Rural Utilities Service 2011 – Federal Register Recent Federal Regulation Documents

Intergovernmental Review
Document Number: 2011-33025
Type: Rule
Date: 2011-12-27
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Housing Service, Rural Utilities Service
The U. S. Department of Agriculture (``Department'') is amending several regulations, which make reference to RD Instruction 1940-J, Intergovernmental Review.'' This action is necessary since the affected regulations refer to RD Instruction 1940-J, which is being rewritten and replaced by RD Instruction 1970-I. The intended effect is to simplify and update the regulations and to ensure the Department's field offices have current guidance on intergovernmental review of proposed projects being reviewed pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.
Dairyland Power Cooperative: CapX 2020 Hampton-Rochester-La Crosse Transmission Line Project
Document Number: 2011-32337
Type: Notice
Date: 2011-12-16
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
Notice is hereby given that the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to meet its responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and 7 CFR 1794 related to providing financial assistance to Dairyland Power Cooperative (Dairyland) for its share in the construction of a proposed 345-kilovolt (kV) transmission line and associated infrastructure between Hampton, Minnesota and the La Crosse area in Wisconsin (the proposed project). Dairyland is participating in the proposed project with a number of other utilities (Applicants). The purpose of the proposed project is to: (1) Improve community reliability of the transmission system in Rochester, Winona, La Crosse, and the surrounding areas, which include areas served by Dairyland; (2) improve the regional reliability of the transmission system; and (3) increase generation outlet capacity.
Oglethorpe Power Corporation; Proposed Biomass Power Plant
Document Number: 2011-32005
Type: Notice
Date: 2011-12-15
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
Notice is hereby given that the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), has prepared a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to meet its responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and 7 CFR part 1794 related to possible financial assistance to Oglethorpe Power Corporation's (Oglethorpe) for the construction of a 100 megawatt (MW) biomass plant and related facilities (Proposal) in Warren County, Georgia. The purpose of the Proposal is to provide a reliable, long-term supply of renewable and sustainable energy at a reasonable cost to meet part of the electric energy needs of Oglethorpe's members. Oglethorpe may request financial assistance from the RUS for the Proposal.
Extension of Comment Period for Proposed Rulemaking on Substantially Underserved Trust Areas (SUTA)
Document Number: 2011-31575
Type: Proposed Rule
Date: 2011-12-09
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is extending until January 17, 2012, the period for public comment on the proposal to issue regulations in order to provide loans and grants to facilitate the construction, acquisition, or improvement of infrastructure projects in Substantially Underserved Trust Areas (SUTA).
Publication of Depreciation Rates
Document Number: 2011-30361
Type: Notice
Date: 2011-11-25
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Utilities Service (RUS) administers rural utilities programs, including the Telecommunications Program. RUS announces the depreciation rates for telecommunications plant for the period ending December 31, 2010.
Disaster Designation Process
Document Number: 2011-29011
Type: Proposed Rule
Date: 2011-11-14
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Housing Service, Rural Utilities Service
The Farm Service Agency (FSA) proposes to amend the disaster designation regulations with simplified procedures for designating USDA Secretarial disaster areas. Proposed changes to the regulation would delegate the designation authority to FSA State officials, remove the requirement that a request for designation of a disaster area be initiated and submitted by a State Governor or Indian Tribal Council to the Secretary, add a simplified disaster designation in severe drought situations, and change the USDA Secretarial disaster designation process from six steps to two steps for natural disasters, including special provisions for certain drought situations. FSA proposes to move the regulations to the same chapter of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) as the FSA Emergency Loan (EM) Program regulations. FSA expects the amended procedures would result in faster designations of disaster areas, and result in more timely disaster assistance.
Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Inc.: Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and Hold Public Scoping Meetings
Document Number: 2011-28309
Type: Notice
Date: 2011-11-02
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), intends to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for Basin Electric Power Cooperative's (Basin Electric) proposed Antelope Valley Station (AVS) to Neset Transmission Project (Project) in North Dakota. RUS is issuing this Notice of Intent (NOI) to inform the public and interested parties about the proposed Project, conduct a public scoping process, and invite the public to comment on the scope, proposed action, and other issues to be addressed in the EIS. The EIS will address the construction, operation, and maintenance of Basin Electric's proposed Project. The Project includes construction, operation and maintenance of approximately 190 miles of new 345-kV single pole transmission line and double circuit 345/115-kV transmission lines, 2 new substations, modifications to 4 existing substations, a 345-kV switchyard, maintenance access roads, temporary construction roads, river crossings, temporary construction staging sites, and other facilities to be described in the proposed EIS. Basin Electric's proposed Project would be located in portions of Billings, Dunn, McKenzie, Mercer, Mountrail, and Williams counties in western North Dakota. Portions of Basin Electric's proposed Project may affect floodplains and wetlands. This NOI also serves as a notice of proposed floodplain or wetland action. RUS will hold public scoping meetings to share information and receive comments and suggestions on the scope of the EIS in areas near and affected by the proposed Project.
Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program
Document Number: 2011-27945
Type: Proposed Rule
Date: 2011-10-28
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency, Rural Housing Service, Rural Utilities Service
The United States Department of Agricultural (USDA), Rural Housing Service (RHS) proposes a change to its Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program (SFHGLP) regulation. The proposed action is taken to implement authorities granted the Secretary of the USDA, in Sec. 102 of the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2010 (Pub. L. 111-212, July 29, 2010) to collect from the lender an annual fee not to exceed 0.5 percent of the outstanding principal balance of the loan for the life of the loan. The intent of the annual fee is to make the SFHGLP subsidy neutral when used in conjunction with the one-time guarantee fee, thus eliminating the need for taxpayer support of the program. For Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, an annual fee of 0.3 percent of the outstanding principal balance will be required in order that the SFHGLP may maintain subsidy neutrality. Beginning with all loans obligated on or after October 1, 2011, RHS proposes to charge an annual fee of 0.3 percent of the outstanding principal balance of the loan for the life of the loan.
Information Collection Activity; Comment Request
Document Number: 2011-27642
Type: Notice
Date: 2011-10-26
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35, as amended), the Rural Utilities Service's (RUS) invites comments on this information collection for which approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will be requested.
Substantially Underserved Trust Areas (SUTA)
Document Number: 2011-26133
Type: Proposed Rule
Date: 2011-10-14
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) proposes to issue regulations in order to provide loans and grants to facilitate the construction, acquisition, or improvement of infrastructure projects in Substantially Underserved Trust Areas (SUTA). The intent is to implement Section 906F of the Rural Electrification Act (7 U.S.C. 960f) by providing the process by which eligible applicants may apply for funding by the agency.
Information Collection Activity; Comment Request
Document Number: 2011-24157
Type: Notice
Date: 2011-09-21
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35, as amended), the Rural Utilities Service, an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), invites comments on this information collection for which approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will be requested.
Expansion of 911 Access; Telecommunications Loan Program
Document Number: 2011-23152
Type: Rule
Date: 2011-09-12
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is amending its regulations to implement the Expansion of 911 as authorized by section 6107 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill). This amendment will codify the Secretary's authority to make loans in five areas of eligibility to expand or improve 911 access and integrated emergency communications systems in rural areas for the Telecommunications Loan Program.
Information Collection Activity; Comment Request
Document Number: 2011-20621
Type: Notice
Date: 2011-08-15
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 35, as amended), the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), invites comments on this information collection for which RUS intends to request approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Emergency Restoration Plan (ERP)
Document Number: 2011-19661
Type: Rule
Date: 2011-08-04
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is amending the requirements established for Emergency Restoration Plans (ERPs), currently mandated for all borrowers, to include a plan to comply with the eligibility requirements to qualify for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance Grant Program in the event of a declared disaster. This amendment will ensure that RUS borrowers have a plan to maintain their eligibility to receive financial assistance from FEMA in the event they incur eligible costs for disaster related system repair and restoration.
Conditions of Guarantee
Document Number: 2011-18010
Type: Rule
Date: 2011-07-19
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Business-Cooperative Service is amending its regulations for the Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program to ensure the Agency has sufficient right(s) for reimbursement when an Agency guaranteed portion of a loan is sold to a holder. This action is necessary because the rule is not sufficiently clear that the use of loan funds for purposes not approved by the Agency is a reason to find the guarantee unenforceable regardless of whether the guaranteed portion of the loan has been sold to a holder. This action ensures the Agency has sufficient rights for reimbursement when an Agency guaranteed portion of the loan is sold to a holder.
Conditions of Guarantee
Document Number: 2011-18007
Type: Proposed Rule
Date: 2011-07-19
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Business-Cooperative Service is proposing to amend its regulations for the Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program to ensure the Agency has sufficient right(s) for reimbursement when an Agency guaranteed portion of a loan is sold to a holder. This action is necessary because the rule is not sufficiently clear that the use of loan funds for purposes not approved by the Agency is a reason to find the guarantee unenforceable regardless of whether the guaranteed portion of the loan has been sold to a holder. This action ensures the Agency has sufficient rights for reimbursement when an Agency guaranteed portion of the loan is sold to a holder.
Announcement of Grant Application Deadlines and Funding Levels
Document Number: 2011-17458
Type: Notice
Date: 2011-07-12
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture, announces the Delta Health Care Services Grant Program application window for Fiscal Year 2011 funding of $2,994,000 in grant funds to be competitively awarded for the Delta Health Care Services Grant Program. A NOFA was previously published on April 4, 2011, in the Federal Register, at 76 FR 18513 announcing the Delta Health Care Services Grant Program application window and the availability of $3,000,000 in grant funds that were provided in fiscal year 2010, to be competitively awarded for the Delta Health Care Services Grant Program. We have been informed that, due to the serious flooding and devastating tornadoes in the Delta Region, a number of potential applicants could not complete an application in time to meet the application deadline of June 3, 2011 in the notice of funds availability previously published on April 4, 2011, in the Federal Register, at 76 FR 18513. We believe that it is in the best interests of the residents of the Delta Region to open a second application period to enable those potential applicants and others to have a chance to benefit from this grant program.
Household Water Well System Grant Program Announcement of Application Deadlines and Funding
Document Number: 2011-17317
Type: Notice
Date: 2011-07-11
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) announces the availability of $2,173,662 in grant funds to be competitively awarded for the Household Water Well System (HWWS) Grant Program for fiscal year 2011 (FY 2011). RUS will make grants to qualified private non-profit organizations to establish lending programs for homeowners to borrow up to $11,000 to construct or repair household water wells for an existing home. The HWWS Grant Program regulations are contained in 7 CFR part 1776.
Rural Broadband Access Loans and Loan Guarantees Program
Document Number: 2011-16073
Type: Notice
Date: 2011-06-28
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural Utilities Service (RUS) announces the availability of $325,663,157 in loan funds for the Rural Broadband Access Loans and Loan Guarantees Program for fiscal year (FY) 2011. A Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA) was previously published in the Federal Register on March 14, 2011, at 76 FR 13797, prior to the passage of a final appropriations bill identifying a definite funding amount. The maximum amount of a loan under this authority will be $75 million. For all other information and requirements on how applicants can apply for Rural Broadband Access Loans and Loan Guarantees Program funds, please refer to the March 14, 2011, NOSA in the Federal Register and the interim regulation for the program published in the Federal Register at 76 FR 13770.
Turning Point Solar LLC; Notice of Intent To Hold a Public Scoping Meeting and Prepare an Environmental Assessment
Document Number: 2011-15957
Type: Notice
Date: 2011-06-27
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) intends to hold a public scoping meeting and prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) to meet its responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Council on Environmental Quality's regulations for implementing NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), and RUS's Environmental and Policies and Procedures (7 CFR part 1794) in connection with potential impacts related to a proposal by Turning Point Solar LLC. The proposal consists of constructing a 49.9 megawatt (MW) ground-mounted solar photovoltaic generating facility in Noble County, Ohio. Turning Point Solar LLC is requesting that RUS provide a loan or loan guarantee for the proposal.
Standards and Specifications for Timber Products Acceptable for Use by Rural Utilities Service Electric and Telecommunications Borrowers
Document Number: 2011-14567
Type: Rule
Date: 2011-06-24
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is amending its regulations on Electric and Telecommunications Standards and Specifications for Materials, Equipment and Construction, by codifying specifications for wood poles, stubs and anchor logs, wood crossarms (solid and laminated), transmission timbers and pole keys, and for quality control and inspection of timber products. RUS is updating these specifications to conform with revisions to the American Wood Preservers' Association (AWPA) standards and follow agency policy on insurance requirements.
Announcement of Grant Application Deadlines and Funding Levels
Document Number: 2011-14367
Type: Notice
Date: 2011-06-10
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), announces its Public Television Digital Transition Grant Program application window for fiscal year (FY) 2011. The FY 2011 funding for the Public Television Station Digital Transition Grant Program is $4,491,000.
Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) Inviting Applications for the Biorefinery Assistance Program
Document Number: 2011-13850
Type: Notice
Date: 2011-06-06
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Utilities Service
With this notice, the Agency is extending the period of time for acceptance of applications for Fiscal Year 2011 program funds available under the Biorefinery Assistance Program, which provides guaranteed loans for the development and construction of commercial- scale biorefineries or for the retrofitting of existing facilities using eligible technology for the development of advanced biofuels.
Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program
Document Number: 2011-13061
Type: Rule
Date: 2011-05-31
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Housing Service, Rural Utilities Service
This final rule implements two changes in the regulations for the Rural Housing Service (RHS) Section 502 Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program (SFHGLP) by eliminating the lender's published Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) rate for first mortgage loans with no discount points as an option for a maximum interest rate on loans and by allowing the Secretary to seek indemnification from the originating lender if a loss is paid under certain circumstances. This action is taken to achieve savings for the taxpayer, simplify regulations, and promote efficiency in managing the SFHGLP.
Rural Utilities Service Telecommunications Loan and Loan Guarantee Program
Document Number: 2011-13126
Type: Notice
Date: 2011-05-27
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
Rural Development's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and its predecessor, the Rural Electrification Administration, (REA) have played a leading role in helping rural America gain access to advanced telecommunications systems, equipment and services. The List of Materials historically has been a very useful tool in assuring product quality and reliability. However, Rural Development is taking a fundamentally new approach to advancing state-of-the-art telecommunications technologies, consistent with our commitment to high quality rural service and the efficient use of taxpayer dollars.
Announcement of Grant and Loan Application Deadlines and Funding Levels
Document Number: 2011-12817
Type: Notice
Date: 2011-05-24
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) announces its Revolving Fund Program (RFP) application window for Fiscal Year (FY) 2011. In addition to announcing the application window, RUS announces the available funding of $496,000 for RFP competitive grants for the fiscal year. The RFP is authorized under section 306(a)(2)(B) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (Con Act), 7 U.S.C. 1926(a)(2)(B). Under the RFP, qualified private, non-profit organizations receive RFP grant funds to establish a lending program for eligible entities. Eligible entities for the revolving loan fund will be the same entities eligible, under paragraph 1 or 2 of Section 306(a) of the Con Act, 7 U.S.C. 1926(a) or (b), to obtain a loan, loan guarantee, or grant from the RUS Water, Waste Disposal and Wastewater loan and grant programs.
Electric Engineering, Architectural Services, Design Policies and Construction Standards
Document Number: 2011-11910
Type: Proposed Rule
Date: 2011-05-17
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) proposes to amend the contract threshold amounts that require borrowers to use certain prescribed agency contract forms and to amend the contract dollar amounts that require RUS review of contracts prior to the contract being effective. Also, RUS proposes to raise the threshold amounts requiring RUS borrowers to use certain required procurement methods for materials, equipment and contract services that otherwise would require RUS prior approval. The changes in the threshold amounts would reduce the number of contracts reviewed by the RUS.
Advanced Biofuel Payment Program; Correction
Document Number: 2011-10495
Type: Rule
Date: 2011-05-02
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Utilities Service
The Agency published a document in the Federal Register of February 11, 2011, establishing the Advanced Biofuel Payment Program authorized under the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. This document also established an application deadline for applicants to submit their applications for Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 on April 12, 2011. The Agency is extending the application period to May 6, 2011. Applications received after May 6, 2011, will not be considered for FY 2010.
Community Facility Loans
Document Number: 2011-9630
Type: Proposed Rule
Date: 2011-04-22
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Housing Service, Rural Utilities Service, Farm Services Agency
The U.S. Department of Agriculture proposes to amend its regulations to maintain consistency with standard industry contracts and to make minor revisions to streamline processing applications. These revisions are needed to conform with market and industry changes by updating, clarifying, and modifying the regulatory requirements for community facility construction and development. The amendments to the regulation will streamline current processes and provide for faster reviews of alternate construction contract methods (such as Design/ Build and Construction Management) by the Agency's National Office. This rule can also apply to applications under the Rural Business- Cooperative Service Programs.
Rural Energy for America Program
Document Number: 2011-8460
Type: Rule
Date: 2011-04-14
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Business-Cooperative Service (Agency) is establishing an interim rule for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which is authorized under the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. This interim rule modifies the existing grant and guaranteed loan program for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements. In addition, it adds a grant program for feasibility studies for renewable energy systems and a grant program for energy audits and renewable energy development assistance, as provided in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008.
Oglethorpe Power Corporation: Proposed Biomass Power Plant
Document Number: 2011-8779
Type: Notice
Date: 2011-04-13
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
Notice is hereby given that the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to meet its responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and 7 CFR part 1794 related to possible financial assistance to Oglethorpe Power Corporation (Oglethorpe) for the construction of a 100 megawatt (MW) biomass plant and related facilities (Proposal) in Warren County, Georgia. The purpose of the Proposal is to provide a reliable, long-term supply of renewable and sustainable energy at a reasonable cost to meet part of the electric energy needs of Oglethorpe's members. Oglethorpe may request financial assistance in the future from the RUS for the Proposal.
Basin Electric Power Cooperative: Notice of Intent To Hold Public Scoping Meetings and Prepare an Environmental Assessment
Document Number: 2011-8719
Type: Notice
Date: 2011-04-12
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) intends to hold public scoping meetings and prepare an Environmental Assessment with Scoping (EA) to meet its responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and 7 CFR part 1794 in connection with potential impacts related to a proposed project by Basin Electric Power Cooperative (Basin Electric). The proposed Big Bend to Witten Transmission Line Project (proposed action) consists of an approximately 70-mile long 230-kV single-circuit transmission line, a new Western Area Power Administration (Western) substation called Lower Brule Substation, an addition to the existing Witten Substation, and approximately two miles of 230-kV double-circuit transmission line between Big Bend Dam and the new Lower Brule Substation. It is anticipated that some communication facility additions or enhancements may be necessary for the project including radio towers and buildings at Lower Brule Substation, Witten Substation, and one or two intermediate sites. Basin Electric is requesting RUS financial assistance for the proposed action.
Announcement of Grant Application Deadlines and Funding Levels
Document Number: 2011-7829
Type: Notice
Date: 2011-04-04
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture, announces the Delta Health Care Services Grant Program application window. In addition to announcing the application window, RUS announces the availability of $3,000,000 in grant funds to be competitively awarded for the Delta Health Care Services Grant Program.
Information Collection Activity; Comment Request
Document Number: 2011-7344
Type: Notice
Date: 2011-03-29
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
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 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Utilities Programs, invites comments on this information collection for which approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will be requested.
Notice of Request for Revision of a Currently Approved Information Collection
Document Number: 2011-5952
Type: Notice
Date: 2011-03-15
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Housing Service, Rural Utilities Service
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces Rural Development's intention to request a revision for a currently approved information collection in support of loan programs administered by the Rural Housing Service, Business- Cooperative Service, and Rural Utilities Service.
Rural Broadband Access Loans and Loan Guarantees
Document Number: 2011-5615
Type: Rule
Date: 2011-03-14
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service, an agency delivering the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Rural Development Utilities Programs, hereinafter referred to as the Agency, is amending its regulation for the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program (Broadband Loan Program). Since the Broadband Loan Program's inception in 2002, the Agency has faced and continues to face significant challenges in delivering the program due to the following factors: The competitive nature of the broadband market in certain geographic areas; the significant number of companies proposing to offer broadband service that are start-up organizations with limited resources; continually evolving technology; and economic factors such as the higher cost of serving rural communities. In addition, the Office of Inspector General, in a 2005 report, made recommendations to improve program efficiency. For these reasons and in an effort to improve program operation, the Agency published proposed changes to the program's regulation in the Federal Register on May 11, 2007. While the Agency was reviewing public comments and revising the rule, the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill) was enacted and changed the statute under which the program operates. In accordance with the statute and taking into account the public comments received regarding the proposed rule to the extent possible, this interim rule presents the regulations that will govern the program until a final rule is published. The Agency is seeking comments regarding this interim rule to guide its efforts in drafting the final rule for the Broadband Loan Program.
Rural Broadband Access Loans and Loan Guarantees Program
Document Number: 2011-5611
Type: Notice
Date: 2011-03-14
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
This NOSA announces that the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2011 for the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee program (the Broadband Program), subject to the availability of funding. This notice is being issued prior to passage of a final appropriations act to allow potential applicants time to submit proposals and give the Agency time to process applications within the current fiscal year. RUS will publish a subsequent notice identifying the amount received in the final appropriations act, if any. At this time, the agency estimates that approximately $700 million may be available for loans from prior appropriations; however, Congress is presently reviewing budget authority across the Federal government in an attempt to reduce government debt. As a result, expenses incurred in developing applications will be at the applicant's own risk. In addition to announcing the application window, RUS announces the minimum and maximum amounts for broadband loans for the fiscal year. Moreover, the agency is concurrently publishing a interim rule that will revise the current Broadband Program regulations at 7 CFR part 1738, as necessitated by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (the 2008 Farm Bill).
Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) Inviting Applications for the Biorefinery Assistance Program
Document Number: 2011-5575
Type: Notice
Date: 2011-03-11
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Utilities Service
This notice announces the acceptance of applications for funds available under the Biorefinery Assistance Program (the ``Program'') to provide guaranteed loans for the development and construction of commercial-scale biorefineries or for the retrofitting of existing facilities using eligible technology for the development of advanced biofuels. For Fiscal Year 2011, there is only one round of competition. Applications must be received by May 10, 2011 to compete for Fiscal Year 2011 program funds. The Notice announces the availability of approximately $129 million in mandatory budget authority to support guaranteed loans under this Program in Fiscal Year 2011, in addition to any carry-over funds from Fiscal Year 2010. This budget authority represents approximately $463 million in program funds.
Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for Repowering Assistance Payments to Eligible Biorefineries
Document Number: 2011-5574
Type: Notice
Date: 2011-03-11
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Utilities Service
This Notice announces the acceptance of applications for payments to eligible biorefineries to encourage the use of renewable biomass as a replacement fuel source for fossil fuels used to provide process heat or power in the operation of these eligible biorefineries. To be eligible for payments, biorefineries must have been in existence on June 18, 2008. The Notice announces the availability of at least $25 million to make payments to eligible biorefineries in Fiscal Year 2011, in addition to any carry-over funds from Fiscal Year 2010.
Notice of Contract Proposal (NOCP) for Payments to Eligible Advanced Biofuel Producers
Document Number: 2011-5573
Type: Notice
Date: 2011-03-11
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Utilities Service
This Notice announces the acceptance of applications to enter into Contracts to make payments to eligible advanced biofuel producers under the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels to support and ensure an expanding production of advanced biofuels. To be eligible for payments, advanced biofuels must be produced from renewable biomass, excluding corn kernel starch, in a biofuel facility located in a State. The Notice announces the availability of up to $85 million to make payments to advanced biofuel producers for the production of eligible advanced biofuels in Fiscal Year 2011.
Announcement of Grant Application Deadlines and Funding Levels; Correction
Document Number: 2011-5500
Type: Notice
Date: 2011-03-10
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural Utilities Service (RUS) published a document in the Federal Register of March 4, 2011, announcing the availability of $25 million in funding for Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 for the Community Connect Grant Program. The document contained an incorrect website.
Information Collection Activity; Comment Request
Document Number: 2011-5499
Type: Notice
Date: 2011-03-10
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35, as amended), the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) invites comments on this information collection for which the Agency intends to request approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Announcement of Grant Application Deadlines and Funding Levels
Document Number: 2011-4751
Type: Notice
Date: 2011-03-04
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural Utilities Service (RUS) announces the availability of $25 million in funding for Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 for the Community Connect Grant Program. This funding represents carry over balances from prior Appropriations Acts. This notice is being issued prior to passage of a final Appropriations Act for FY 2011, to allow potential applicants time to submit proposals and give the Agency time to process applications within the current fiscal year. RUS will publish a subsequent notice identifying the amount received in the final Appropriations Act, if any. Expenses incurred in developing applications will be at the applicant's risk. For FY 2010, Congress appropriated approximately $17.9 million. In addition, RUS announces the minimum and maximum amounts for Community Connect grants applicable for the fiscal year. The Community Connect Grant Program regulations can be found at 7 CFR part 1739, subpart A.
Announcement of Solicitation of Applications and Grant Application Deadlines
Document Number: 2011-4137
Type: Notice
Date: 2011-02-24
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), announces its Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program application window for Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 subject to the availability of funding. This notice is being issued prior to passage of a final appropriations act to allow potential applicants time to submit proposals and give the Agency time to process applications within the current fiscal year. RUS will publish a subsequent notice identifying the amount received in the final appropriations act, if any. Expenses incurred in developing applications will be at the applicant's risk. For FY 2010, Congress appropriated approximately $30 million. In addition to announcing the application window, RUS announces the minimum and maximum amounts for DLT grants applicable for the fiscal year and a change in scoring necessitated by changes in the Empowerment Zone (EZ), Enterprise Community (EC) and Champion Community (CC) designations. Finally, the Agency notes that the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Pub. L. 110-234) expressly added the category of libraries under Sec. 2333 (c)(1) of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. Sec. 950aaa-2(a)(1)) in order to clearly establish that libraries are eligible to be recipients of DLT Loans and Grants. This confirms the longstanding Agency policy of considering libraries to be eligible entities under the DLT Program. The regulation for the DLT Grant Program can be found at 7 CFR part 1703, subpart E.
Value-Added Producer Grant Program
Document Number: 2011-3036
Type: Rule
Date: 2011-02-23
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Utilities Service
The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (the Act), amends section 231 of the Agricultural Risk Protection Act of 2000, which established the Value-Added Producer Grant Program. This program will be administered by the Rural Business-Cooperative Service. Under the interim rule, grants will be made to help eligible producers of agricultural commodities enter into or expand value-added activities including the development of feasibility studies, business plans, and marketing strategies. The program will also provide working capital for expenses such as implementing an existing viable marketing strategy. The Agency will implement the program to meet the goals and requirements of the Act. The program provides a priority for funding for projects that contribute to opportunities for beginning farmers or ranchers, socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers, and operators of small- and medium- sized family farms and ranches. Further, it creates two reserved funds each of which will include 10 percent of program funds each year to support applications that support opportunities for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers and for proposed projects that develop mid-tier value marketing chains.
Biorefinery Assistance Guaranteed Loans
Document Number: 2011-2473
Type: Rule
Date: 2011-02-14
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Utilities Service
This interim rule establishes a guaranteed loan program for the development and construction of commercial-scale biorefineries and for the retrofitting of existing facilities using eligible technology for the development of advanced biofuels.
Repowering Assistance Payments to Eligible Biorefineries
Document Number: 2011-2480
Type: Rule
Date: 2011-02-11
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Business-Cooperative Service (Agency) is establishing the Repowering Assistance Program authorized under the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. Under this Program, the Agency will make payments to eligible biorefineries to encourage the use of renewable biomass as a replacement fuel source for fossil fuels used to provide process heat or power in the operation of eligible biorefineries.
Advanced Biofuel Payment Program
Document Number: 2011-2476
Type: Rule
Date: 2011-02-11
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Business-Cooperative Service (Agency) is establishing the Advanced Biofuel Payment Program authorized under the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. Under this Program, the Agency will enter into contracts with advanced biofuel producers to pay such producers for the production of eligible advanced biofuels. To be eligible for payments, advanced biofuels must be produced from renewable biomass, excluding corn kernel starch, in a biofuel facility located in a State. In addition, this interim rule establishes new program requirements for applicants to submit applications for Fiscal Year 2010 payments for the Advanced Biofuel Payment Program. These new program requirements supersede the Notice of Contract Proposal (NOCP) for Payments to Eligible Advanced Biofuel Producers in its entirety.
Publication of Depreciation Rates
Document Number: 2011-2652
Type: Notice
Date: 2011-02-08
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), announces the depreciation rates for telecommunications plant for the period ending December 31, 2009.
Information Collection Activity; Comment Request
Document Number: 2011-372
Type: Notice
Date: 2011-01-11
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
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).