[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 16 (Tuesday, January 26, 2010)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 4006-4007]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-1401]

Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.


Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 16 / Tuesday, January 26, 2010 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 4006]]


Rural Utilities Service

7 CFR Part 1730

RIN 0572-ZA00

Emergency Restoration Plan (ERP)

AGENCY: Rural Utilities Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.


SUMMARY: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is proposing to amend the 
requirements established for Emergency Restoration Plans (ERPs), 
currently mandated for all borrowers, to include compliance with the 
requirements established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency 
(FEMA) for public assistance grant eligibility in the event of a 
declared disaster. This amendment will ensure that RUS borrower's 
maintain their eligibility for financial aid from FEMA in the event 
they incur costs for disaster related system repair and restoration by 
including FEMA requirements in their ERPs.

DATES: Written comments must be received by RUS no later than March 29, 

ADDRESSES: Submit comments by either of the following methods: Federal 
eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and, in the lower 
``Search Regulations and Federal Actions'' box, select ``Rural 
Utilities Service'' from the agency dropdown menu, then click on 
``Submit.'' In the Docket ID column, select RUS-09-Electric-0003 to 
submit or view public comments and to view supporting and related 
materials available electronically. 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 ``User Tips'' link.
    Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send your comments 
addressed to Michele L. Brooks, Director, Program Development and 
Regulatory Analysis, USDA-Rural Utilities Service, 1400 Independence 
Avenue, SW., Stop 1522, Room 5159, Washington, DC 20250-1522. Please 
state that your comment refers to Docket No. RUS-09-Agency-0003.
    Other Information: Additional information about Rural Development 
and its programs is available on the Internet at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/index.html.

Service, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Stop 1569, Washington, DC 
20250-1569, telephone (202) 720-1900 or e-mail to 
[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.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

    The program described by this proposed rule is listed in the 
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Programs under number 10.850, 
Rural Electrification Loans and Loan Guarantees. This catalog is 
available on a subscription basis from the Superintendent of Documents, 
the United States Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402-9325 
or at http://www.cfda.gov.

Executive Order 12372

    This proposed rule is excluded from the scope of Executive Order 
12372, Intergovernmental Consultation, which may require consultation 
with State and local officials. See the final rule related notice 
entitled, ``Department Programs and Activities Excluded from Executive 
Order 12372'' (50 FR 47034).

Information Collection and Recordkeeping Requirements

    The information collection burden associated with this rulemaking 
is approved under OMB control number 0572-0140. This proposed rule 
contains no additional information collection or recordkeeping 
requirements under OMB control number 0572-0140 that would require 
approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 

National Environmental Policy Act Certification

    The Agency has determined that this proposed 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.

Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

    It has been determined that the Regulatory Flexibility Act is not 
applicable to this rule since RUS is not required by 5 U.S.C. 551 et 
seq. or any other provision of law to publish a notice of proposed 
rulemaking with respect to the subject matter of this rule.

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 for the private sector. Thus, this 
rule is not subject to the requirements of Sec. Sec.  202 and 205 of 
the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995.

Executive Order 12988

    This proposed rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, 
Civil Justice Reform. The Agency has determined that this proposed rule 
meets the applicable standards in Sec.  3 of the Executive Order.


    The Agency published a final rule on October 12, 2004, at 69 FR 
60541 requiring all borrowers to maintain an Emergency Response Plan 
(ERP) that details how the borrower will restore its system in the 
event of a system-wide outage resulting from a major natural or manmade 
disaster or other causes. This ERP requirement was not entirely new to 
the borrowers, as RUS had recommended similar ``plans'' in the past. 
However, the need for an ERP requirement at that time was catalyzed by 
increased sensitivities relating to homeland security. It has 
subsequently come to the Agency's attention that audits by FEMA 
performed in recent years for FEMA's public assistance grant program 
have shown that our borrowers have not always followed the policies and 
procedures set forth by FEMA for

[[Page 4007]]

disaster related repairs and restoration. FEMA recently created a draft 
document titled ``FEMA Disaster Assistance Fact Sheet 9580.6 (Electric 
Utility Repair (Public and Private Nonprofit)). This document contains 
sections on contracting, conductor replacement, hazard mitigation, and 
repair of collateral damage that outline FEMA requirements in these 
areas. When FEMA denies grant relief there is an adverse impact on the 
financial health of RUS borrowers and increased costs to the rural 
ratepayer. Accordingly, the Agency proposes to amend the ERP regulatory 
requirements to add that the ERP reflect compliance with all 
requirements imposed by FEMA for reimbursement of the cost of repairs 
and restoration of the borrower's electric system incurred as the 
result of a declared disaster.

List of Subjects

    Electric power; Loan program--energy; Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements; Rural areas.

    For reasons set forth in the preamble, the Agency proposes to amend 
7 CFR, Chapter XVII, part 1730 as follows:


    1. The authority citation for part 1730 continues to read as 

    Authority:  7 U.S.C. 901 et seq., 1921 et seq., 6941 et seq.

    2. Amend Sec.  1730.28 by adding a new paragraph (k) to read as 

Sec.  1730.28  Emergency Restoration Plan (ERP).

* * * * *
    (k) The ERP must comply with all requirements imposed by FEMA for 
reimbursement by FEMA of repairs and restoration of electrical systems 
in cases where the service territory falls within a declared disaster 

    Dated: January 15, 2010.
Jonathan Adelstein,
Administrator, Rural Utilities Service.
[FR Doc. 2010-1401 Filed 1-25-10; 8:45 am]