From: [log in to unmask] [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Thursday, May 19, 2005 11:57 AM
To: Federal Register WATER documents
Subject: [epa-water] Household Water Well System Grant Program
[Federal Register: May 19, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 96)]
[Rules and Regulations]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Rural Utilities Service
7 CFR Part 1776
Household Water Well System Grant Program
AGENCY: Rural Utilities Service, USDA.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) issues regulations to
establish the Household Water Well System (HWWS) Program. This action
establishes a grant program as authorized by Section 306E of the
Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (CONACT). The HWWS Program
will provide grants to private non-profit organizations, which, in
turn, will use the funds to set up a loan program, making loans to
eligible individuals for household water well systems. Eligible
individuals may use the loans to construct, refurbish, and service
individual household water well systems that they own or will own in
rural areas. Additionally, the rule outlines the process by which
applicants can apply for the program and describes how RUS will
administer the grant program.
DATES: This rule will become effective June 20, 2005.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cheryl Francis, Loan Specialist, Water
Programs Division, Rural Utilities Service, U.S. Department of
Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Room 2239-S, Stop 1570,
Washington, DC 20250-1570. Telephone (202) 720-1937. E-mail:
<A HREF="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]</A>.
Executive Order 12866
This final rule has been determined to be not significant under
Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review. Therefore, it
has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Executive Order 12372
This program is not subject to the requirements of Executive Order
12372, ``Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs,'' as implemented
under USDA's regulations at 7 CFR part 3015.
Executive Order 12988
This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil
Justice Reform. RUS has determined that this rule meets the applicable
standards provided in section 3 of the Executive Order. In accordance
with the Executive Order and the rule: (1) All state and local laws and
regulations that are in conflict with this rule will be preempted; (2)
no retroactive effect will be given to the rule; and (3) administrative
appeal procedures, if any, must be exhausted before litigation against
the Department or its agencies may be initiated in accordance with
section 212(e) of the Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of
1994 (7 U.S.C. 6912).
Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification
It has been determined that the Regulatory Flexibility Act is not
applicable to this rule since the Rural Utilities Service is not
required by 5 U.S.C. 551 et seq. or any other provision of the law to
publish a notice of final rule making with respect to the subject
matter of this rule.
Information Collection and Recordkeeping Requirements
The information collection and recordkeeping requirements contained
in this rule have been cleared under OMB control number 0572-0139 in
accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter
National Environmental Policy Act Certification
The Administrator of RUS has determined that this rule will not
significantly affect the quality of the human environment as defined by
the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.).
Therefore, this action does not require an environmental impact
statement or assessment.
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
The program described by this rule is listed in the Catalog of
Federal Domestic Assistance Programs under number 10.862. This catalog
is available electronically through the free CFDA website on the
Internet at <A HREF="http://www.cfda.gov">http://www.cfda.gov</A>. The
print edition may be
purchased by calling the Superintendent of Documents at 202-512-1800 or
toll free at 866-512-1800, or ordering it online at <A
This rule contains no Federal mandates (under the regulatory
provision of Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995) for
State, local, and tribal governments or the private sector. Thus, this
rule is not subject to the requirements of section 202 and 205 of the
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995.
Executive Order 13132, Federalism
The policies contained in this rule do not have any substantial
direct effect on states, on the relationship between the national
government and the states, or on the distribution of power and
responsibilities among the various levels of government. Nor does this
rule impose substantial direct compliance costs on state and local
governments. Therefore, consultation with states is not required.
On May 13, 2002, the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002
(Farm Bill) was signed into law as Public Law 107-171. Section 6012 of
the Farm Bill amended the CONACT by adding a grant program of which the
proceeds would be used to establish a lending program. Under the
Household Water Well System Program, the Secretary may make grants to
private non-profit organizations to establish a revolving loan program.
Loans may be made to eligible individuals to construct, refurbish, and
service individual household water well systems that they own or will
own in rural areas. The loans will be serviced through the USDA
Centralized Servicing Center to enhance standardized servicing and
minimize related servicing fees.
The CONACT defines an ``eligible individual'' to mean ``an
individual who is a member of a household the members of which have a
combined income (for the most recent 12-month period for which the
information is available) that is not more than 100 percent of the
median nonmetropolitan household income for the State or territory in
which the individual resides, according to the most recent decennial
census of the United States.''
This program is authorized to be appropriated $10,000,000 for each
of the fiscal years (FY) 2003 through 2007. There was no funding
appropriated in FY 2003, but $1,000,000 was appropriated in each fiscal
year 2004 and 2005. The appropriations were authorized by the
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2004, Public Law 108-199 (Jan. 23,
2004; 118 Stat.3); and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005,
Public Law 108-447 (Dec. 8, 2004, 118 Stat. 2809).
To reduce duplicative promulgation of specific rules regarding
grants and loans hereunder, RUS has referenced existing USDA rules to
the extent practicable, including references to specific regulations
and standard forms.
RUS published a notice of inquiry, requesting comments on the grant
program, in the Federal Register on February 10, 2004 (69 FR 6251). It
published regulations for the HWWS Program in a direct final rule on
October 6, 2004 (69 FR 59764). The direct final rule would have been
effective on November 22, 2004. However, since RUS received written
adverse comments by November 5, 2004, the rule was withdrawn. RUS
published a notice of withdrawal in the Federal Register on November
17, 2004 (69 FR 67263). Based on the parallel proposed rule also
published on October 6, 2004 (69 FR 59836), RUS stated that it would
publish this final rule and address the adverse comments made. RUS will
not institute a second comment period on this action.
The adverse comments primarily challenged the program's matching or
cost sharing requirements and the agency's position to not permit in-
kind contributions to count towards satisfying the requirements. The
following paragraphs briefly summarize and respond to the comments
Comment: Either eliminate the requirement that grant applicants
must provide matching funds in order to be considered eligible for
consideration or modify the requirement.
Response: A matching requirement is in the best interests of the
HWWS program. It is an essential support mechanism in establishing the
loan program. A cash match combined with the HWWS grant will make more
funds available to start up the revolving loan fund so that a greater
number of rural residents may benefit from the program. RUS has lowered
the minimum eligibility percentage from 26 percent to 10 percent of the
total project costs. Any applicant that does not offer at least a 10
percent match will be ineligible for the HWWS Program.
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