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USDA/RBS RIN: 0570-AA74 Publication ID: Fall 2009 
Title: Rural Business Re-Powering Assistance--Section 9004 
Abstract: The proposed action will encourage biorefineries existing at the time the 2008 Farm Bill became law to replace fossil fuels used to produce heat or power used in their operation by making payments for installation of new systems that use renewable biomass and/or new production of energy from renewable biomass. Payments may be made under section 9004 to any biorefinery that meets the requirements of this section for a period determined by the Secretary. The Secretary shall determine the amount of payments to be made after considering factors addressing fossil fuel offsets and the cost effectiveness of renewable biomass systems. 
Agency: Department of Agriculture(USDA)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: Not Yet Determined (To search for a specific CFR, visit the Code of Federal Regulations.
Legal Authority: PL 110-246 
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need: The new regulations for the program will clarify the application process and definitively provide rules and regulation regarding the payment process. These changes are essential to clarify for verification and measurement of the energy produced which is the basis for eighty percent of payments under this program.

Summary of the Legal Basis: The Repowering Assistance program was authorized by the Food, Conservation, and, Energy Act of 2008, which made available $35,000,000 in mandatory funding for 2009. A Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) was published on June 12, 2009, making $20 million available and $35 million will be available in 2010. The 2008 Farm Bill also authorizes $15,000,000 in discretionary funding to be appropriated for each fiscal year 2009 through 2012. The program provides for the payments to provide incentives to biorefineries to use renewable biomass for heat and or power. The purpose is to reduce the dependence of biofuel producers on fossil fuels and to develop renewable biomass as an alternative energy source. The proposed new regulations are an administrative, rather than legislative, initiative.

Alternatives: Other than issuing a NOFA with the possibility that all funds available for this program would be obligated, there is no alternative to issuing a proposed regulation. The proposed regulation provides an opportunity for public comments on aspects of the program such as level of payments, geographical eligibility, time frame of prospective payments and ownership criteria.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: The only costs, aside from contractor costs, are internal costs associated with the promulgation of the proposed rule. The Agency is confident that the regulations contain sufficient safeguards to mitigate any risk associated with a proposed rule and would be benefit to the agency as well as potential applicants considering applying for payments under this program. Benefits accruing to the publishing from a proposed rule would be attributable to the opportunity of public comments which are believed to improve program payment target levels and shed light on the associated needs and applicants. Publication and refinement of measurement and verification protocols used in making payments is expected as result of comments and experience gained from initiating the program.

Risks: The proposed action does not mitigate risk to the public health or safety or to the environment.

Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  12/00/2009   
NPRM Comment Period End  02/00/2010   
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Frederick Petok
Loan Specialist
Department of Agriculture
Rural Business-Cooperative Service
STOP 3225, 1400 Independence Avenue SW,
Washington, DC 20250-3225
Phone:202 690-0784
Fax:202 720-2213

 
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