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USDA/RBS RIN: 0570-AA50 Publication ID: Fall 2003 
Title: ●Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements  
Abstract: Section 9006 of the Farm Bill directs the implementation of a direct and guaranteed loan and grant program for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements for farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses. For fiscal year (FY) 2003, a Notice of Funds Availability was published on April 8 for the grant program. The proposed rule will establish regulations to implement the direct and guaranteed loan and grant program. These regulations will allow for the integration of all program authorities and permit full attention to all of the potential contingencies and issues. 
Agency: Department of Agriculture(USDA)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: First time published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: Undetermined  Unfunded Mandates: No 
EO 13771 Designation: uncollected 
CFR Citation: Not Yet Determined     (To search for a specific CFR, visit the Code of Federal Regulations.)
Legal Authority: 7 USC 8106   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need: Section 9006 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (Act) requires that the Secretary establish a program to "make loans, loan guarantees, and grants to farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses to purchase renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. The Act directs that in funding such projects, USDA direct and guaranteed loans and grant financing is not to exceed 50 percent of the cost of the activity, and grant-only funding is not to exceed 25 percent of the cost of the activity. For 5 years, beginning in FY 2003, the Commodity Credit Corporation is to provide $23 million in budget authority annually for these purposes. Since this is a new program, guidelines need to be established concerning the nature of the program and the delivery model to be used, so that a full set of implementation policies can be developed. The Office of General Counsel has mandated that regulations must be in place to operate the program.

Summary of the Legal Basis: The Act mandates that assistance under section 9006 of the Act begin in FY 2003, with funds from the Commodity Credit Corporation, and continue for 5 fiscal years.

Alternatives: None.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: The proposed action will have no financial impact on the public or the Government. However, it will have a positive impact for farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses; improve the delivery of USDA's energy-oriented assistance; and be in the best interest of the Government and public.

Risks: The only risk is, if the regulation is not done, fiscal year 2004 funding would be lost.

Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  11/00/2003    
NPRM Comment Period End  01/00/2004    
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: No  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
Agency Contact:
Diane Berger
Loan Specialist
Department of Agriculture
Rural Business-Cooperative Service
Room 6867, Room 6868/Stop 3225, 1400 Independence Avenue SW,
Washington, DC 20250
Phone:202 720-2383
Fax:202 720-2213
Email: diane.berger@usda.gov