[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 223 (Tuesday, November 18, 2008)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 68293-68295]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-26769]



Rural Utilities Service

7 CFR Part 1776

RIN 0572-AC12

Amending the Household Water Well System Grant Program 

AGENCY: Rural Utilities Service, USDA.

ACTION: Direct final rule.


SUMMARY: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency delivering the 
United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural Development 
Utilities Programs, hereinafter referred to as Rural Development or the 
Agency, is amending its regulations to administer the Household Water 
Well System Grant Program. This action implements provisions of the 
2008 Farm Bill for limits on loans that nonprofit organizations may 
make to homeowners for private well systems. The 2008 Farm Bill raises 
the loan limit to $11,000 from $8,000. The intended effect is to make 
part 1776 current with statutory authority. The Agency will also amend 
the regulation to enable existing grant recipients to amend their grant 
agreements for the new $11,000 loan limit. No adverse comments are 

DATES: This rule will become effective January 2, 2009 unless the 
Agency receives written adverse comments or a written notice of intent 
to submit adverse comments on or before December 18, 2008. If we 
receive adverse comments or notices, the Agency will publish a timely 
document in the Federal Register withdrawing the rule. Comments 
received will be considered under the proposed rule published in this 
edition of the Federal Register in the proposed rule section. A second 
public comment period will not be held. Written comments must be 
received by the Agency or carry a postmark or equivalent no later than 
December 18, 2008.

ADDRESSES: Submit adverse comments or notice of intent to submit 
adverse comments by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. In the ``Search Documents'' box, enter RUS-08-
WATER-03, check the box under the Search box labeled ``Select to find 
documents accepting comments or submissions,'' and click on the GO>> 
key. To submit a comment, choose ``Send a comment or submission,'' 
under the Docket Title. In order to submit your comment, the 
information requested on the ``Public Comment and Submission Form,'' 
must be completed. (If you click on the hyperlink of the docket when 
the search returns it, you will see the docket details. Click on the 
yellow balloon to receive the ``Public Comment and Submission Form.'') 
Information on using Regulations.gov, including instructions for 
accessing documents, submitting comments, and viewing the docket after 
the close of the comment period, is available through the site's ``How 
to Use this Site'' link.
     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send your comment 
addressed to Michele Brooks, Director, Program Development and 
Regulatory Analysis, USDA Rural Development, STOP 1522, Room 5159, 1400 
Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250-1522. Please state that 
your comment refers to Docket No. RUS 08-WATER-03.
    Other Information: Additional information about Rural Development 
and its programs is available at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/index.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cheryl Francis, Loan Specialist, Water 
and Environmental Programs, USDA Rural Development, 1400 Independence 
Avenue, STOP 1570, Room 2229 South Building, Washington, DC 20250-1570. 
Telephone: (202) 720-9589; Fax: (202) 690-0649; e-mail: 
[email protected].


Executive Order 12866

    This rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of 
Executive Order 12866 and, therefore has not been reviewed by the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Executive Order 12372

    The program is not subject to the provisions of Executive Order 
12372, ``Intergovernmental Consultation,'' 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. The Agency has determined that this rule meets the 
applicable standards provided in section 3 of the Executive Order. In 
addition, all state and local laws and regulations that are in conflict 
with this rule will be preempted; no retroactive effect will be given 
to the rule; and in accordance with section 212(e) of the Department of 
Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994, [7 U.S.C. 6912(e)], 
administrative appeal procedures, if any, must be exhausted before 
litigation against the Department or its agencies may be initiated.

[[Page 68294]]

Executive Order 13132, Federalism

    This rule will 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. Therefore, consultation with states is not required.

Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

    The Agency certifies that this rule will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, as defined 
in the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 605(b); therefore, no 
further analysis is required. The amendments reflect only statutory 
changes that Congress has mandated and over which the Agency has no 
discretion. They also involve minimal procedural matters on other 
agreements already negotiated.

Information Collection and Recordkeeping Requirements

    This rule contains no new reporting or recordkeeping burdens under 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number 0572-0139 that 
would require approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 
U.S.C. Chapter 35).

National Environmental Policy Act Certification

    This final rule has been examined under Agency environmental 
regulations at 7 CFR part 1794. The Administrator has determined that 
this rule is not a major Federal action significantly affecting the 
environment. Therefore, in accordance with the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), an Environmental Impact 
Statement or Assessment is not required.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

    The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number assigned 
to the water and waste loan and grant program is 10.862, Water and 
Waste Disposal Systems for Rural Communities. The Catalog is available 
on the Internet and the General Services Administration's (GSA) free 
CFDA Web site at http://www.cfda.gov. The CFDA Web site also contains a 
PDF file version of the Catalog that, when printed, has the same layout 
as the printed document that the Government Printing Office (GPO) 
provides. GPO prints and sells the CFDA to interested buyers. For 
information about purchasing the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance 
from GPO, call the Superintendent of Documents at 202-512-1800 or toll 
free at 866-512-1800, or access GPO's on-line bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Unfunded Mandates

    This rule contains no Federal mandates (under the regulatory 
provisions 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 sections 202 and 205 of the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995.

E-Government Act Compliance

    The Agency is committed to complying with the E-Government Act, to 
promote the use of the Internet and other information technologies to 
provide increased opportunities for citizen access to Government 
information and services, and for other purposes.


    The Household Water Well System (HWWS) Grant Program is authorized 
by Section 306E of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act 
(CONACT) (7 U.S.C. 1926e), as amended. The program provides grants to 
qualified private non-profit organizations which help homeowners 
finance the cost of private wells. As the grant recipient, a non-profit 
organization establishes a revolving loan fund lending program to 
provide water well loans up to $8,000 to individuals who own or will 
own private wells in rural areas. The individual loan recipients may 
use the funds to construct, refurbish, and service their household well 
systems for an existing home.
    The Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, Public Law 110-246 
(Farm Bill) amends Section 306E of the CONACT (7 U.S.C. 1926e) to raise 
the limit for loans made to individual homeowners to $11,000. The loan 
limit increase will allow homeowners to obtain financial assistance for 
well repairs and improvements in areas where the construction costs for 
wells routinely exceed $8,000.
    Regulation 7 CFR 1776 is used to administer grants made to private 
non-profit organizations under the HWWS program. There will be two 
amendments to the regulation. Section 1776.10 will be amended to insert 
language providing for an amendment to a grant agreement. This 
amendment will provide for a process to allow current grant recipients 
to increase their loan limit to $11,000. Also, Section 1776.15, section 
(a)(3) will be amended to replace $8,000 with $11,000, the maximum 
amount grantees may make to homeowners.
    The Section 1776.10 amendment will provide a process for the Agency 
to approve an increase in the loan limit for existing grant agreements. 
The Section 1776.15(a)(3) amendment to the household water well 
regulation will bring the regulation into conformance with the Farm 
Bill's provision. The increase in the loan limit will allow for the 
grantees to meet the expected costs in providing the needed homeowner 
well system improvements. The proposed amendments will have no 
financial impact on the public or the Agency. These amendments are not 
published for proposed rulemaking because they merely reflect changes 
in statutory authority enacted by the Farm Bill of 2008 and make only 
minor technical corrections to the regulations, which do not involve 
matters of agency discretion. Notice and public comment, therefore, are 
impractical, unnecessary, and contrary to the public interest.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 1776

    Agriculture, Community development, Community facilities, Credit, 
Grant programs--housing and community development, Nonprofit 
organizations, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Rural areas, 
Waste treatment and disposal, Water pollution control, Water resources, 
Water supply, Watersheds.

For reasons set forth in the preamble, chapter XVII of title 7 of the 
Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:


1. The authority citation for part 1776 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 1926e.

Subpart B--HWWS Grants

2. Section 1776.10 is revised to read as follows:

Sec.  1776.10  Grant agreement.

    (a) RUS and the grantee will enter into an agreement setting forth 
the terms and conditions governing a particular HWWS grant award. RUS 
will furnish the form of grant agreement. No funds awarded under this 
part shall be disbursed to the grant recipient before the grant 
agreement is binding and RUS has received a fully executed counterpart 
of the grant agreement.
    (b) The grantee or RUS may initiate an amendment or modification to 
the grant agreement to provide for a loan limit up to $11,000. No 
change in the grant agreement requested by the grant

[[Page 68295]]

recipient will be effective unless approved in writing by RUS.

Subpart C--HWWS Loans

3. In Sec.  1776.15, revise paragraph (a)(3) to read as follows:

Sec.  1776.15  Terms of loans.

    (a) * * *
    (3) Shall not exceed $11,000 for each household water well system.
* * * * *

    Dated: November 10, 2008.
James M. Andrew,
Administrator, Rural Utilities Service.
[FR Doc. E8-26769 Filed 11-17-08; 8:45 am]