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USDA/RBS RIN: 0570-AA77 Publication ID: Fall 2009 
Title: Rural Energy Self-Sufficiency Initiative--Section 9009  
Abstract: The Secretary shall establish a Rural Energy Self-Sufficiency Initiative (grant program) to provide financial assistance for the purpose of enabling eligible rural communities to substantially increase the energy self-sufficiency of the eligible rural communities. Business Programs has the primary role in program implementation and will work in consultation with the Forest Service on Community Wood Energy Program. The Forest Service has operated a program in the past to assist rural school systems in the use of alternative fuels for heating physical plants. Their expertise will assist Rural Development in promulgating a valuable program, well suited to the needs of rural communities. 
Agency: Department of Agriculture(USDA)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Prerule Stage 
Major: Undetermined  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: This is a new grant program authorized by the Farm Bill. The purpose of Section 9009, Rural Energy Self-Sufficiency Initiative, is to provide financial assistance to enable eligible rural communities to substantially increase the energy self-sufficiency.

Summary of the Legal Basis: The Rural Energy Self-Sufficiency Initiative was authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, which made available $5 million annually in discretionary funding through 2012, but no funds have been made available to date.

Alternatives: An alternative would be to publish a proposed Rule without an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The Farm Bill currently does not clearly define eligible rural communities or what eligible entities can apply on behalf of an eligible community. There are no maximum or minimum grant amounts set in this program. Additionally, the Farm Bill does not include any scoring requirements to determine who would receive a grant under the program. There are other program components not defined in the statute. Because of the limited discretionary funding for this program, scoring requirements would need to be determined based on extremely focused parameters. A determination would need to be made as to the size of the average project, particularly when you are considering a community submitting an application to develop and install an integrated renewable energy system. The program will need to clearly define an eligible rural community and what type of applicants would be eligible.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: It is anticipated that there will be costs directly attributable to the contractor, which is assisting with drafting the notice. Other costs would be internal costs associated with the promulgation of the rule. The Agency is confident that the regulations will 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 assistance under this program. Benefits accruing to the publishing of an advance notice would enable the Agency to use the public comments to develop a more focused proposed rule.

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

Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
ANPRM  12/00/2009   
NPRM  07/00/2010   
NPRM Comment Period End  09/00/2010   
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined  Government Levels Affected: Local 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses  Federalism: Undetermined 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Anthony Ashby
Loan Specialist
Department of Agriculture
STOP 3224, 1400 Independence Avenue SW,
Washington, DC 20250
Phone:202 720-0661
Fax:202 720-6003
Email: anthony.ashby@wdc.usda.gov

 
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