Rural Utilities Service 2015 – Federal Register Recent Federal Regulation Documents

Rural Business Development Grant
Document Number: 2015-06489
Type: Rule
Date: 2015-03-25
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Housing Service, Rural Utilities Service
This Interim Final Rule is needed to ensure that the Agency will have a regulation in place to meet the Congressional mandate established in Congress in the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill). This mandate requires the Agency to establish a new program called the Rural Business Development Grant Program which combines the former Rural Business Enterprise Grant and Rural Business Opportunity Grant programs. The Agency has made no substantive changes to either the Rural Business Enterprise Grant or Rural Business Opportunity Grant programs when combining these regulations into the Rural Business Development Grant program. Rural Development, Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS) is establishing a new regulation for the Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) program. The program was established by the 2014 Farm Bill. The RBDG Program will combine the Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) and the Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG) programs. There are no substantive programmatic changes to RBEG and RBOG with this consolidation.
Rural Development Loan Servicing
Document Number: 2015-05435
Type: Rule
Date: 2015-03-13
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Housing Service, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Business-Cooperative Service is amending its regulations for Debt Settlement. This amendment would allow the Rural Business Service's (referred to as Agency throughout the remainder of the text) Administrator to use the statutory authority that has been delegated to him/her in accordance with title 331(b)(4) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (CONACT), but is currently not being used for all of RBS's revolving loan programs, which include: The Intermediary Relending Program (IRP) loans, Rural Development Loan Fund (RDLF) loans, and the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP)loans. This regulation will allow the RBS to be consistent across all of its loan programs; all of RBS's other loan programs have regulations in place to settle debt. This Direct Final Rule is intended to authorize the Agency to use its independent debt settlement authority under CONACT. Nothing in this Direct Final Rule is intended to affect the requirements of the Agency to follow other applicable Federal debt collection law such as the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, as amended. Further nothing in this Direct Final Rule is intended to alter any requirements the Agency must follow when making collection referrals to the Department of Justice or the Treasury Department.
Rural Development Regulations-Update to FmHA References and to Census References
Document Number: 2015-01571
Type: Rule
Date: 2015-02-24
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Housing Service, Rural Utilities Service
Rural Development (RD) is amending its regulations by updating references to the Farmers Home Administration (FmHA) and clarifying and updating references to the census data. These actions will provide consistency in terminology between program regulations. In addition, clarifying and updating references to census data is needed to account for changes to the decennial Census, which, starting with the 2010 decennial Census is no longer reporting income and unemployment data. Additional revisions are being implemented to show the regulations that do not apply to the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and to remove outdated or unnecessary language.
Basin Electric Power Cooperative: Notice of Extension of Public Comment Period for an Environmental Assessment
Document Number: 2015-03385
Type: Notice
Date: 2015-02-19
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is extending the public comment period for an Environmental Assessment (EA) related to a proposed project by Basin Electric Power Cooperative (Basin Electric). The Western Area Power Administration (Western) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) are cooperating agencies in preparation of the EA. 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 switchyard called Lower Brule Switchyard, 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 Switchyard. Communications facilities including a microwave relay tower and associated building will also be constructed at the Lower Brule Switchyard and Witten Substation. A portion of the proposed transmission line crosses Indian trust lands of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, and the agencies have closely cooperated with the Tribe in preparation of the EA. Basin Electric is requesting RUS financial assistance for the proposed action. To ensure that parties interested in the proposed action are provided adequate opportunity for comment, notices are being reissued and the public comment period is being extended for 30 days.
Information Collection Activity; Comment Request
Document Number: 2015-03349
Type: Notice
Date: 2015-02-19
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 RUS intends to request approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Announcement of Grant and Loan Application Deadlines
Document Number: 2015-02702
Type: Notice
Date: 2015-02-12
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) announces its Revolving Fund Program (RFP) application window for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015. 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 may 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)(1) or (b)(2), to obtain a loan, loan guarantee, or grant from the RUS Water, Waste Disposal and Wastewater loan and grant programs. This year administrative discretion points may be awarded for work plans that: Direct loans to the smallest communities with the lowest incomes emphasizing areas where according to the American Community Survey data by census tracts show that at least 20 percent of the population is living in poverty. This emphasis will support Rural Development's goal of providing 20 percent of its funding by 2016 to these areas of need; Direct loans to areas that lack running water, flush toilets, and modern sewage disposal systems, and areas which have open sewers and high rates of disease caused by poor sanitation, in particular, colonias or Substantially Underserved Trust Areas; and Direct loans that emphasize energy and water efficient components to reduce costs and increase sustainability of rural systems. RUS will publish on its Web site at https://www.rurdev.usda.gov/UWP- revolvingfund.html the amount of funding received in the FY2015 Appropriations Act, if any.
Household Water Well System Grant Program Announcement of Application Deadlines and Funding
Document Number: 2015-02680
Type: Notice
Date: 2015-02-10
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) announces its Household Water Well System Grant Program (HWWS) application window for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015. 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 is authorized under 7 U.S.C. 1926e. Regulations may be found at 7 CFR part 1776. Of particular note this year, the RUS will assign administrative discretion points to applications that: 1. Direct loans to rural areas where according to the American Community Survey data by census tracts show that at least 20 percent of the population is living in poverty. This emphasis will support Rural Development's goal of providing 20 percent of its funding by 2016 to these areas of need. 2. Direct loans to areas which lack running water, flush toilets, and modern sewage disposal systems, and areas which have open sewers and high rates of disease caused by poor sanitation, in particular, colonias or Substantially Underserved Trust Areas. 3. Direct loans to areas stricken by drought. RUS will publish on its Web site at https://www.rurdev.usda.gov/UWP- individualwellsystems.htm the amount of funding received in the final FY2015 Appropriations Act. Successful applications will be selected by the Agency for funding and subsequently awarded to the extent that funding may ultimately be made available to the Agency through appropriations.
Basin Electric Power Cooperative: Notice of Availability of an Environmental Assessment
Document Number: 2015-01541
Type: Notice
Date: 2015-01-28
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
Notice is hereby given that the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is issuing an Environmental Assessment (EA) in connection with potential impacts related to the proposed Big Bend to Witten Transmission Line Project by the Basin Electric Power Cooperative (Basin Electric). Basin Electric is requesting RUS financial assistance for the proposed action.
Energy Answers Arecibo Puerto Rico Renewable Energy Project: Notice of Extension of Public Comment Period, Notice of Public Scoping Meeting and Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement
Document Number: 2015-00409
Type: Notice
Date: 2015-01-14
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
On November 28, 2014, Rural Utilities Service (RUS) published a Notice of Intent (NOI) announcing its intent to cancel a Supplemental Final Environmental Impact Statement (SFEIS) and prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) in association with a financial assistance request for a proposal submitted to the Agency by Energy Answers Arecibo, LLC (Energy Answers). RUS is extending the comment period by an additional 30 days from the date of this notice. RUS intends to conduct public scoping, conduct a public scoping meeting, and prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) 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 the Energy Answers proposal. The proposal consists of constructing a waste-to-energy generation and resource recovery facility in the Cambalache Ward of Arecibo, Puerto Rico. RUS is providing notice of the intention to conduct public scoping and prepare an EIS related to the proposal submitted by Energy Answers. RUS is considering funding this application, thereby making the proposal an undertaking subject to review under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), 16 U.S.C. 470(f), and its implementing regulation, ``Protection of Historic Properties'' (36 CFR part 800). Any party wishing to participate directly with RUS as a ``consulting party'' in Section 106 review may submit a written request to the RUS contact provided below. Pursuant to 36 CFR 800.3(f)(3), RUS will consider, and provide a timely response to, any and all requests for consulting party status.