vehicles for the 2001 and new model years, plus FFVs—together had the capacity to consume approximately 26 billion gallons of ethanol in the form of E15 and E85 in 2014. However, E15 and E85 actual 2014 sales levels only accommodated 100 to 200 million 1 Source: Data from personal communication with the Clean Fuels Development Coalition. PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 gallons of ethanol. Use of E15 in 2014 was limited by the very small number of vehicle fueling stations choosing to market it, which number fewer than 200 out of a total of more than 150,000 vehicle fueling stations nationwide. Similarly, the number of vehicle fueling stations offering E85 was about 3,000 by the end of 2014, representing only about 2 percent of vehicle fueling stations nationwide.2 In addition, while price data is limited, it appears that the limited network of E15 and E85 vehicle fueling stations means that consumers are not seeing the full price benefits that these higher blends could offer. It is clear, then, that fueling infrastructure constraints limit the distribution of higher blends. Other factors may also be important, such as education, marketing, and pricing of higher blends at both the retail and wholesale level. BIP Description The overall goal of BIP is to increase biofuel consumption in the form of ethanol. BIP is intended to drive innovative public-private partnerships to implement more comprehensive approaches to marketing higher levels of ethanol by cost-sharing for the installation of infrastructure for higher blends of ethanol in general. Higher blends of renewable fuel offer significant potential for increasing the use of renewable fuels in the U.S. gasoline pool, and BIP could help substantially increase ethanol consumption. CCC is an agency and instrumentality of the United States within the Department of Agriculture and operates under the supervision of the Secretary of Agriculture. Among the activities that section 5 of the CCC Charter Act authorizes CCC to undertake are actions to: • Make available materials and facilities required in connection with the production and marketing of agricultural commodities (other than tobacco) and • Increase the domestic consumption of agricultural commodities (other than tobacco) by expanding or aiding in the expansion of domestic markets or by developing or aiding in the development of new and additional 2 Source: DOE’s National a Renewable Energy Lab and from data collected under DOE’s Clean Cities program. E:\FR\FM\16JNN1.SGM 16JNN1 asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 34364 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 115 / Tuesday, June 16, 2015 / Notices markets, marketing facilities, and uses for such commodities. Under this authority, CCC will make available not more than $100 million in the form of grants to States to assist in the implementation of activities to expand the infrastructure for renewable fuels derived from agricultural products produced in the United States. BIP will be administered under the general supervision of the Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator (who also serves as the Executive Vice-President of CCC) and the FSA Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs. Applicants must provide funds or inkind contributions from non-Federal sources to match the receipt of CCC funds with a goal of at least a dollar-fordollar basis. In the event that qualifying applications for funds exceed the total amount made available by CCC, those applications with a higher proportion of funds versus in-kind contributions will be given a corresponding higher priority by CCC in the award of these grants. Accordingly, an applicant may enter into arrangements with private entities such as, but not limited to, commercial vendors of automotive fuel, agricultural commodity promotional organizations, Tribes, and other entities interested in the promotion of renewable fuels in order to secure such non-Federal funds or in-kind contributions. CCC funds made available under BIP may only be used for infrastructure to support higher ethanol blend utilization, including: • Blender pumps that can dispense a range of ethanol blends including E85 (new pumps or retrofit of existing pumps), capped at 75 percent CCC share per pump; • Dedicated E15 or E85 pumps (new pumps or retrofit of existing pumps), capped at 75 percent CCC share per pump; and • New storage tanks and related equipment associated with new facilities or additional capacity (replacement is not included), capped at 25 percent CCC share per tank. BIP grants may not be used for marketing, education, administration, research, testing, and other noninfrastructure expenses. Applicants’ contributions must consist of funds or in-kind contributions. Contributions may be used to support higher ethanol blend utilization through: • Any activity for which CCC funds may be used; • Marketing and educational expenses associated with BIP; • Data collection and program evaluation costs associated with BIP; VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:18 Jun 15, 2015 Jkt 235001 • Administrative costs associated with BIP; and • Expenses specifically set forth in the grant agreement executed with CCC. As described in the ‘‘Application Selection Criteria’’ section below, proposals must include and will be scored on a number of elements. Eligibility States, which as specified above in the Summary section includes the 50 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and Washington, DC, that desire to participate in BIP must submit an application by July 15, 2015, through www.grants.gov. In grants.gov, to find BIP, search on funding opportunity number USDA–FSA–2015–22. Applications must include, but are not limited to, the executive summary, work plan, and budget information using Application for Federal Assistance— construction (SF–424) forms. (See grants.gov for more details about the specific application requirements.) Multiple States may submit a combined regional proposal instead of separate proposals, especially if a joint proposal creates synergies or increased efficiencies. There are a number of existing or prior State-led programs to help provide funding for blender pumps. These Stateled programs generally provide equipment grants or tax incentives. These existing programs may be included as part of the matching contribution in the application; however, the application needs to show how the BIP grant will add to the growth of biofuel infrastructure in the State beyond the existing program. The funding provided by BIP will provide additional incentives. Grant recipients will be able to use the funds to purchase, install, and enhance blender pumps dedicated E15 and E85 pumps, storage tanks and related equipment, or to modify existing dispensers. The result of a successful application will be a one-time grant, consistent with the terms specified in the grant. Successful applicants will be required to sign a grant agreement with CCC. The grant agreement will include reporting and recordkeeping requirements. It is possible that not all of the funds will be expended, if insufficient qualified applications are received. All applications are subject to the approval of CCC, and CCC reserves the right to reject any and all applications. Application Selection Criteria CCC will evaluate how the applications will increase the use of ethanol using the evaluation criteria specified in this NOFA and grants.gov PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 to select the applications that best support the BIP goals. A proposal must include the following information and this information will be used by CCC in the awarding of grants: • The total amount of CCC funds requested; • The total amount of the matching funds provided by the applicant; • The total amount of other contributions provided by the applicant; • The total amount of matching funds and other contributions provided by private entities such as, but not limited to, commercial vendors of automotive fuel, agricultural commodity promotional organizations, Tribes, and other entities interested in the promotion of renewable fuels; • The ratio of the matching funds or other contributions in relation to the requested CCC funds; • Plan to increase the number of consumers who have access to multiple vehicle fueling stations that offer higher ethanol blends within a specific geographic area; • An estimate of the number of consumers who will have access to higher blends through the proposed project; • Degree that blender pumps are prioritized in the proposal to enable more flexibility and consumer choice as demand for additional blends grows; • Current volume of ethanol sales, and an estimate of the increased volume of ethanol sales that the proposal is expected to generate over the lifecycle of the infrastructure investment; • Estimate of the increased number of FFVs; • Proposed plan to collect and provide data and other information necessary to evaluate the program (for example, collect and report data on sales and retail and wholesale pricing of higher ethanol blends by fueling station recipients, or describe outcomes of public education and marketing, such as number of consumers contacted, etc.); • Proposed public education and marketing plan (for example, the placement of blender pumps or dedicated E15 or E85 pumps within the vehicle fueling stations, signage about the availability and merits of higher ethanol blends, and the promotion of FFVs for proposals that include E85 infrastructure); • Proposed program evaluation approach (for example, randomized trials) to identify which approaches are the most effective at promoting use of higher ethanol blends; • Other elements that can increase ethanol use, such as efforts to improve the wholesale distribution system or E:\FR\FM\16JNN1.SGM 16JNN1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 115 / Tuesday, June 16, 2015 / Notices asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES pricing to ensure higher blends are priced fairly based on energy content; • An explanation of how the BIP grant will add to the growth of biofuel infrastructure in the State beyond any existing program; • Demonstration of capacity to operate the proposed program by documenting existing or previous efforts to support biofuels utilization and infrastructure; • A description of how the program will address maintaining and enhancing qualifying infrastructure (that is, blender pumps, dedicated E15 or E85 pumps, new storage tanks and related equipment), including, but not limited to, the minimum length of time that supported infrastructure and pumps must be used to dispense the higher ethanol blends, any foreseen participation barriers, as well as a description of financial incentives the program provides to purchase or enhance qualifying infrastructure; and • A description of how the applicant(s) will complete an environmental evaluation of the proposal consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act. Process for Evaluation of Applications and Award of Grants After applicants submit applications, FSA, on behalf of CCC, will screen each application to determine whether the applicant is eligible and whether the application is complete and sufficiently responsive to the requirements specified in this NOFA so as to allow for an informed review. Applicants may revise their applications and re-submit them prior to the published deadline if there is sufficient time to do so. FSA will appoint an inter-agency review panel to evaluate the applications. During the evaluation period, FSA may contact an applicant to seek modification of the proposal. If the total amount requested in the applications exceeds the available funding, CCC may use additional criteria for selection which could include, but not be limited to: • The distribution of funds between applicants; • The distribution of funds between new programs and existing programs; and • The need to target funding to increase demand for different blends of ethanol. Each State may only submit one application; the application may include one or more projects. States may work together to submit a joint regional application instead of individual applications. Minimum and maximum grants to each applicant will be VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:18 Jun 15, 2015 Jkt 235001 determined following the application period and before the funds are awarded. The resulting BIP grant agreements will be between the States and CCC. States must fully expend Federal funds by December 31, 2016, with an opportunity for extension upon approval by CCC. Responsibilities of Participants Successful applicants will be required to sign an agreement with CCC and provide detailed budget and schedule information. The agreement will require periodic program achievement reports. The agreement will require the grantee to commit to do all of the following: • Take all practicable steps to develop continuing sources of financial support from other State, Federal, or private resources; • Make arrangements for the monitoring and evaluation of the activities of the State-led project(s), including information about the pumps, infrastructure, recipients, and anything else the grant funds are used to support; and • Provide an accounting for the money received by the grantee. During the term of the grant, the grantee will be required to obtain prior approval for any changes to the scope, objectives, or funding allocation of the approved agreement. Failure to obtain prior approval of such changes may be considered a violation, and in such case the grantee may be required to return all grant funds. Grantees will be required to monitor funds or services as follows, and must agree that monitoring before grant funds are awarded. Specifically, the grantee must certify that the CCC funds will not be used to: • Duplicate or replace current services; however, grant funds may be used to expand the level of effort or service beyond what is currently being provided; • Pay costs of preparing the application for funding through BIP; • Pay costs of the project incurred prior to the date of grant approval; • Fund political activities or lobbying efforts; • Pay any judgment or debt owed to the United States; • Pay for the repair of privately owned vehicles; • Pay for salaries, overhead, and related expenses; or • Pay for research. Failure of the grantee to execute a grant agreement in a timely fashion, as determined by FSA, will be construed to be a withdrawal from BIP. PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 34365 Distribution of Grant Funds and Reimbursement of Unused Funds CCC expects to transfer funds to the selected State applicants before September 30, 2015. The grants announced in this NOFA will not be subject to sequestration if the funds are obligated by CCC during fiscal year 2015. Sequestration for certain federal funds is required by the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, as amended by the Budget Control Act of 2011, which mandates that federal agencies implement automatic, annual reductions to discretionary and mandatory spending limits. Paperwork Reduction Act Requirements In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 35), OMB approved an emergency information collection request on BIP so FSA can begin the application period upon publication of this NOFA. FSA is also requesting comments from all interested individuals and organizations on a new information collection request. Although the information collection is one-time activity for the applications, FSA will need to continue this request for the approval beyond the 6-month emergency approval to address the ongoing reporting requirement. Therefore, the information collection request will be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget following the subsequent required 30-day comment period. In the emergency request, BIP will only apply to 2015 funding applications for blender pumps, other pumps, and related infrastructure dedicated to higher ethanol blends at vehicle fueling stations, including local fueling stations, CSs, HFSs, or fleet facilities. The burden for the BIP collection of information includes both the upfront one-time application and the on-going reporting, which will include mid-year and an annual reporting. The reporting may include additional reports for projects that run longer. The estimate of the annual burden reflects the average of the one-time and the annual information collection activities. These estimates were prepared based on the variety of forms and other information collection methods that will be used by the states. Title: The Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership. OMB Number: 0560–0284. Type of Request: New information collection. Abstract: This information collection is needed for FSA to identify eligible E:\FR\FM\16JNN1.SGM 16JNN1 34366 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 115 / Tuesday, June 16, 2015 / Notices States for funding for fuel pumps and related infrastructure to encourage increased ethanol use. FSA requires each State to submit an application to FSA on a form specified by FSA. States will be required to report on the funding distribution, which may require third party reporting depending on how the States distribute the funds. The formula used to calculate the total burden hours is ‘‘the estimated average time per response (including travel time)’’ times ‘‘the total estimated annual responses.’’ Respondents: States. Estimated Number of Respondents: 36. Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: 14. Estimated Total Annual Response: 504. Estimated Average Time per Response: 1.07 hours. Estimated Total Annual Burden on Response: 540 hours. asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Note: The applicants will apply once and report once per year, however, due to the number of forms involved, it is estimated that the number of responses is 14. We are requesting comments on this information collection to help us: (1) Evaluate whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) Evaluate the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of burden, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; or (4) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology. All responses to this notice, including names and addresses, when provided, will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will also become a matter of public record. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance The title and number of the Federal assistance in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance to which this NOFA applies is 10.117, Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:21 Jun 15, 2015 Jkt 235001 Signed on June 11, 2015. Val Dolcini, Administrator, Farm Service Agency, and Executive Vice President, Commodity Credit Corporation. [FR Doc. 2015–14763 Filed 6–15–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–05–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Ringo Project Environmental Impact Statement Forest Service, USDA. Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement. AGENCY: ACTION: The USDA Forest Service will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a project called Ringo, centered around Ringo Butte south of Wickiup Reservoir on the Crescent Ranger District. The Ringo project area is home to a myriad of wildlife and plant species including big game species, northern spotted owl, Oregon spotted frog, and other wildlife. The project area borders private forest land on the east as well as surrounding the community of Wickiup Acres. It contains popular locations for hunting, fishing, and other types of recreation. Values and ecosystem services within the Ringo project area were derived from values mapping exercises with the Ringo IDT and from a public meeting. Prominent values expressed include high quality wildlife habitat for sensitive and threatened species, nearby private land and communities, timber, firewood, forest products, access to the forest for hiking, wildlife viewing, driving, winter recreation, developed and dispersed camping, hunting opportunities, and Odell Butte Lookout. The Ringo Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) determined the largest potential for changes or threats to these values comes from wildfire, insects and disease. As evidenced by the Davis fire, which covers a portion of the planning area, wildfire can rapidly and dramatically alter large areas and affect safety and property. Disturbances such as wildfire and insect and disease outbreaks are natural processes however, with the current fuel loading and high density of trees in the Ringo project area these disturbances can become uncharacteristically severe. In order to continue to provide these values and services on the landscape into the future, there is a need to reduce tree density and surface fuels in order to restore and maintain a resilient, fireadapted ecosystem. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 The project area is approximately 30,000 acres in portions of the Upper Little Deschutes, Crescent Creek, Middle Little Deschutes, and Brown’s CreekDeschutes watersheds. It is located in T. 22 S., R. 8 E.; and R. 9 E.; T. 23 S., R. 8 E.; and R. 9 E.; T. 24 S., R. 7 E.; T. and R. 8 E.; T. 25 S., R. 7 E.; Willamette Meridian. The alternatives would include the proposed action, no action, and additional alternatives that respond to issues generated through the scoping process. The agency will give notice of the full environmental analysis and decision making process so interested and affected parties may participate and contribute to the final decision. DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received 30 days following the date that this notice appears in the Federal Register. ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Holly Jewkes, District Ranger, Crescent Ranger District, P.O. Box 208, Crescent, OR 97733. Comments can also be emailed to: comments-pacificnorthwestdeschutes-crescent@fs.fed.us. The public will have another opportunity to comment when alternatives have been developed and the environmental impact statement is made available. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ringo project leads Michelle King, District Environmental Coordinator at (541) 433–3216, or Joe Bowles, District Silviculturist at (541) 433–3200. Responsible Official: The responsible official will be John Allen, Deschutes Forest Supervisor, 63095 Deschutes Market Road, Bend, Oregon, 97701. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Purpose and Need: The objectives developed for the Ringo Project are consistent with recommendations and direction presented in the Multiple Use Sustained Yield Act of 1960, the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy, the Deschutes Land and Resource Management Plan as amended, and other national and regional guidance. The purpose and need of Ringo is to reduce tree density and surface fuels in order to restore and maintain a resilient, fire-adapted ecosystem that will protect or enhance quality habitat for key wildlife species including the northern spotted owl, white-headed woodpecker, and big game, allow for safe and effective wildfire response, maintain developed and dispersed recreational opportunities, and contribute to local and regional economies by providing timber, firewood, and other forest products. Proposed Action: The proposed action includes approximately 6,688 acres of thinning. This includes primarily E:\FR\FM\16JNN1.SGM 16JNN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 115 (Tuesday, June 16, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 34363-34366]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-14763]


========================================================================
Notices
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules 
or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings 
and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, 
delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency 
statements of organization and functions are examples of documents 
appearing in this section.

========================================================================


Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 115 / Tuesday, June 16, 2015 / 
Notices

[[Page 34363]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Commodity Credit Corporation


Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA); Biofuel Infrastructure 
Partnership (BIP) Grants to States

AGENCY: Commodity Credit Corporation and Farm Service Agency, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) is announcing the 
availability of competitive grants to fund States, the Commonwealth of 
Puerto Rico, and Washington, DC (referred to as ``States'' in this 
document), with respect to activities designed to expand the 
infrastructure for renewable fuels. BIP grantees must provide matching 
contributions with a goal of a one-to-one basis to the CCC funds. The 
CCC funds must be used to pay a portion of the costs related to the 
installation of fuel pumps and related infrastructure dedicated to the 
distribution of higher ethanol blends, for example ``E15'' and ``E85,'' 
at vehicle fueling locations, including, but not limited to, local 
fueling stations, convenience stores (CS), hypermarket fueling stations 
(HFS), or fleet facilities. The matching contributions may be used for 
these items or for additional related BIP costs such as additional 
infrastructure to support pumps, marketing, education, data collection, 
program evaluation, and administrative costs associated with the 
application process.

DATES: Applications: Applications must be submitted using 
www.grants.gov by July 15, 2015.
    Comments: To comment on the information collection request in the 
Paperwork Reduction Act Requirements section of this document, we will 
consider comments we receive by August 17, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Katina Hanson, telephone (202) 720-
3175.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    U.S. farmers are producing record amounts of feedstocks for 
renewable fuels. However, lower commodity prices, paired with this 
record production, have created uncertain times for U.S. feedstocks 
producers. Biofuels, which contribute to energy security, reduce air 
pollution, and support rural economic development, are an important 
market for U.S. feedstock producers. Infrastructure constraints and 
other barriers currently limit the market for biofuels and thereby the 
commodities used to produce them, contributing to lower commodity 
prices. In particular, the nation's fueling infrastructure is not 
sufficiently flexible to accommodate large additional quantities of 
higher ethanol blends that could enable biofuels to fill a 
significantly greater portion of the nation's fuel supply. Most vehicle 
fueling pumps can deliver only one type of fuel--E10, which contains a 
maximum of 10 percent ethanol. Fuels containing a higher percentage of 
ethanol are also available; the most prevalent of these fuels are those 
containing 15 percent ethanol (``E15'') and those containing more 
ethanol than gasoline (``E85'' refers to blends between 51 percent and 
83 percent ethanol).
    These higher blend fuels are compatible with a significant portion 
of the nation's vehicle fleet. After extensive testing by the 
Department of Energy, in 2012 EPA approved E15 for use in vehicles for 
the 2001 and newer model years. Approximately 80 to 85 percent of the 
250 million vehicles registered in the United States are able to use 
E15.\1\ In addition, there are approximately 14 million flex-fuel 
vehicles (FFVs) in the United States; these vehicles can utilize E85. 
Based on 2014 fuel consumption levels, these vehicles--vehicles for the 
2001 and new model years, plus FFVs--together had the capacity to 
consume approximately 26 billion gallons of ethanol in the form of E15 
and E85 in 2014. However, E15 and E85 actual 2014 sales levels only 
accommodated 100 to 200 million gallons of ethanol. Use of E15 in 2014 
was limited by the very small number of vehicle fueling stations 
choosing to market it, which number fewer than 200 out of a total of 
more than 150,000 vehicle fueling stations nationwide. Similarly, the 
number of vehicle fueling stations offering E85 was about 3,000 by the 
end of 2014, representing only about 2 percent of vehicle fueling 
stations nationwide.\2\ In addition, while price data is limited, it 
appears that the limited network of E15 and E85 vehicle fueling 
stations means that consumers are not seeing the full price benefits 
that these higher blends could offer.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Source: Data from personal communication with the Clean 
Fuels Development Coalition.
    \2\ Source: DOE's National a Renewable Energy Lab and from data 
collected under DOE's Clean Cities program.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    It is clear, then, that fueling infrastructure constraints limit 
the distribution of higher blends. Other factors may also be important, 
such as education, marketing, and pricing of higher blends at both the 
retail and wholesale level.

BIP Description

    The overall goal of BIP is to increase biofuel consumption in the 
form of ethanol. BIP is intended to drive innovative public-private 
partnerships to implement more comprehensive approaches to marketing 
higher levels of ethanol by cost-sharing for the installation of 
infrastructure for higher blends of ethanol in general. Higher blends 
of renewable fuel offer significant potential for increasing the use of 
renewable fuels in the U.S. gasoline pool, and BIP could help 
substantially increase ethanol consumption.
    CCC is an agency and instrumentality of the United States within 
the Department of Agriculture and operates under the supervision of the 
Secretary of Agriculture. Among the activities that section 5 of the 
CCC Charter Act authorizes CCC to undertake are actions to:
     Make available materials and facilities required in 
connection with the production and marketing of agricultural 
commodities (other than tobacco) and
     Increase the domestic consumption of agricultural 
commodities (other than tobacco) by expanding or aiding in the 
expansion of domestic markets or by developing or aiding in the 
development of new and additional

[[Page 34364]]

markets, marketing facilities, and uses for such commodities.
    Under this authority, CCC will make available not more than $100 
million in the form of grants to States to assist in the implementation 
of activities to expand the infrastructure for renewable fuels derived 
from agricultural products produced in the United States. BIP will be 
administered under the general supervision of the Farm Service Agency 
(FSA) Administrator (who also serves as the Executive Vice-President of 
CCC) and the FSA Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs.
    Applicants must provide funds or in-kind contributions from non-
Federal sources to match the receipt of CCC funds with a goal of at 
least a dollar-for-dollar basis. In the event that qualifying 
applications for funds exceed the total amount made available by CCC, 
those applications with a higher proportion of funds versus in-kind 
contributions will be given a corresponding higher priority by CCC in 
the award of these grants. Accordingly, an applicant may enter into 
arrangements with private entities such as, but not limited to, 
commercial vendors of automotive fuel, agricultural commodity 
promotional organizations, Tribes, and other entities interested in the 
promotion of renewable fuels in order to secure such non-Federal funds 
or in-kind contributions.
    CCC funds made available under BIP may only be used for 
infrastructure to support higher ethanol blend utilization, including:
     Blender pumps that can dispense a range of ethanol blends 
including E85 (new pumps or retrofit of existing pumps), capped at 75 
percent CCC share per pump;
     Dedicated E15 or E85 pumps (new pumps or retrofit of 
existing pumps), capped at 75 percent CCC share per pump; and
     New storage tanks and related equipment associated with 
new facilities or additional capacity (replacement is not included), 
capped at 25 percent CCC share per tank.
    BIP grants may not be used for marketing, education, 
administration, research, testing, and other non-infrastructure 
expenses.
    Applicants' contributions must consist of funds or in-kind 
contributions. Contributions may be used to support higher ethanol 
blend utilization through:
     Any activity for which CCC funds may be used;
     Marketing and educational expenses associated with BIP;
     Data collection and program evaluation costs associated 
with BIP;
     Administrative costs associated with BIP; and
     Expenses specifically set forth in the grant agreement 
executed with CCC.
    As described in the ``Application Selection Criteria'' section 
below, proposals must include and will be scored on a number of 
elements.

Eligibility

    States, which as specified above in the Summary section includes 
the 50 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and Washington, DC, 
that desire to participate in BIP must submit an application by July 
15, 2015, through www.grants.gov. In grants.gov, to find BIP, search on 
funding opportunity number USDA-FSA-2015-22. Applications must include, 
but are not limited to, the executive summary, work plan, and budget 
information using Application for Federal Assistance--construction (SF-
424) forms. (See grants.gov for more details about the specific 
application requirements.) Multiple States may submit a combined 
regional proposal instead of separate proposals, especially if a joint 
proposal creates synergies or increased efficiencies.
    There are a number of existing or prior State-led programs to help 
provide funding for blender pumps. These State-led programs generally 
provide equipment grants or tax incentives. These existing programs may 
be included as part of the matching contribution in the application; 
however, the application needs to show how the BIP grant will add to 
the growth of biofuel infrastructure in the State beyond the existing 
program. The funding provided by BIP will provide additional 
incentives. Grant recipients will be able to use the funds to purchase, 
install, and enhance blender pumps dedicated E15 and E85 pumps, storage 
tanks and related equipment, or to modify existing dispensers.
    The result of a successful application will be a one-time grant, 
consistent with the terms specified in the grant. Successful applicants 
will be required to sign a grant agreement with CCC. The grant 
agreement will include reporting and recordkeeping requirements. It is 
possible that not all of the funds will be expended, if insufficient 
qualified applications are received. All applications are subject to 
the approval of CCC, and CCC reserves the right to reject any and all 
applications.

Application Selection Criteria

    CCC will evaluate how the applications will increase the use of 
ethanol using the evaluation criteria specified in this NOFA and 
grants.gov to select the applications that best support the BIP goals. 
A proposal must include the following information and this information 
will be used by CCC in the awarding of grants:
     The total amount of CCC funds requested;
     The total amount of the matching funds provided by the 
applicant;
     The total amount of other contributions provided by the 
applicant;
     The total amount of matching funds and other contributions 
provided by private entities such as, but not limited to, commercial 
vendors of automotive fuel, agricultural commodity promotional 
organizations, Tribes, and other entities interested in the promotion 
of renewable fuels;
     The ratio of the matching funds or other contributions in 
relation to the requested CCC funds;
     Plan to increase the number of consumers who have access 
to multiple vehicle fueling stations that offer higher ethanol blends 
within a specific geographic area;
     An estimate of the number of consumers who will have 
access to higher blends through the proposed project;
     Degree that blender pumps are prioritized in the proposal 
to enable more flexibility and consumer choice as demand for additional 
blends grows;
     Current volume of ethanol sales, and an estimate of the 
increased volume of ethanol sales that the proposal is expected to 
generate over the lifecycle of the infrastructure investment;
     Estimate of the increased number of FFVs;
     Proposed plan to collect and provide data and other 
information necessary to evaluate the program (for example, collect and 
report data on sales and retail and wholesale pricing of higher ethanol 
blends by fueling station recipients, or describe outcomes of public 
education and marketing, such as number of consumers contacted, etc.);
     Proposed public education and marketing plan (for example, 
the placement of blender pumps or dedicated E15 or E85 pumps within the 
vehicle fueling stations, signage about the availability and merits of 
higher ethanol blends, and the promotion of FFVs for proposals that 
include E85 infrastructure);
     Proposed program evaluation approach (for example, 
randomized trials) to identify which approaches are the most effective 
at promoting use of higher ethanol blends;
     Other elements that can increase ethanol use, such as 
efforts to improve the wholesale distribution system or

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pricing to ensure higher blends are priced fairly based on energy 
content;
     An explanation of how the BIP grant will add to the growth 
of biofuel infrastructure in the State beyond any existing program;
     Demonstration of capacity to operate the proposed program 
by documenting existing or previous efforts to support biofuels 
utilization and infrastructure;
     A description of how the program will address maintaining 
and enhancing qualifying infrastructure (that is, blender pumps, 
dedicated E15 or E85 pumps, new storage tanks and related equipment), 
including, but not limited to, the minimum length of time that 
supported infrastructure and pumps must be used to dispense the higher 
ethanol blends, any foreseen participation barriers, as well as a 
description of financial incentives the program provides to purchase or 
enhance qualifying infrastructure; and
     A description of how the applicant(s) will complete an 
environmental evaluation of the proposal consistent with the National 
Environmental Policy Act.

Process for Evaluation of Applications and Award of Grants

    After applicants submit applications, FSA, on behalf of CCC, will 
screen each application to determine whether the applicant is eligible 
and whether the application is complete and sufficiently responsive to 
the requirements specified in this NOFA so as to allow for an informed 
review. Applicants may revise their applications and re-submit them 
prior to the published deadline if there is sufficient time to do so. 
FSA will appoint an inter-agency review panel to evaluate the 
applications. During the evaluation period, FSA may contact an 
applicant to seek modification of the proposal.
    If the total amount requested in the applications exceeds the 
available funding, CCC may use additional criteria for selection which 
could include, but not be limited to:
     The distribution of funds between applicants;
     The distribution of funds between new programs and 
existing programs; and
     The need to target funding to increase demand for 
different blends of ethanol.
    Each State may only submit one application; the application may 
include one or more projects. States may work together to submit a 
joint regional application instead of individual applications. Minimum 
and maximum grants to each applicant will be determined following the 
application period and before the funds are awarded.
    The resulting BIP grant agreements will be between the States and 
CCC.
    States must fully expend Federal funds by December 31, 2016, with 
an opportunity for extension upon approval by CCC.

Responsibilities of Participants

    Successful applicants will be required to sign an agreement with 
CCC and provide detailed budget and schedule information. The agreement 
will require periodic program achievement reports. The agreement will 
require the grantee to commit to do all of the following:
     Take all practicable steps to develop continuing sources 
of financial support from other State, Federal, or private resources;
     Make arrangements for the monitoring and evaluation of the 
activities of the State-led project(s), including information about the 
pumps, infrastructure, recipients, and anything else the grant funds 
are used to support; and
     Provide an accounting for the money received by the 
grantee.
    During the term of the grant, the grantee will be required to 
obtain prior approval for any changes to the scope, objectives, or 
funding allocation of the approved agreement. Failure to obtain prior 
approval of such changes may be considered a violation, and in such 
case the grantee may be required to return all grant funds. Grantees 
will be required to monitor funds or services as follows, and must 
agree that monitoring before grant funds are awarded. Specifically, the 
grantee must certify that the CCC funds will not be used to:
     Duplicate or replace current services; however, grant 
funds may be used to expand the level of effort or service beyond what 
is currently being provided;
     Pay costs of preparing the application for funding through 
BIP;
     Pay costs of the project incurred prior to the date of 
grant approval;
     Fund political activities or lobbying efforts;
     Pay any judgment or debt owed to the United States;
     Pay for the repair of privately owned vehicles;
     Pay for salaries, overhead, and related expenses; or
     Pay for research.
    Failure of the grantee to execute a grant agreement in a timely 
fashion, as determined by FSA, will be construed to be a withdrawal 
from BIP.

Distribution of Grant Funds and Reimbursement of Unused Funds

    CCC expects to transfer funds to the selected State applicants 
before September 30, 2015. The grants announced in this NOFA will not 
be subject to sequestration if the funds are obligated by CCC during 
fiscal year 2015. Sequestration for certain federal funds is required 
by the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, as 
amended by the Budget Control Act of 2011, which mandates that federal 
agencies implement automatic, annual reductions to discretionary and 
mandatory spending limits.

Paperwork Reduction Act Requirements

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
chapter 35), OMB approved an emergency information collection request 
on BIP so FSA can begin the application period upon publication of this 
NOFA. FSA is also requesting comments from all interested individuals 
and organizations on a new information collection request. Although the 
information collection is one-time activity for the applications, FSA 
will need to continue this request for the approval beyond the 6-month 
emergency approval to address the on-going reporting requirement. 
Therefore, the information collection request will be submitted to the 
Office of Management and Budget following the subsequent required 30-
day comment period.
    In the emergency request, BIP will only apply to 2015 funding 
applications for blender pumps, other pumps, and related infrastructure 
dedicated to higher ethanol blends at vehicle fueling stations, 
including local fueling stations, CSs, HFSs, or fleet facilities.
    The burden for the BIP collection of information includes both the 
upfront one-time application and the on-going reporting, which will 
include mid-year and an annual reporting. The reporting may include 
additional reports for projects that run longer. The estimate of the 
annual burden reflects the average of the one-time and the annual 
information collection activities. These estimates were prepared based 
on the variety of forms and other information collection methods that 
will be used by the states.
    Title: The Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership.
    OMB Number: 0560-0284.
    Type of Request: New information collection.
    Abstract: This information collection is needed for FSA to identify 
eligible

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States for funding for fuel pumps and related infrastructure to 
encourage increased ethanol use. FSA requires each State to submit an 
application to FSA on a form specified by FSA. States will be required 
to report on the funding distribution, which may require third party 
reporting depending on how the States distribute the funds.
    The formula used to calculate the total burden hours is ``the 
estimated average time per response (including travel time)'' times 
``the total estimated annual responses.''
    Respondents: States.
    Estimated Number of Respondents: 36.
    Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: 14.
    Estimated Total Annual Response: 504.
    Estimated Average Time per Response: 1.07 hours.
    Estimated Total Annual Burden on Response: 540 hours.

    Note: The applicants will apply once and report once per year, 
however, due to the number of forms involved, it is estimated that 
the number of responses is 14.

    We are requesting comments on this information collection to help 
us:
    (1) Evaluate whether the collection of information is necessary for 
the proper performance of the agency, including whether the information 
will have practical utility;
    (2) Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of burden, 
including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
    (3) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to 
be collected; or
    (4) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those 
who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, 
electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or 
other forms of information technology.
    All responses to this notice, including names and addresses, when 
provided, will be summarized and included in the request for OMB 
approval. All comments will also become a matter of public record.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

    The title and number of the Federal assistance in the Catalog of 
Federal Domestic Assistance to which this NOFA applies is 10.117, 
Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership.

    Signed on June 11, 2015.
Val Dolcini,
Administrator, Farm Service Agency, and Executive Vice President, 
Commodity Credit Corporation.
[FR Doc. 2015-14763 Filed 6-15-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3410-05-P