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USDA/RBS RIN: 0570-AA76 Publication ID: Fall 2009 
Title: Rural Energy for America Program--Section 9007 
Abstract: The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Program (section 9006 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (FSRIA)) is being replaced with a new program titled the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), section 9007 of The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. The new program will provide grants for energy audits and renewable energy development assistance; and financial assistance for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems. The program will increase energy independence, promote resource conservation, diversify markets for agricultural and forestry products, create jobs, and enhance economic development in rural economies. Eligible entities based on the sub-program of the sub-section include units of State, tribal, or local government; land grant or other institutions of higher education; rural electric cooperatives or public power entities; agricultural producers; rural small businesses; and any similar entity as determined by the Secretary. The bill directs that at least 20 percent of funds be used for grants of up to $20,000 each. The bill merges the energy audit program and the Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements programs. The Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS) intends to publish a proposed rule to implement changes to RD Instruction 4280-B and the Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance grant regulations in RD Instruction 4280-C. The changes will incorporate provisions from the Farm Bill and other initiatives intended to enhance program delivery and Agency oversight. 
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: 7 CFR 4280-B; 7 CFR 4280-D (To search for a specific CFR, visit the Code of Federal Regulations.
Legal Authority: PL 110-246 
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need: Changes are needed to the regulation for the program known as the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), due to the changes required by the 2008 Farm Bill. The program was previously called the Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement program and was created by the 2002 Farm Bill. In addition to the change in the title of the program, several regulatory changes are needed for REAP as outlined above. These changes are required to comply with current statutes. The program was implemented utilizing a notice of funding availability in FY 2009. Permanent regulation is required to implement the program in 2010.

Summary of the Legal Basis: The Rural Energy for America program was authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, which made available $55,000,000 in mandatory funding for 2009, $60,000,000 mandatory funding for 2010, $70,000,000 mandatory funding for 2011 and 2012. The Farm Bill authorized to be appropriated $25,000,000 in discretionary funding for each fiscal year 2009 through 2012. The program provides for grants and guaranteed loan for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements, and grants for feasibility studies and energy audit and renewable energy development assistance. The purpose of the program is to reduce the energy consumption and increase renewable energy production. The regulations are an administrative and a legislative initiative.

Alternatives: There is no alternative to issuing a proposed regulation, which allows the public an opportunity to provide comments on the program requirements. Permanent regulations are required to provide funding in 2010.

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 a 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 implementation and impact.

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

Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  03/00/2010   
NPRM Comment Period End  05/00/2010   
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:
Kelley Oehler
Branch Chief
Department of Agriculture
Rural Business-Cooperative Service
STOP 3225, 1400 Independence Avenue SW.,
Washington, DC 20250-3225
Phone:202 720-6819
Fax:202 720-2213
Email: kelley.oehler@wdc.usda.gov

 
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