Announcement Process for Rural Utilities Service Grant Programs, 45031-45034 [2018-19199]

Download as PDF 45031 Rules and Regulations Federal Register Vol. 83, No. 172 Wednesday, September 5, 2018 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510. The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Utilities Service 7 CFR Parts 1709, 1739, 1776, and 1783 RIN 0572–AC39 Announcement Process for Rural Utilities Service Grant Programs Rural Utilities Service, USDA. Final rule. AGENCY: ACTION: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is issuing a final rule to conform with newly implemented uniform posting requirements for federal grants, so that interested applicants need only search one federal posting site on grant opportunities. DATES: This final rule is effective September 5, 2018. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michele Brooks, Regulations Team Lead, Rural Development Innovation Center, U.S. Department of Agriculture, STOP 1522, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20250–1550, Telephone number: (202) 690–1078. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES Executive Order 12866 This final rule has been determined to be not significant for the purposes of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, and therefore has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Executive Order 12988 This final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. The Agency has determined that this rule meets the applicable standards provided in section 3 of the Executive Order. In addition, all state and local laws and regulations that are in conflict with this rule will be preempted. No retroactive effect will be given to this rule and, in accordance with section 212(e) of the Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994 (7 U.S.C. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:03 Sep 04, 2018 Jkt 244001 6912(e)), administrative appeal procedures must be exhausted before an action against the Department or its agencies may be initiated. Executive Order 12372 This final rule is not subject to the requirements of Executive Order 12372, ‘‘Intergovernmental Review,’’ as implemented under USDA’s regulations at 2 CFR part 415, subpart C. Executive Order 13771 The programs affected by this rulemaking are not subject to Executive Order 13771 as they are considered transfer programs and are exempt from the Executive Order. Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification RUS has determined that this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, as defined in the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). The matter covered by this rulemaking is administrative, concerning the Agency’s process for implementation of the program. Environmental Impact Statement This final rule has been examined under Agency environmental regulations at 7 CFR part 1970. The Administrator has determined that this is not a major Federal action significantly affecting the environment. Therefore, in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), an Environmental Impact Statement is not required. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) numbers assigned to these programs are 10.859, ‘‘Assistance to High Energy Cost Rural Communities,’’ 10.862, ‘‘Household Water Well System Grant Program,’’ 10.863, ‘‘Community Connect Grant Program,’’ and 10.864 ‘‘Grant Program to Establish a Fund for Financing Water and Wastewater Projects.’’ The Catalog is available on the internet at http:// www.cfda.gov. The CFDA website also contains a PDF file version of the Catalog. Unfunded Mandates This final rule contains no Federal mandates (under the regulatory provisions of Title II of the Unfunded PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Mandates Reform Act of 1995) for state, local, and tribal governments or the private sector. Therefore, this rule is not subject to the requirements of sections 202 and 205 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995. E-Government Act Compliance RUS is committed to the EGovernment Act, which requires Government agencies in general to provide the public the option of submitting information or transacting business electronically to the maximum extent possible. Executive Order 13132, Federalism The policies contained in this final rule do not have any substantial direct effect on states, on the relationship between the national government and the states, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Nor does this final rule impose substantial direct compliance costs on state and local governments. Therefore, consultation with the states is not required. Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments This final rule has been reviewed in accordance with the requirements of Executive Order 13175, ‘‘Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments.’’ Executive Order 13175 requires Federal agencies to consult and coordinate with tribes on a governmentto-government basis on policies that have tribal implications, including regulations, legislative comments or proposed legislation, and other policy statements or actions that have substantial direct effects on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes. Rural Development has assessed the impact of this rule on Indian tribes and determined that this rule does not, to our knowledge, have tribal implications that require tribal consultation under E.O. 13175. If a tribe would like to engage in consultation with Rural Development on this rule, please contact Rural Development’s Native American Coordinator at (720) 544– 2911 or AIAN@wdc.usda.gov. E:\FR\FM\05SER1.SGM 05SER1 45032 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 172 / Wednesday, September 5, 2018 / Rules and Regulations USDA Non-Discrimination Policy In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/ parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA (not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing deadlines vary by program or incident. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible Agency or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720–2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877–8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD– 3027, found online at http:// www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_ cust.html and at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632–9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250– 9410; (2) fax: 1 (833) 256–1665; or (3) email: program.intake@usda.gov. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender. daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES Information Collection and Recordkeeping Requirements This final rule contains no new reporting or recordkeeping burdens under OMB control numbers 0572– 0127, 0572–0136, 0572–0138, and 0572– 0139 that would require approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35). Service, and Rural Business/Cooperative Service. Rural Development’s mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for all rural Americans. Rural Development meets its mission by providing loans, loan guarantees, grants, and technical assistance through more than 40 programs aimed at creating and improving housing, businesses, and infrastructure throughout rural America. In accordance with Executive Order 13777, Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda, RUS was tasked with identifying duplicative actions that can be streamlined which could result in time and cost savings. In doing so, RUS identified certain RUS grant regulations require that a Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) be published in the Federal Register on an annual basis to announce the open/close period for the grant programs. Given that federal agencies must now publish grant Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA) on www.Grants.gov, several agency regulations must now be amended to conform with the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, And Audit Requirements For Federal Awards in 2 CFR part 200. All pertinent information that the public will need to apply for each of the grant programs will be included in the FOA as required by 2 CFR 200.203. In addition, the agency will include the information on the program website and in the program application guide, which will be linked to the FOA. Interested parties may subscribe to funding opportunities on Grants.gov by logging in to www.Grants.gov and choosing the ‘‘Connect’’ tab to access the ‘‘Connect Center.’’ Subscribing to opportunities, will allow users to receive updates and notifications for specific funding opportunities. To implement these changes, RUS is publishing this action as a final rule. The Administrative Procedures Act exempts from prior notice rules any actions ‘‘relating to agency management or personnel or to public property, loans, grants, benefits, or contracts’’ (5 U.S.C. 553(b)(A)). List of Subjects 7 CFR Part 1709 Administrative practice and procedure, Electric power, Grant programs—energy, Loan programs— energy, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Rural areas. Background 7 CFR Part 1739 Rural Development is a mission area within the USDA comprised of the Rural Utilities Service, Rural Housing Grant programs—communications, Rural areas, Telecommunications, Telephone. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:03 Sep 04, 2018 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 7 CFR Part 1776 Agriculture, Community development, Community facilities, Credit, Grant programs—housing and community development, Nonprofit organizations, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Rural areas, Waste treatment and disposal, Water pollution control, Water resources, Water supply, Watersheds. 7 CFR Part 1783 Business and industry, Community development, Community facilities, Grant programs-housing and community development, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Rural areas, Waste treatment and disposal, Water supply, Watersheds. Accordingly, for reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR parts 1709, 1739, 1776, and 1783 are amended as follows: PART 1709—ASSISTANCE TO HIGH COST ENERGY COMMUNITIES 1. The authority citation for part 1709 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301, 7 U.S.C. 901 et seq. Subpart A—General Requirements 2. Amend § 1709.3 by adding a definition for ‘‘Funding opportunity announcement’’ in alphabetical order to read as follows: ■ § 1709.3 Definitions. * * * * * Funding opportunity announcement (FOA) means a publicly available document by which a Federal agency makes know its intentions to award discretionary grants or cooperative agreements, usually as a result of competition for funds. FOA announcements may be known as program announcements, notices of funding availability, solicitations, or other names depending on the agency and type of program. FOA announcements can be found at www.Grants.gov in the Search Grants tab and on the funding agency’s or program’s website. * * * * * Subpart B—RUS High Energy Cost Grant Program 3. Revise § 1709.114 to read as follows: ■ § 1709.114 Application process. The RUS will request applications for high energy cost grants on a competitive basis by posting a FOA on www.Grant.gov. The FOA will establish E:\FR\FM\05SER1.SGM 05SER1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 172 / Wednesday, September 5, 2018 / Rules and Regulations the amount of funds available, the application package contents and additional requirements, the availability of application materials, high energy cost community eligibility benchmarks, selection criteria and weights, priority considerations, deadlines and procedures for submitting applications. This information will also be made available in the RUS High Energy Cost Grant program application guide and the RUS High Energy Cost Grant program website. ■ 4. Amend § 1709.121 by revising paragraph (d) to read as follows: § 1709.121 Administrator’s review and selection of grant awards. * * * * * (d) In the event an insufficient number of eligible applications are received in response to a FOA and selected for funding to exhaust the funds available, the Administrator reserves the discretion to reopen the application period and to accept additional applications for consideration under the terms of the FOA. Another FOA regarding the reopening of an application period will be announced on www.Grants.gov. PART 1739—BROADBAND GRANT PROGRAM 5. The authority citation for part 1739 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: Title III, Pub. L. 108–199, 118 Stat. 3. Subpart A—Community Connect Grant Program 6. Amend § 1739.1 by revising the third sentence of paragraph (a) to read as follows: ■ § 1739.1 Purpose. daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES (a) * * * The Agency will give priority to rural areas that have the greatest need for broadband services, based on the criteria contained herein and in the RUS Community Connect Program application guide and/or the Community Connect Program website and in the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) posted on www.Grants.gov. * * * * * ■ 7. Revise § 1739.2 to read as follows: § 1739.2 Funding availability and application dates and submission. (a) The Agency will post a FOA on www.Grants.gov that will set forth the total amount of funding available; the maximum and minimum funding for each grant; funding priority; the application submission dates; and the VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:03 Sep 04, 2018 Jkt 244001 appropriate addresses and agency contact information. The FOA will also outline and explain the procedures for submission of applications, including electronic submissions. The Agency may publish more than one FOA should additional funding become available. This information will also be made available in the RUS Community Connect Grant program application guide and on the RUS Community Connect Grant program website. (b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a) of this section, the Agency may, in response to a surplus of qualified eligible applications which could not be funded from the previous fiscal year, decline to post a FOA for the following fiscal year and fund said applications without further public notice. 8. Amend § 1739.3 by revising the first sentence of the definitions of ‘‘Broadband Grant Speed’’ and ‘‘Broadband service’’ and by adding the definition of ‘‘Funding opportunity agreement’’ in alphabetical order to read as follows: ■ § 1739.3 Definitions. * * * * * Broadband Grant Speed means the minimum bandwidth described in the funding opportunity that an applicant must propose to deliver to every customer in the proposed funded service area in order for the Agency to approve a broadband grant. * * * Broadband service means any terrestrial technology having the capacity to provide transmission facilities that enable subscribers of the service to originate and receive highquality voice, data, graphics, and video at the minimum rate of data transmission described in the funding opportunity. * * * * * * * * Funding opportunity announcement (FOA) means a publicly available document by which a Federal agency makes know its intentions to award discretionary grants or cooperative agreements, usually as a result of competition for funds. FOA announcements may be known as program announcements, notices of funding availability, solicitations, or other names depending on the agency and type of program. FOA announcements can be found at www.Grants.gov in the Search Grants tab and on the funding agency’s or program’s website. * * * * * 9. Amend § 1739.15 by revising the introductory text to read as follows: ■ PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 § 1739.15 45033 Completed application. Applications should be prepared in conformance with the provisions of this part and all applicable regulations, including 2 CFR part 200, as adopted by USDA through 2 CFR part 400. Applicants must also conform to the requirements of the FOA posted on www.Grants.gov, the RUS Community Connect Grant program application guide, and the Community Connect Grant program website. Applicants should refer to the FOA and the application guide for submission directions. The application guide contains instructions and forms, as well as other important information needed to prepare an application and is updated on an annual basis. Paper copies of the application guide can be requested by contacting the Loan Origination and Approval Division at 202–720–0800. Completed applications must include the following documentation, studies, reports and information, in form and substance satisfactory to the Agency: * * * * * ■ 10. Amend § 1739.16 by revising the first sentence of paragraph (a) to read as follows: § 1739.16 Review of grant applications. (a) All applications for grants must be delivered to the Agency at the address and by the date specified in the FOA, the Community Connect Grant program application guide and the Community Connect Grant program website (see § 1739.2) to be eligible for funding. * * * * * * * * ■ 11. Amend § 1739.17 by revising paragraph (d)(7) to read as follows: § 1739.17 Scoring of applications. * * * * * (d) * * * (7) Any other additional factors that may be outlined in the FOA, the Community Connect Grant program application guide, and the Community Connect Grant program website. PART 1776—HOUSEHOLD WATER WELL SYSTEM GRANT PROGRAM 12. The authority citation for part 1776 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 7 U.S.C. 1926e. 13. Amend § 1776.3 by adding a definition for ‘‘Funding opportunity announcement’’ in alphabetical order to read as follows: ■ § 1776.3 Definitions. * * * * * Funding opportunity announcement (FOA) means a publicly available E:\FR\FM\05SER1.SGM 05SER1 45034 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 172 / Wednesday, September 5, 2018 / Rules and Regulations document by which a Federal agency makes know its intentions to award discretionary grants or cooperative agreements, usually as a result of competition for funds. FOA announcements may be known as program announcements, notices of funding availability, solicitations, or other names depending on the agency and type of program. FOA announcements can be found at www.Grants.gov in the Search Grants tab and on the funding agency’s or program’s website. * * * * * ■ 14. Revise § 1776.6 to read as follows: § 1776.6 Funding availability. A FOA will be posted to www.Grants.gov in fiscal years that funds are available for this program. The FOA will establish the period during which applications for such funds may be submitted for consideration. ■ 15. Amend § 1776.8 by revising paragraph (d) to read as follows: § 1776.8 Methods for submitting applications. * * * * * (d) The methods of submitting applications may be changed from time to reflect changes in addresses and electronic submission procedures. The applicant should refer to the most recent FOA for notice of any such changes. In the event of any discrepancy, the most recent FOA must be followed. PART 1783—REVOLVING FUNDS FOR FINANCING WATER AND WASTEWATER PROJECTS (REVOLVING FUND PROGRAM) and type of program. FOA announcements can be found at Grants.gov in the Search Grants tab and on the funding agency’s or program’s website. * * * * * Subpart B—Revolving Loan Program Grants ■ 18. Revise § 1783.6 to read as follows: § 1783.6 When will applications for grants be accepted? A FOA will be posted to www.Grants.gov in fiscal years that funds are available for this program. The FOA will establish the period during which applications for such funds may be submitted for consideration. ■ 19. Amend § 1783.8 by revising the second sentence of paragraph (c) to read as follows: § 1783.8 What are the acceptable methods for submitting applications? * * * * * (c) * * * Applicants should refer to the most recent FOA for notice of any such changes. In the event of any discrepancy, the information contained in the FOA must be followed. * * * Dated: August 27, 2018. Christopher A. McLean, Acting Administrator, Rural Utilities Service. [FR Doc. 2018–19199 Filed 9–4–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–15–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 25 16. The authority citation for part 1783 continues to read as follows: ■ [Docket No. FAA–2015–0309; Special Conditions No. 25–594A–SC] Authority: 7 U.S.C. 1926 (a)(2)(B). Subpart A—General 17. Amend § 1783.3 by adding a definition for ‘‘Funding opportunity announcement’’ in alphabetical order to read as follows: ■ § 1783.3 What definitions are used in this regulation? daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES * * * * * Funding opportunity announcement (FOA) means a publicly available document by which a Federal agency makes know its intentions to award discretionary grants or cooperative agreements, usually as a result of competition for funds. FOA announcements may be known as program announcements, notices of funding availability, solicitations, or other names depending on the agency VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:12 Sep 04, 2018 Jkt 244001 Special Conditions: The Boeing Company (Boeing) Model 747–8 Airplane, Dynamic Test Requirements for Single-Occupant, Oblique (SideFacing) Seats, With or Without Airbag Devices or 3-Point Restraints Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT. ACTION: Amended final special conditions; request for comments. AGENCY: These amended special conditions are issued for the Boeing Model 747–8 airplane. This amendment states that the Boeing Model 747–8 airplane oblique (side-facing) seats may be installed at an angle of 18 to 45 degrees to the airplane centerline and may include a 3-point or airbag restraint system, or both, for occupant restraint and injury protection. Additionally, this SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 amendment changes paragraphs 4 through 8 of the special conditions section. This airplane will have novel or unusual design features when compared to the state of technology envisioned in the airworthiness standards for transport category airplanes. These design features are oblique (side-facing) single-occupant seats equipped with or without airbag devices or 3-point restraints. The applicable airworthiness regulations do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for these design features. These special conditions contain the additional safety standards the Administrator considers necessary to establish a level of safety equivalent to that established by the existing airworthiness standards. DATES: This action is effective on Boeing on September 5, 2018. Send comments on or before October 22, 2018. ADDRESSES: Send comments identified by Docket No. FAA–2015–0309 using any of the following methods: • Federal eRegulations Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/ and follow the online instructions for sending your comments electronically. • Mail: Send comments to Docket Operations, M–30, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W12–140, West Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC, 20590–0001. • Hand Delivery or Courier: Take comments to Docket Operations in Room W12–140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. • Fax: Fax comments to Docket Operations at 202–493–2251. Privacy: The FAA will post all comments it receives, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov/, including any personal information the commenter provides. Using the search function of the docket website, anyone can find and read the electronic form of all comments received into any FAA docket, including the name of the individual sending the comment (or signing the comment for an association, business, labor union, etc.). DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement can be found in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477–19478). Docket: Background documents or comments received may be read at http://www.regulations.gov/ at any time. Follow the online instructions for accessing the docket or go to Docket Operations in Room W12–140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, E:\FR\FM\05SER1.SGM 05SER1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 172 (Wednesday, September 5, 2018)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 45031-45034]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-19199]



========================================================================
Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents 
having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed 
to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published 
under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510.

The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. 

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


Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 172 / Wednesday, September 5, 2018 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 45031]]


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

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Rural Utilities Service

7 CFR Parts 1709, 1739, 1776, and 1783

RIN 0572-AC39


Announcement Process for Rural Utilities Service Grant Programs

AGENCY: Rural Utilities Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.

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

SUMMARY: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is issuing a final rule to 
conform with newly implemented uniform posting requirements for federal 
grants, so that interested applicants need only search one federal 
posting site on grant opportunities.

DATES: This final rule is effective September 5, 2018.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michele Brooks, Regulations Team Lead, 
Rural Development Innovation Center, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 
STOP 1522, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20250-1550, 
Telephone number: (202) 690-1078.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Executive Order 12866

    This final rule has been determined to be not significant for the 
purposes of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, and 
therefore has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB).

Executive Order 12988

    This final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, 
Civil Justice Reform. The Agency has determined that this rule meets 
the applicable standards provided in section 3 of the Executive Order. 
In addition, all state and local laws and regulations that are in 
conflict with this rule will be preempted. No retroactive effect will 
be given to this rule and, in accordance with section 212(e) of the 
Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994 (7 U.S.C. 
6912(e)), administrative appeal procedures must be exhausted before an 
action against the Department or its agencies may be initiated.

Executive Order 12372

    This final rule is not subject to the requirements of Executive 
Order 12372, ``Intergovernmental Review,'' as implemented under USDA's 
regulations at 2 CFR part 415, subpart C.

Executive Order 13771

    The programs affected by this rulemaking are not subject to 
Executive Order 13771 as they are considered transfer programs and are 
exempt from the Executive Order.

Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

    RUS has determined that this final rule will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, as defined 
in the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). The matter 
covered by this rulemaking is administrative, concerning the Agency's 
process for implementation of the program.

Environmental Impact Statement

    This final rule has been examined under Agency environmental 
regulations at 7 CFR part 1970. The Administrator has determined that 
this is not a major Federal action significantly affecting the 
environment. Therefore, in accordance with the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), an Environmental Impact 
Statement is not required.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

    The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) numbers assigned 
to these programs are 10.859, ``Assistance to High Energy Cost Rural 
Communities,'' 10.862, ``Household Water Well System Grant Program,'' 
10.863, ``Community Connect Grant Program,'' and 10.864 ``Grant Program 
to Establish a Fund for Financing Water and Wastewater Projects.'' The 
Catalog is available on the internet at http://www.cfda.gov. The CFDA 
website also contains a PDF file version of the Catalog.

Unfunded Mandates

    This final rule contains no Federal mandates (under the regulatory 
provisions of Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995) for 
state, local, and tribal governments or the private sector. Therefore, 
this rule is not subject to the requirements of sections 202 and 205 of 
the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995.

E-Government Act Compliance

    RUS is committed to the E-Government Act, which requires Government 
agencies in general to provide the public the option of submitting 
information or transacting business electronically to the maximum 
extent possible.

Executive Order 13132, Federalism

    The policies contained in this final rule do not have any 
substantial direct effect on states, on the relationship between the 
national government and the states, or on the distribution of power and 
responsibilities among the various levels of government. Nor does this 
final rule impose substantial direct compliance costs on state and 
local governments. Therefore, consultation with the states is not 
required.

Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal 
Governments

    This final rule has been reviewed in accordance with the 
requirements of Executive Order 13175, ``Consultation and Coordination 
with Indian Tribal Governments.'' Executive Order 13175 requires 
Federal agencies to consult and coordinate with tribes on a government-
to-government basis on policies that have tribal implications, 
including regulations, legislative comments or proposed legislation, 
and other policy statements or actions that have substantial direct 
effects on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the 
Federal Government and Indian tribes or on the distribution of power 
and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes. 
Rural Development has assessed the impact of this rule on Indian tribes 
and determined that this rule does not, to our knowledge, have tribal 
implications that require tribal consultation under E.O. 13175. If a 
tribe would like to engage in consultation with Rural Development on 
this rule, please contact Rural Development's Native American 
Coordinator at (720) 544-2911 or [email protected].

[[Page 45032]]

USDA Non-Discrimination Policy

    In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of 
Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its 
Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or 
administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on 
race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including 
gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital 
status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance 
program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil 
rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA 
(not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing 
deadlines vary by program or incident.
    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of 
communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, 
audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible 
Agency or USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or 
contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. 
Additionally, program information may be made available in languages 
other than English.
    To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA 
Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html and at any USDA office or 
write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the 
information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint 
form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA 
by: (1) Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant 
Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 
20250-9410; (2) fax: 1 (833) 256-1665; or (3) email: 
[email protected]. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, 
employer, and lender.

Information Collection and Recordkeeping Requirements

    This final rule contains no new reporting or recordkeeping burdens 
under OMB control numbers 0572-0127, 0572-0136, 0572-0138, and 0572-
0139 that would require approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 
1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35).

Background

    Rural Development is a mission area within the USDA comprised of 
the Rural Utilities Service, Rural Housing Service, and Rural Business/
Cooperative Service. Rural Development's mission is to increase 
economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for all rural 
Americans. Rural Development meets its mission by providing loans, loan 
guarantees, grants, and technical assistance through more than 40 
programs aimed at creating and improving housing, businesses, and 
infrastructure throughout rural America.
    In accordance with Executive Order 13777, Enforcing the Regulatory 
Reform Agenda, RUS was tasked with identifying duplicative actions that 
can be streamlined which could result in time and cost savings. In 
doing so, RUS identified certain RUS grant regulations require that a 
Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) be published in the Federal 
Register on an annual basis to announce the open/close period for the 
grant programs. Given that federal agencies must now publish grant 
Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA) on www.Grants.gov, several 
agency regulations must now be amended to conform with the Uniform 
Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, And Audit Requirements 
For Federal Awards in 2 CFR part 200. All pertinent information that 
the public will need to apply for each of the grant programs will be 
included in the FOA as required by 2 CFR 200.203. In addition, the 
agency will include the information on the program website and in the 
program application guide, which will be linked to the FOA.
    Interested parties may subscribe to funding opportunities on 
Grants.gov by logging in to www.Grants.gov and choosing the ``Connect'' 
tab to access the ``Connect Center.'' Subscribing to opportunities, 
will allow users to receive updates and notifications for specific 
funding opportunities.
    To implement these changes, RUS is publishing this action as a 
final rule. The Administrative Procedures Act exempts from prior notice 
rules any actions ``relating to agency management or personnel or to 
public property, loans, grants, benefits, or contracts'' (5 U.S.C. 
553(b)(A)).

List of Subjects

7 CFR Part 1709

    Administrative practice and procedure, Electric power, Grant 
programs--energy, Loan programs--energy, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Rural areas.

7 CFR Part 1739

    Grant programs--communications, Rural areas, Telecommunications, 
Telephone.

7 CFR Part 1776

    Agriculture, Community development, Community facilities, Credit, 
Grant programs--housing and community development, Nonprofit 
organizations, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Rural areas, 
Waste treatment and disposal, Water pollution control, Water resources, 
Water supply, Watersheds.

7 CFR Part 1783

    Business and industry, Community development, Community facilities, 
Grant programs-housing and community development, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Rural areas, Waste treatment and disposal, 
Water supply, Watersheds.

    Accordingly, for reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR parts 
1709, 1739, 1776, and 1783 are amended as follows:

PART 1709--ASSISTANCE TO HIGH COST ENERGY COMMUNITIES

0
1. The authority citation for part 1709 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 301, 7 U.S.C. 901 et seq.

Subpart A--General Requirements

0
2. Amend Sec.  1709.3 by adding a definition for ``Funding opportunity 
announcement'' in alphabetical order to read as follows:


Sec.  1709.3  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Funding opportunity announcement (FOA) means a publicly available 
document by which a Federal agency makes know its intentions to award 
discretionary grants or cooperative agreements, usually as a result of 
competition for funds. FOA announcements may be known as program 
announcements, notices of funding availability, solicitations, or other 
names depending on the agency and type of program. FOA announcements 
can be found at www.Grants.gov in the Search Grants tab and on the 
funding agency's or program's website.
* * * * *

Subpart B--RUS High Energy Cost Grant Program

0
3. Revise Sec.  1709.114 to read as follows:


Sec.  1709.114  Application process.

    The RUS will request applications for high energy cost grants on a 
competitive basis by posting a FOA on www.Grant.gov. The FOA will 
establish

[[Page 45033]]

the amount of funds available, the application package contents and 
additional requirements, the availability of application materials, 
high energy cost community eligibility benchmarks, selection criteria 
and weights, priority considerations, deadlines and procedures for 
submitting applications. This information will also be made available 
in the RUS High Energy Cost Grant program application guide and the RUS 
High Energy Cost Grant program website.

0
4. Amend Sec.  1709.121 by revising paragraph (d) to read as follows:


Sec.  1709.121  Administrator's review and selection of grant awards.

* * * * *
    (d) In the event an insufficient number of eligible applications 
are received in response to a FOA and selected for funding to exhaust 
the funds available, the Administrator reserves the discretion to 
reopen the application period and to accept additional applications for 
consideration under the terms of the FOA. Another FOA regarding the 
reopening of an application period will be announced on www.Grants.gov.

PART 1739--BROADBAND GRANT PROGRAM

0
5. The authority citation for part 1739 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  Title III, Pub. L. 108-199, 118 Stat. 3.

Subpart A--Community Connect Grant Program

0
6. Amend Sec.  1739.1 by revising the third sentence of paragraph (a) 
to read as follows:


Sec.  1739.1  Purpose.

    (a) * * * The Agency will give priority to rural areas that have 
the greatest need for broadband services, based on the criteria 
contained herein and in the RUS Community Connect Program application 
guide and/or the Community Connect Program website and in the funding 
opportunity announcement (FOA) posted on www.Grants.gov.
* * * * *

0
7. Revise Sec.  1739.2 to read as follows:


Sec.  1739.2  Funding availability and application dates and 
submission.

    (a) The Agency will post a FOA on www.Grants.gov that will set 
forth the total amount of funding available; the maximum and minimum 
funding for each grant; funding priority; the application submission 
dates; and the appropriate addresses and agency contact information. 
The FOA will also outline and explain the procedures for submission of 
applications, including electronic submissions. The Agency may publish 
more than one FOA should additional funding become available. This 
information will also be made available in the RUS Community Connect 
Grant program application guide and on the RUS Community Connect Grant 
program website.
    (b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a) of this section, the Agency may, 
in response to a surplus of qualified eligible applications which could 
not be funded from the previous fiscal year, decline to post a FOA for 
the following fiscal year and fund said applications without further 
public notice.

0
8. Amend Sec.  1739.3 by revising the first sentence of the definitions 
of ``Broadband Grant Speed'' and ``Broadband service'' and by adding 
the definition of ``Funding opportunity agreement'' in alphabetical 
order to read as follows:


Sec.  1739.3  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Broadband Grant Speed means the minimum bandwidth described in the 
funding opportunity that an applicant must propose to deliver to every 
customer in the proposed funded service area in order for the Agency to 
approve a broadband grant. * * *
    Broadband service means any terrestrial technology having the 
capacity to provide transmission facilities that enable subscribers of 
the service to originate and receive high-quality voice, data, 
graphics, and video at the minimum rate of data transmission described 
in the funding opportunity. * * *
* * * * *
    Funding opportunity announcement (FOA) means a publicly available 
document by which a Federal agency makes know its intentions to award 
discretionary grants or cooperative agreements, usually as a result of 
competition for funds. FOA announcements may be known as program 
announcements, notices of funding availability, solicitations, or other 
names depending on the agency and type of program. FOA announcements 
can be found at www.Grants.gov in the Search Grants tab and on the 
funding agency's or program's website.
* * * * *

0
9. Amend Sec.  1739.15 by revising the introductory text to read as 
follows:


Sec.  1739.15  Completed application.

    Applications should be prepared in conformance with the provisions 
of this part and all applicable regulations, including 2 CFR part 200, 
as adopted by USDA through 2 CFR part 400. Applicants must also conform 
to the requirements of the FOA posted on www.Grants.gov, the RUS 
Community Connect Grant program application guide, and the Community 
Connect Grant program website. Applicants should refer to the FOA and 
the application guide for submission directions. The application guide 
contains instructions and forms, as well as other important information 
needed to prepare an application and is updated on an annual basis. 
Paper copies of the application guide can be requested by contacting 
the Loan Origination and Approval Division at 202-720-0800. Completed 
applications must include the following documentation, studies, reports 
and information, in form and substance satisfactory to the Agency:
* * * * *

0
10. Amend Sec.  1739.16 by revising the first sentence of paragraph (a) 
to read as follows:


Sec.  1739.16  Review of grant applications.

    (a) All applications for grants must be delivered to the Agency at 
the address and by the date specified in the FOA, the Community Connect 
Grant program application guide and the Community Connect Grant program 
website (see Sec.  1739.2) to be eligible for funding. * * *
* * * * *

0
11. Amend Sec.  1739.17 by revising paragraph (d)(7) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  1739.17  Scoring of applications.

* * * * *
    (d) * * *
    (7) Any other additional factors that may be outlined in the FOA, 
the Community Connect Grant program application guide, and the 
Community Connect Grant program website.

PART 1776--HOUSEHOLD WATER WELL SYSTEM GRANT PROGRAM

0
12. The authority citation for part 1776 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  7 U.S.C. 1926e.


0
13. Amend Sec.  1776.3 by adding a definition for ``Funding opportunity 
announcement'' in alphabetical order to read as follows:


Sec.  1776.3  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Funding opportunity announcement (FOA) means a publicly available

[[Page 45034]]

document by which a Federal agency makes know its intentions to award 
discretionary grants or cooperative agreements, usually as a result of 
competition for funds. FOA announcements may be known as program 
announcements, notices of funding availability, solicitations, or other 
names depending on the agency and type of program. FOA announcements 
can be found at www.Grants.gov in the Search Grants tab and on the 
funding agency's or program's website.
* * * * *

0
14. Revise Sec.  1776.6 to read as follows:


Sec.  1776.6  Funding availability.

    A FOA will be posted to www.Grants.gov in fiscal years that funds 
are available for this program. The FOA will establish the period 
during which applications for such funds may be submitted for 
consideration.

0
15. Amend Sec.  1776.8 by revising paragraph (d) to read as follows:


Sec.  1776.8  Methods for submitting applications.

* * * * *
    (d) The methods of submitting applications may be changed from time 
to reflect changes in addresses and electronic submission procedures. 
The applicant should refer to the most recent FOA for notice of any 
such changes. In the event of any discrepancy, the most recent FOA must 
be followed.

PART 1783--REVOLVING FUNDS FOR FINANCING WATER AND WASTEWATER 
PROJECTS (REVOLVING FUND PROGRAM)

0
16. The authority citation for part 1783 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  7 U.S.C. 1926 (a)(2)(B).

Subpart A--General

0
17. Amend Sec.  1783.3 by adding a definition for ``Funding opportunity 
announcement'' in alphabetical order to read as follows:


Sec.  1783.3  What definitions are used in this regulation?

* * * * *
    Funding opportunity announcement (FOA) means a publicly available 
document by which a Federal agency makes know its intentions to award 
discretionary grants or cooperative agreements, usually as a result of 
competition for funds. FOA announcements may be known as program 
announcements, notices of funding availability, solicitations, or other 
names depending on the agency and type of program. FOA announcements 
can be found at Grants.gov in the Search Grants tab and on the funding 
agency's or program's website.
* * * * *

Subpart B--Revolving Loan Program Grants

0
18. Revise Sec.  1783.6 to read as follows:


Sec.  1783.6  When will applications for grants be accepted?

    A FOA will be posted to www.Grants.gov in fiscal years that funds 
are available for this program. The FOA will establish the period 
during which applications for such funds may be submitted for 
consideration.

0
19. Amend Sec.  1783.8 by revising the second sentence of paragraph (c) 
to read as follows:


Sec.  1783.8  What are the acceptable methods for submitting 
applications?

* * * * *
    (c) * * * Applicants should refer to the most recent FOA for notice 
of any such changes. In the event of any discrepancy, the information 
contained in the FOA must be followed. * * *

    Dated: August 27, 2018.
Christopher A. McLean,
Acting Administrator, Rural Utilities Service.
[FR Doc. 2018-19199 Filed 9-4-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3410-15-P