Specifications for Primary Underground Power Cable
The Rural Utilities Service, an agency delivering the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural Development Utilities Programs, hereinafter referred to as Rural Development and/or the Agency, proposes to amend its regulations regarding Bulletin 50-70 (U- 1) for electric distribution specifications for 15 kV and 25 kV primary underground power cable. This proposed rule is necessary to provide Agency electric borrowers with updated specifications for 15 kV and 25 kV underground power cable, and to provide borrowers with specifications for 35 kV underground power cable for use in 25 kV primary systems. These specifications cover single-phase and multi- phase primary underground power cable which Agency electric borrowers use to construct their rural underground electric distribution systems.
Dry Fork Station and Hughes Transmission Project
Notice is hereby given that the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency delivering the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Utilities Programs, hereinafter referred to as Rural Development, is issuing a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Dry Fork Station and Hughes Transmission Project. The Draft EIS was prepared pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (U.S.C. 4231 et seq.) in accordance with the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations for implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA (40 CFR 1500-1508) and RUS regulations (7 CFR part 1794). The purpose of the EIS is to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of and alternatives to the Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. (Basin Electric) application for a Rural Development loan guarantee to construct and operate a coal-fired electric generation facility referred to as the Dry Fork Station, consisting of a single maximum net 385 Megawatt (MW) unit, at a site near Gillette, Wyoming, along with other proposed pollution controls collectively known as Best Available Control Technology (BACT). In addition, Basin Electric also proposes to construct and operate 136 miles of 230 kilovolt (kV) transmission line in Campbell and Sheridan counties, referred to as the Hughes Transmission Project. Basin Electric is not requesting a loan guarantee from Rural Development for this action. However, the Hughes Transmission Project is evaluated as a connected action for this EIS because the Dry Fork Station would interconnect with it if the Station is built.
Assistance to High Energy Cost Rural Communities
The Rural Utilities Service, an agency delivering the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural Development Utilities Programs, hereinafter referred to as the Agency, announces the availability of $21.9 million in Fiscal Year 2007 for competitive grants to assist communities with extremely high energy costs. This grant program is authorized under section 19 of the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 (RE Act) (7 U.S.C. 918a) and program regulations at 7 CFR part 1709. The grant funds may be used to acquire, construct, extend, upgrade, or otherwise improve energy generation, transmission, or distribution facilities serving communities in which the average residential expenditure for home energy exceeds 275 percent of the national average. Eligible applicants include persons, States, political subdivisions of States, and other entities organized under State law. Federally-recognized Indian tribes and tribal entities are eligible applicants. This notice describes the eligibility and application requirements, the criteria that will be used by the Agency to award funding, and information on how to obtain application materials. All grants awarded under this NOFA are contingent on the availability of appropriated funds. The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number for this program is 10.859. You may obtain the application guide and materials for the Assistance to High Energy Cost Rural Communities Grant Program via the Internet at the following Web site: https://www.usda.gov/rus/electric/. You may also request the application guide and materials from USDA Rural Development by contacting the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this notice.
Public Television Station Digital Transition Grant Program
This rule adopts as final, the interim final rule published in the Federal Register, (71 FR 3205) on January 20, 2006. The Rural Utilities Service, an agency which administers USDA Rural Development's Utilities Programs (hereinafter ``USDA Rural Development'' or the ``Agency'') is publishing this final rule to allow the Agency to make grants to enable Public Television Stations in rural areas to replace current analog television broadcasting equipment with digital television broadcasting equipment as part of the national transition to digital television service.
Community Connect Broadband Grant Program
The Rural Utilities Service, an agency delivering the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Development Utilities Program, hereinafter referred to as Rural Development and/or the Agency, is issuing proposed regulations to amend its Community-Oriented Connectivity Broadband Grant Program (Community Connect Broadband Grant Program). The Agency has determined that expanding the resource materials used to determine community eligibility for the program will result in a larger number of eligible communities. In addition, Rural Development has changed the test for economic hardship, allowing the applicant community's median household income to be compared to that of its state, which is also expected to increase the number of eligible applicants. Lastly, the Agency is proposing to amend its regulations to specify operating expenses which are approved for grant funding. This proposed rule is not applicable to Community Connect grant applications filed for funding during fiscal year 2007. In the Rules and Regulations section of this Federal Register, the Agency is publishing this action as a direct final rule without prior proposal because the Agency views this as a non-controversial action and anticipates no adverse comments. If no adverse comments are received in response to the direct final rule, no further action will be taken on this proposed rule and the action will become effective at the time specified in the direct final rule. If the Agency receives adverse comments, a timely document will be published in the Federal Register and all public comments received will be addressed in a subsequent final rule on this action.
Community Connect Broadband Grant Program
The Rural Utilities Service, an agency delivering the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Utilities Program, hereinafter referred to as Rural Development and/or the Agency, amends its regulations for the Community-Oriented Connectivity Broadband Grant Program (Community Connect Grant Program). Since the inception of the Community Connect Grant Program, the Agency has faced the challenge of identifying eligible rural communities. The Agency has reviewed its method of identifying eligible communities and has determined that modifications to the program regulations are required in order to expand the resource material used to identify eligible communities. The use of additional resources should increase the number of communities eligible for grant funding. Additionally, the Agency has changed the test for economic hardship. The current regulations compare an applicant community's per capita personal income to the national per capita personal income. Because of the varying costs of living among the states, it was determined that a better measure of economic distress would be a comparison of the applicant community's median household income to that of its state. This change is also expected to increase the number of eligible grant applicants. Lastly, this rule amends the current regulations by specifying operating expenses which the Agency has approved for grant funding. These changes have been determined to be non controversial and are being enacted as a direct final rule. This rule is not applicable to Community Connect grant applications filed for funding during fiscal year 2007.
Information Collection Activity; Comment Request
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35, as amended), the Rural Utilities Service, an agency delivering the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural Development Utilities Programs, hereinafter referred to as Rural Development and/or Agency, invites comments on this information collection for which the Agency intends to request approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).