Rural Utilities Service – Federal Register Recent Federal Regulation Documents

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Section 306C Water and Waste Disposal (WWD) Loans and Grants
Document Number: 2023-01126
Type: Rule
Date: 2023-02-01
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the Rural Development mission area within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), hereinafter referred to as the Agency or RUS, is issuing a final rule with comment to revise the Section 306C WWD Loans and Grants program regulations to implement changes recommended by Government Accountability Office (GAO) Audit Report GAO 18-309, ``Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Opportunities Exist to Enhance Federal Agency Needs Assessment and Coordination on Tribal Projects'' (Audit Report) issued on May 15, 2018, and available at: https://www.gao.gov/ products/gao-18-309. The Agency is also implementing other changes to clarify terminology and policies, update scoring criteria, and allow the program to run more efficiently.
Rural eConnectivity Program
Document Number: 2023-01621
Type: Rule
Date: 2023-01-30
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), a Rural Development agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), hereinafter referred to as ``RUS'' or ``the Agency'', is issuing a final rule with comment. The intent of the final rule is to make updates to the Rural eConnectivity Program (ReConnect Program) regulation to ensure that requirements are clear, accurate as presented and in compliance with Federal reporting requirements.
Inflation Reduction Act Discussion Sessions
Document Number: 2023-00597
Type: Notice
Date: 2023-01-12
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022 created several new clean energy provisions to be administered by the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the Rural Development (RD) mission area of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Following formal listening sessions, Tribal consultation, and a written comment period in November and December of 2022 regarding these IRA RUS clean energy provisions, RUS will host a series of virtual roundtables in January of 2023 to gain additional individual input from stakeholders regarding the design of IRA sections 22001 and 22004, with the intention of releasing a funding opportunity announcement in the first half of 2023.
Notice of Availability of a Record of Decision for Badger State Solar, LLC, Project
Document Number: 2023-00299
Type: Notice
Date: 2023-01-10
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
Notice is hereby given that the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency within the Department of Agriculture (USDA), has issued a Record of Decision (ROD) to meet its responsibilities in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations for implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA, RUS Environmental Policies and Procedure, and other applicable environmental requirements related to providing financial assistance for Badger State Solar's, LLC proposed Alternating Current solar project (Project) in Wisconsin. The Administrator of RUS has signed the ROD, which was effective upon signing. This ROD concludes RUS environmental review process in accordance with NEPA and RUS, Environmental Policies and Procedures. The ultimate decision as to loan approval depends on the conclusion of the environmental review process plus financial and engineering analyses. Issuance of the ROD will allow these reviews to proceed. The ROD is not a decision on the Badger State Solar's loan application and is not an approval of the expenditure of federal funds.
Implementing Provisions of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018
Document Number: 2022-25788
Type: Rule
Date: 2022-12-06
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) amended several sections of the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 (RE Act) that are carried out by the Electric Program at the USDARural Utilities Service (RUS). Section 6501 extends refinancing authority to RUS for loans made or guaranteed by the Secretary. Section 6503 ended the Cushion of Credit Payment Program. Section 6505 made several changes to the loan guarantee program authorized under section 313A of the RE Act. Section 6507 permits RUS to include provisions for cybersecurity and grid security improvements.
Notice of Solicitation of Applications for the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants for Fiscal Year 2023
Document Number: 2022-26128
Type: Notice
Date: 2022-12-01
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
President Joe Biden has pledged that every American will have access to affordable, reliable, high speed internet. Digital equity devices, skills and affordability that bring the internet to lifeare a critical part of that mission. As part of that work, the Rural Utilities Service (RUS or the Agency), a Rural Development (RD) agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), announce the acceptance of applications under the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023, subject to the availability of funding. This notice is being issued prior to passage of a FY 2023 Appropriations Act in order to allow applicants sufficient time to leverage financing, prepare and submit their applications, and give the Agency time to process applications within FY 2023. Based on FY 2022 appropriated funding, the Agency estimates that approximately $64 million will be available for FY 2023. Successful applications will be selected by the Agency for funding and subsequently awarded to the extent that funding may ultimately be made available through appropriations. All applicants are responsible for any expenses incurred in developing their applications.
Rural Broadband Loans, Loan/Grant Combinations, and Loan Guarantees
Document Number: 2022-25856
Type: Rule
Date: 2022-11-30
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS or Agency), an agency in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Mission area, published an interim rule with comment in the Federal Register on March 12, 2020, to amend its regulation for the Rural Broadband Program, previously referred to as the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program, to implement the Agricultural Act of 2018 (the 2018 Farm Bill). Through this action, RUS is adopting the interim rule as it was published and providing responses to the public comments received.
Electric Program Streamlining and Improvement
Document Number: 2022-25554
Type: Rule
Date: 2022-11-30
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS or Agency), a Rural Development agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is issuing a final rule with comment. The intent of this rule is to revise several regulations to streamline procedures for Electric Program borrowers, including its loan application requirements, approval of work plans and load forecasts, use of approved contracts and system design procedures and reporting requirements.
Publication of Depreciation Rates for Telecommunications Plant
Document Number: 2022-25477
Type: Notice
Date: 2022-11-23
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, 2021.
Notice of Solicitation of Applications for the Strategic Economic and Community Development Program for FY 2023
Document Number: 2022-24133
Type: Notice
Date: 2022-11-07
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Housing Service, Rural Utilities Service
The Under Secretary for Rural Development (RD) is seeking applications for the Strategic Economic and Community Development (SECD) priority, as reauthorized by Section 6401 of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) for projects that support multi-jurisdictional and multi-sectoral strategic community investment plans. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2023, the Agency will implement SECD by reserving loan and/or grant funds from the appropriations of the programs covered by this funding priority. This notice describes the requirements by which the Agency will consider projects eligible for the covered programs' reserved appropriated funds and the information needed to submit an application. This NOSA is being issued prior to passage of a final appropriations act for FY 2023 to allow potential applicants time to submit applications for financial assistance under the covered programs and to give the Agency time to process applications. Once the FY 2023 funding amounts are determined, the Agency will publish them on its website at https://www.rd.usda.gov/ newsroom/notices-solicitation-applications-nosas.
Inflation Reduction Act Listening Session
Document Number: 2022-23519
Type: Notice
Date: 2022-10-28
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBCS) and the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), agencies of the Rural Development (RD) mission areas of the United State Department of Agriculture, announce that they are hosting listening sessions for public input regarding implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022. Specifically, these listening sessions will provide an opportunity for stakeholders and other interested parties to offer their comments and input.
Notice of New Information Collection
Document Number: 2022-23014
Type: Notice
Date: 2022-10-24
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the Rural Utilities Service's (RUS or Agency), an agency within the United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, intention to request a new information collection package for the Broadband Technical Assistance Program (BTA Program). The BTA Program provides financial assistance to technical assistance providers and rural communities to promote the expansion of broadband service into unserved rural areas.
Rural eConnectivity Program
Document Number: 2022-22677
Type: Rule
Date: 2022-10-19
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS or Agency), an agency in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Mission area, published a final rule with comment in the Federal Register on February 26, 2021, to establish the Rural eConnectivity Program (ReConnect Program). The final rule described the eligibility requirements, the application process, the criteria that RUS uses to assess applicants' creditworthiness and outlined the application process. Through this action, RUS is confirming the final rule as it was published and providing responses to the public comments that addressed the broadband speed used to determine eligibility.
Rural eConnectivity Program, Correction
Document Number: 2022-21534
Type: Notice
Date: 2022-10-05
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (the Agency) published a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) in the Federal Register of August 4, 2022, entitled Rural eConnectivity Program (ReConnect Program) to announce that it was accepting a second round of applications for fiscal year 2022 (FY 22) utilizing funding provided under the Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act. In addition, the FOA defined requirements that are determined at the time a funding announcement is published, as outlined in the regulation.
Updates to Servicing Requirements for Business & Industry Guaranteed Loans
Document Number: 2022-20652
Type: Rule
Date: 2022-09-23
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Business Cooperative Service (RBCS or the Agency), a Rural Development (RD) agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is revising their servicing requirements for the Business & Industry (B&I) Guaranteed Program to clarify the current regulation and update certain provisions to align with the OneRD Guarantee Loan Initiative.
Badger State Solar, LLC: Notice of Availability of a Final Environmental Impact Statement
Document Number: 2022-18381
Type: Notice
Date: 2022-08-26
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), has prepared a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) to meet its responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) as amended, RUS's implementing regulations, and other applicable environmental requirements related to providing financial assistance for Badger State Solar, LLC's proposed Alternating Current solar project (Project) in Wisconsin. RUS has included documentation in the FEIS demonstrating RUS has completed its responsibilities under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and its implementing regulations, ``Protection of Historic Properties.'' The FEIS addresses the construction, operation, and maintenance of a 149 megawatt (MW) photovoltaic (PV) alternating current solar energy generating facility on a site in in Jefferson County, Wisconsin described previously in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). It also addresses comments received during the comment period for the DEIS.
Rural eConnectivity Program
Document Number: 2022-16694
Type: Notice
Date: 2022-08-04
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service, a Rural Development agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), hereinafter referred to as ``RUS'' or ``the Agency'' is issuing a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to announce that it is accepting applications for the second funding round in fiscal year 2022 (FY 22) for the Rural eConnectivity Program (the ReConnect Program) utilizing funding provided under the Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act. In addition, this FOA defines requirements that are determined at the time a funding announcement is published, as outlined in the regulation.
Implementation of Telecommunications Provisions of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018
Document Number: 2022-05496
Type: Rule
Date: 2022-03-17
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service, a Rural Development agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), hereinafter referred to as ``RUS'' or ``the Agency,'' published in the Federal Register on September 10, 2021, a final rule with request for comments. This document presents the opportunity for the Agency to provide its responses to the public comments received on the final rule and to confirm the final rule as published.
Announcement of Application Deadlines and Requirements for Section 313A Guarantees for Bonds and Notes Issued for Utility Infrastructure Purposes for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022
Document Number: 2022-05238
Type: Notice
Date: 2022-03-14
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), announces the solicitation of applications under the Guarantees for Bonds and Notes Issued for Utility Infrastructure Purposes Program (the 313A Program) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022. The agency has received $750 million for this purpose in previous years and has a pro-rata share of that amount pursuant to the most recent continuing resolution. The final amount of funding shall be determined by Congressional appropriations. Should additional funding become available this fiscal year, RUS reserves the right to increase the total funds available under this notice. These types of loan guarantees will be made available to qualified applicants to make utility infrastructure loans or to refinance bonds or notes issued for such purposes. This notice is being issued in order to allow applicants sufficient time to leverage financing, prepare and submit their applications, and give the Agency time to process applications within FY 2022. An announcement will be made on the Agency website: https:// www.rd.usda.gov/newsroom/notices-solicitation-applications-no sas regarding any amount received in the FY 2022 appropriations. Successful applications will be selected by the Agency for funding and subsequently awarded. All applicants are responsible for any expenses incurred in developing their applications. The agency welcomes financially feasible proposals which would use funds available under this notice to further finance eligible utilities projects that demonstrably reduce carbon emissions.
Badger State Solar, LLC; Notice of Availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Notice of Public Meeting
Document Number: 2022-04203
Type: Notice
Date: 2022-03-01
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) announces that a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a project proposed by Badger State Solar, LLC is available for public review and comment. RUS is publishing the Draft EIS to inform interested parties and the general public about the project proposal and to invite the public to comment on the scope, Proposed Action, and other issues addressed in the Draft EIS. The Draft EIS was prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended, Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations for implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA, and RUS, Environmental Policies and Procedures and evaluates the potential direct, indirect, and cumulative environmental effects related to providing financial assistance for the Badger State Solar, LLC's Alternating Current solar project (Project). Badger State Solar intends to request financial assistance from RUS for the Proposed Action and information contained in the EIS will serve as a basis for the decision regarding whether to provide the requested financial assistance. RUS has determined that its action regarding the Proposed Action is an undertaking subject to review under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and its implementing regulation, ``Protection of Historic Properties'' and as part of its broad environmental review process, RUS must take into account the effect of the Proposed Action on historic properties. With this notice, RUS invites any affected federal, state, and local agencies, Tribes, and other interested persons to comment on the scope, alternatives, and significant issues to be analyzed in depth in the EIS.
Rural eConnectivity Program; Correction
Document Number: 2022-03716
Type: Notice
Date: 2022-02-22
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) published a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) and solicitation of applications in the Federal Register on October 25, 2021, entitled Rural eConnectivity Program (ReConnect Program), announcing its general policy and application procedures for funding under the ReConnect Program established pursuant to the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (which became law on February 15, 2019) which provides loans, grants, and loan/grant combinations to facilitate broadband deployment in rural areas. The purpose of this notice is to inform the public of changes made to the ReConnect program and to correct the October notice. The two changes are extending the application window until 11:59 a.m.. Eastern on March 9, 2022 and potentially increasing total level of funding.
OneRD Guaranteed Loan Regulation; Corrections
Document Number: 2022-02710
Type: Rule
Date: 2022-02-09
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Housing Service, Rural Utilities Service
On December 10, 2021, Rural Development's Rural Business- Cooperative Service, Rural Housing Service, and Rural Utilities Service, agencies of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), published a final rule with comment for the oneRD Guarantee Loan Program (oneRD). The final rule made necessary revisions to the policy and procedures that strengthened the oversight and management of the growing Community Facilities, Water and Waste Disposal, Business and Industry, and Rural Energy for America guarantee portfolios. The final rule had an omission of information in the preamble and contained errors in the amendatory language. This document corrects the final regulation.
Speedway Solar Project: Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and Hold Public Scoping Meeting on February 2, 2022
Document Number: 2022-00688
Type: Notice
Date: 2022-01-14
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) announces its intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and to hold a virtual public scoping meeting in connection with possible impacts related to a project proposed by Speedway Solar LLC (Speedway Solar). The primary scope of the EIS is to evaluate the environmental impacts of and alternatives to Speedway Solar's application for financial assistance to develop the Speedway Solar Project (Project), a 199-megawatt (MW) solar array using photovoltaic (PV) modules on private, primarily agricultural lands in Shelby County, Indiana. RUS is considering funding this application, thereby making the proposed Project an undertaking subject to review under the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). RUS has determined that a loan for the Project would be a federal action and is, therefore, subject to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review.
Information Collection Activities: Extension of a Currently Approved Information Collection; Comment Request; Settlement of Debt Owed by Electric Borrowers
Document Number: 2021-28541
Type: Notice
Date: 2022-01-05
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Utilities Service (RUS) announces its' intention to request an extension of a currently approved information collection and invites comments on this information collection.
OneRD Guaranteed Loan Regulation
Document Number: 2021-26160
Type: Rule
Date: 2021-12-10
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Housing Service, Rural Utilities Service
Rural Development's Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Housing Service, and Rural Utilities Service, agencies of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), are publishing this final rule for the oneRD Guarantee Loan Program (oneRD). The intent of this rule is to make necessary revisions to the policy and procedures which will strengthen oversight and management of the growing Community Facilities (CF), Water and Waste Disposal (WWD), Business and Industry (B&I), and Rural Energy for America (REAP) guarantee portfolios. This action is part of a continuing effort by the Agency to improve customer service for its lenders and create a more efficient work process for its staff.
Streamlining Electric Program Procedures; Correction
Document Number: 2021-24874
Type: Rule
Date: 2021-11-16
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
On July 9, 2021, Rural Development's Rural Utilities Service referred to as ``the Agency'' or ``Agency'' published a document to streamline its procedures for the Electric Program borrowers, including its loan application requirements, approval of construction work plans, contract bidding procedures, contact approval procedures, system operation and maintenance reviews, long-range engineering plans and system design procedures. That document inadvertently published the incorrect accounting information. This document corrects the final regulations.
Next Era Energy LLC, Notice of Availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Notice of Public Meeting; Correction
Document Number: 2021-24244
Type: Notice
Date: 2021-11-05
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
On October 4, 2021, the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), published a document announcing that a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a project proposed by Next Era Energy Inc (NEER), is available for public review and comment. RUS published the Draft EIS to inform interested parties and the general public about the project proposal and to invite the public to comment on the proposed action addressed in the Draft EIS. Following the publication of the Notice of Availability, the Agency found that a correction due to an error, is necessary. This correction changes the date public comments are due to RUS.
Rural eConnectivity Program
Document Number: 2021-23128
Type: Notice
Date: 2021-10-25
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service, a Rural Development agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), hereinafter referred to as ``RUS'' or ``the Agency'' is issuing a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to announce that it is accepting applications for fiscal year 2022 (FY 22) for the Rural eConnectivity Program (the ReConnect Program). In addition, this FOA defines requirements that are determined at the time a funding announcement is published, as outlined in the regulation. As part of this announcement, the Agency is also informing potential applicants and other interested parties about its intention to seek information on a topic that will help inform future funding announcements. More information is located in Section G of this announcement.
Strategic Economic and Community Development Program
Document Number: 2021-22499
Type: Notice
Date: 2021-10-15
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Housing Service, Rural Utilities Service
The Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development (RD) is seeking applications for the Strategic Economic and Community Development (SECD) priority, as reauthorized by Section 6401of the Agriculture Improvement Act, 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) with modifications, for projects that support multi-jurisdictional and multi-sectoral strategic community investment plans. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2022, the Agency will implement SECD by reserving loan and or grant funds from the appropriations of the programs covered by this funding priority. This notice describes the requirements by which the Agency will consider projects eligible for the covered programs' reserved appropriated funds and the information needed to submit an application.
Standards and Specifications for Timber Products Acceptable for Use by Rural Utilities Service Electric and Telecommunications Borrowers
Document Number: 2021-22255
Type: Rule
Date: 2021-10-14
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), a Rural Development agency of U.S. Department of Agriculture, is issuing a final rule to amend its regulations on Electric and Telecommunications Standards and Specifications for Materials, Equipment and Construction, updates to Bulletin 1728F-700, RUS Specification for Wood Poles, Stubs and Anchor Logs; Bulletin 1728H-701, Specification for Wood Crossarms, Transmission Timbers, and Pole Keys; and Bulletin 1728H-702, Specification for Quality Control and Inspection of Timber Products (Wood Bulletins) to keep RUS standards current with the technology advances and consistent with the industry practice. This final rule incorporates most of the changes from the final rule; request for comments published on June 18, 2019, in the Federal Register. This rule also addresses and takes into consideration public comments received by the Agency regarding regulation changes in the final rule; request for comments on June 18, 2019, as published in the Federal Register and, as a result, incorporates updates and modifications to the final rule.
Badger State Solar, LLC: Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and Hold a Virtual Public Scoping Meeting on October 26, 2021
Document Number: 2021-21579
Type: Notice
Date: 2021-10-05
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) announces its intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and hold a virtual public scoping meeting in connection with possible impacts related to the Badger State Solar, LLC's Alternating Current solar project (Project). The Project consists of a 149-megawatt photovoltaic Alternating Current solar energy generating facility located on approximately 1,750 acres in the Townships of Jefferson and Oakland, in Jefferson County, Wisconsin. RUS is considering funding this application, thereby making the proposed Project an undertaking subject to review under the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). RUS has determined that a loan for the Project would be a federal action and is, therefore, subject to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review.
Next Era Energy LLC, Notice of Availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Notice of Public Meeting
Document Number: 2021-21506
Type: Notice
Date: 2021-10-04
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
Notice is hereby given that the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency within the Department of Agriculture, has prepared and is announcing that a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a project proposed by Next Era Energy Inc (NEER), is available for public review and comment. RUS is publishing the Draft EIS to inform interested parties and the general public about the project proposal and to invite the public to comment on the proposed action addressed in the Draft EIS. The Draft EIS was prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations for implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA and the Rural Utilities Service, Environmental Policies and Procedures and evaluates the potential environmental effects related to providing financial assistance for the NEER, Skeleton Creek Solar and Battery Storage Project, a proposed 250- megawatt (MW) solar array, plus 200-MW/800-megawatt-hour (MWh) storage facility using photovoltaic (PV) modules on private lands in Garfield County. The purpose and need of the proposed Project is to meet the needs of the Western Farmers Electric Cooperative (WFEC). The Project will allow NextEra to provide the additional generation capacity needed by WFEC to serve electrical needs at a reasonable cost to their member cooperatives. RUS has determined that its action regarding the proposed Project is an undertaking subject to review under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and its implementing regulation, ``Protection of Historic Properties'' and as part of its broad environmental review process, RUS must take into account the effect of the proposed project on historic properties. RUS is using its procedures for public involvement under NEPA to meet its responsibilities to solicit and consider the views of the public during Section 106 review. Accordingly, comments submitted in response to this Notice will inform RUS decision-making during Section 106 review. As noted in the Federal Register notice announcing the intent to prepare an EIS on March 15, 2021, RUS invited any interested party wishing to participate directly with the agency as a ``consulting party'' in Section 106 review may submit a written request to the RUS contact provided below. RUS will consider, and provide a timely response to, any and all requests for consulting party status.
Notice of Request for Revision of a Currently Approved Information Collection; Comments Requested
Document Number: 2021-20104
Type: Notice
Date: 2021-09-17
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 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).
Notice of Request for Extension of a Currently Approved Information Collection
Document Number: 2021-19919
Type: Notice
Date: 2021-09-15
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 RBCS, RHS, and RUS', agencies of the USDA Rural Development (RD) mission area, intention to request an extension to a currently approved information collection for the Strategic Economic and Community Development Program.
Implementation of Telecommunications Provisions of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018
Document Number: 2021-19319
Type: Rule
Date: 2021-09-10
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is issuing a final rule with comment to implement statutory provisions of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill). The intent of this rule is to modify existing regulations to include the statutory revisions authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill.
Publication of Depreciation Rates
Document Number: 2021-19018
Type: Notice
Date: 2021-09-03
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, 2020.
Notice of Request for Revision of a Currently Approved Information Collection; Comments Requested.
Document Number: 2021-17101
Type: Notice
Date: 2021-08-11
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 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).
Streamlining Electric Program Procedures
Document Number: 2021-14358
Type: Rule
Date: 2021-07-09
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), a Rural Development agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is revising several regulations to streamline its procedures for Electric Program borrowers, including its loan application requirements, approval of construction work plans, contract bidding procedures, contact approval procedures, system operation and maintenance reviews, long-range engineering plans and system design procedures. Additionally, unnecessary sections in the regulations will be removed.
OneRD Annual Notice of Guarantee Fee Rates, Periodic Retention Fee Rates, Loan Guarantee Percentage and Fee for Issuance of the Loan Note Guarantee Prior to Construction Completion for Fiscal Year 2022
Document Number: 2021-14193
Type: Notice
Date: 2021-07-02
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Housing Service, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBCS), Rural Housing Service (RHS), and the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), agencies of the Rural Development mission area within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), hereinafter collectively referred to as the Agency, offer loan guarantees through four programs: Community Facilities (CF) administered by RHS; Water and Waste Disposal (WWD) administered by the RUS; and Business and Industry (B&I) and Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) administered by the RBCS. This notice provides applicants with the Guarantee Fee rates, Guarantee percent for Guaranteed Loans, the Periodic Retention Fee, and Fee for Issuance of the Loan Note Guarantee Prior to Construction Completion for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022, to be used when applying for guaranteed loans under the aforementioned guaranteed loan types. This notice is being published prior to the passage of a FY 2022 appropriation. Should the fees need to be adjusted after passage of the FY 2022 appropriation bill, the agency will publish a subsequent notice in the Federal Register.
Notice of Request for Revision of a Currently Approved Information Collection
Document Number: 2021-12146
Type: Notice
Date: 2021-06-10
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the Rural Utilities Service's (RUS) intention to request a revision of a currently approved information collection package and invites comments.
Notice of Funds Availability for the Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge (RPIC) for Fiscal Year 2021
Document Number: 2021-10963
Type: Notice
Date: 2021-05-27
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Housing Service, Rural Utilities Service
The Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development (RD) is seeking applications for the Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge (RPIC) from eligible entities to provide technical assistance and training to rural communities for placemaking planning and implementation. This funding opportunity will be administered by the USDA Rural Development Innovation Center and is authorized by the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2021, to provide up to $3 million in competitive cooperative agreement funds. This announcement lists the information needed to submit an application.
Special Servicing of Telecommunications Programs Loans for Financially Distressed Borrowers
Document Number: 2021-06381
Type: Rule
Date: 2021-04-02
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), a Rural Development agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is confirming the final rule published in the Federal Register on February 25, 2020 to outline the general policies for servicing actions associated with financially distressed borrowers from the Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan Program, Rural Broadband Program, Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program, Broadband Initiatives Program, and Rural e- Connectivity Pilot Program. This document also provides the Agency an opportunity to acknowledge the one public comment received on the final rule.
Announcement of Application Deadlines and Requirements for Section 313A Guarantees for Bonds and Notes Issued for Utility Infrastructure Purposes for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021
Document Number: 2021-06675
Type: Notice
Date: 2021-04-01
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), announces the application window and requirements and $750 million in loan funding that is available for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 under the Guarantees for Bonds and Notes Issued for Utility Infrastructure Purposes Program (the 313A Program), authorized under the Rural Electrification Act of 1936, as amended (the RE Act). Successful applications will be selected by the Agency for funding and subsequently awarded. All applicants are responsible for any expenses incurred in developing their applications.
Revolving Fund Program-Water and Environmental Provisions of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018
Document Number: 2021-05418
Type: Rule
Date: 2021-03-17
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is issuing a final rule to implement statutory provisions of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill). The intent of this rule is to modify an existing regulation to include the statutory revision authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill.
NextEra Energy Resources: Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and Hold Public Scoping Meeting
Document Number: 2021-05255
Type: Notice
Date: 2021-03-15
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) announces its intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and hold a virtual public scoping meeting in connection with possible impacts related to the Skeleton Creek Solar and Battery Storage Project (Project) proposed by NextEra Energy Resources (NextEra or Applicant). The Project will consist of a 250-megawatt (MW) solar array, plus 200-MW/800-megawatt- hour (MWh) storage facility using photovoltaic (PV) modules on private lands in Garfield County, Oklahoma. NextEra is seeking federal loan financing from RUS to support construction of the Project. RUS has determined that a loan for the Project would be a federal action and is, therefore, subject to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review, with RUS as the lead federal agency, for preparation of the EIS.
Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA) for the Strategic Economic and Community Development Program for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021; Correction
Document Number: 2021-04440
Type: Notice
Date: 2021-03-04
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Housing Service, Rural Utilities Service
The Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Housing Service, and Rural Utilities Service, agencies that comprise the Rural Development Mission Area within the United States Department of Agriculture, published a notice of solicitation of applications in the Federal Register on January 11, 2021, entitled ``Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA) for the Strategic Economic and Community Development Program for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021.'' The NOSA provides requirements to applicants submitting applications for programs that have been prioritized by the Secretary of Agriculture for Strategic Economic and Community Development funding. Contrary to what was published in the NOSA, this Correction Notice (Correction) is being issued to clarify that Strategic Economic and Community Development priority funding will not be set aside for the Community Connect Grant Program in FY 2021.
Information Collection Activity; Comment Request
Document Number: 2021-02601
Type: Notice
Date: 2021-02-09
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) invites comments on the following information collection for which RUS intends to request approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Notice of Request for Revision of a Currently Approved Information Collection; Comments Requested
Document Number: 2021-02600
Type: Notice
Date: 2021-02-09
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Utilities Service (RUS) invites comments on this information collection for which the RUS intends to request approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Notice of Request for Extension of a Currently Approved Information Collection
Document Number: 2021-00291
Type: Notice
Date: 2021-01-11
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the intention of Rural Utilities Service (RUS) to request an extension to a currently approved information collection for which RUS intends to request approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA) for the Strategic Economic and Community Development Program for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021
Document Number: 2021-00234
Type: Notice
Date: 2021-01-11
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Housing Service, Rural Utilities Service
The Agriculture Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) re-authorized the Strategic Economic and Community Development (SECD) priority with some modifications. Section 6401 of the 2018 Farm Bill enables the Secretary of Agriculture to prioritize projects that support multi-jurisdictional and multi-sectoral strategic community investment plans, recently included in the existing regulation In Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, the Agency implements SECD through reserving funds from covered program's appropriations. The purpose of this notice is to provide requirements to applicants submitting applications for the covered programs' reserved funds and to establish the above mentioned priority.
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