[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 117 (Friday, June 17, 2011)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 35318-35319]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-15104]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

National Institute of Food and Agriculture

7 CFR Part 3430

[0524-AA61]


Competitive and Noncompetitive Nonformula Federal Assistance 
Programs--Administrative Provisions for Biomass Research and 
Development Initiative

AGENCY: National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA.

ACTION: Affirmation of interim rule.

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SUMMARY: The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is 
affirming, without change, an interim rule containing a set of specific 
administrative requirements for the Biomass Research and Development 
Initiative (BRDI) to supplement the Competitive and Noncompetitive Non-
formula Federal Assistance Programs--General Award Administrative 
Provisions for this program. The BRDI is authorized under section 9008 
of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (FSRIA), as 
amended by section 9001 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 
2008 (FCEA).

DATES: This final rule is effective on June 17, 2011.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carmela Bailey, National Program 
Leader, Division of Bioenergy, National Institute of Food and 
Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, STOP 3356, 1400 
Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250-2299; Voice: 202-401-
6443; Fax: 202-401-4888; E-mail: cbailey@NIFA.usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background and Summary

Authority

    On June 14, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 113), NIFA published an interim 
rule with a 120-day comment period to provide administrative provisions 
that are specific to the Federal assistance awards made under section 
9008 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (FSRIA), 
Public Law 107-171 (7 U.S.C. 8108), as amended by section 9001 of the 
Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (FCEA), Public Law 110-246, 
providing authority to the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary 
of Energy, to establish and carry out a joint Biomass Research and 
Development Initiative (BRDI) under which competitively awarded grants, 
contracts, and financial assistance are provided to, or entered into 
with, eligible entities to carry out research on and development and 
demonstration of biofuels and biobased products; and the methods, 
practices, and technologies for the production of biofuels and biobased 
products. No program specific comments were received. NIFA will proceed 
with the final rule with only minimal changes. Should the Secretaries 
of USDA and DOE decide to make competitive Federal assistance awards 
under this authority, the rules contained within subpart K apply. 
Activities authorized under BRDI are carried out in consultation with 
the Biomass Research and Development Board, established in section 
9008(c) of FSRIA and the Biomass Research and Development Technical 
Advisory committee established in section 9008(d) of FSRIA. The USDA 
authority to carry out this program has been delegated to NIFA through 
the Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics.

Purpose

    The objectives of BRDI are to develop (a) technologies and 
processes necessary for abundant commercial production of biofuels at 
prices competitive with fossil fuels; (b) high-value biobased products 
(1) To enhance the economic viability of biofuels and power, (2) to 
serve as substitutes for petroleum-based feedstocks and products, and 
(3) to enhance the value of coproducts produced using the technologies 
and processes; and (c) a diversity of economically and environmentally 
sustainable domestic sources of renewable biomass for conversion to 
biofuels, bioenergy, and biobased products.

Organization of 7 CFR Part 3430

    A primary function of NIFA is the fair, effective, and efficient 
administration of Federal assistance programs implementing agricultural 
research, education, and extension programs. As noted above, NIFA has 
been delegated the authority to administer this program and will be 
issuing Federal assistance awards for funding made available for this 
program; and thus, awards made under this authority will be subject to 
the Agency's assistance regulations at 7 CFR part 3430, Competitive and 
Noncompetitive Non-formula Federal Assistance Programs--General Award 
Administrative Provisions. The Agency's development and publication of 
these regulations for its non-formula Federal assistance programs serve 
to enhance its accountability and to standardize procedures across the 
Federal assistance programs it administers while providing transparency 
to the public. NIFA published 7 CFR part 3430 with subparts A through F 
as an interim rule on August 1, 2008 [73 FR 44897-44909] and as a final 
rule on [September 4, 2009] [74 FR 45736-45752]. These regulations 
apply to all Federal assistance programs administered by NIFA except 
for the formula grant programs identified in 7 CFR 3430.1(f), the Small 
Business Innovation Research programs, with implementing regulations at 
7 CFR part 3403, and the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program 
(VMLRP) authorized under section 1415A of the National Agricultural 
Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 (NARETPA).
    NIFA organized the regulation as follows: Subparts A through E 
provide administrative provisions for all competitive and 
noncompetitive non-formula Federal assistance awards.

[[Page 35319]]

Subparts F and thereafter apply to specific NIFA programs.
    NIFA is, to the extent practical, using the following subpart 
template for each program authority: (1) Applicability of regulations, 
(2) purpose, (3) definitions (those in addition to or different from 
Sec.  3430.2), (4) eligibility, (5) project types and priorities, (6) 
funding restrictions (including indirect costs), and (7) matching 
requirements. Subparts F and thereafter contain the above seven 
components in this order. Additional sections may be added for a 
specific program if there are additional requirements or a need for 
additional rules for the program (e.g., additional reporting 
requirements). Through this rulemaking, NIFA is adding subpart K for 
the administrative provisions that are specific to the Federal 
assistance awards made under the BRDI authority.

II. Administrative Requirements for the Rulemaking

Executive Order 12866

    This action 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. This final rule will not create a 
serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or 
planned by another agency; nor will it materially alter the budgetary 
impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs; nor will 
it have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; nor 
will it adversely affect the economy, a sector of the economy, 
productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or 
safety, or State, local, or Tribal governments or communities in a 
material way. Furthermore, it does not raise a novel legal or policy 
issue arising out of legal mandates, the President's priorities or 
principles set forth in the Executive Order.

Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980

    This final rule has been reviewed in accordance with the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended by the Small Business Regulatory 
Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, 5 U.S.C. 601-612. The Department 
concluded that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on 
a substantial number of small entities. The rule does not involve 
regulatory and informational requirements regarding businesses, 
organizations, and governmental jurisdictions subject to regulation.

Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)

    The Department certifies that this final rule has been assessed in 
accordance with the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 
U.S.C. 3501 et seq. (PRA). The Department concludes that this final 
rule does not impose any new information requirements; however, the 
burden estimates will increase for existing approved information 
collections associated with this rule due to additional applicants. 
These estimates will be provided to OMB. In addition to the SF-424 form 
families (i.e., Research and Related and Mandatory), SF-425 Federal 
Financial Report, Financial Status Reports; NIFA has three currently 
approved OMB information collections associated with this rulemaking: 
OMB Information Collection No. 0524-0042, NIFA Current Research 
Information System (CRIS); No. 0524-0041, NIFA Application Review 
Process; and No. 0524-0026, Assurance of Compliance with the Department 
of Agriculture Regulations Assuring Civil Rights Compliance and 
Organizational Information.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

    This final regulation applies to the Federal assistance program 
administered by NIFA under the Catalog for Federal Domestic Assistance 
(CFDA) No.10.312, Biomass Research and Development Initiative.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 and Executive Order 13132

    The Department has reviewed this final rule in accordance with the 
requirements of Executive Order No. 13132 and the Unfunded Mandates 
Reform Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq., and has found no potential 
or substantial direct effects on the 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. 
As there is no Federal mandate contained herein that could result in 
increased expenditures by State, local, or Tribal governments, or by 
the private sector, the Department has not prepared a budgetary impact 
statement.

Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal 
Governments

    The Department has reviewed this final rule in accordance with 
Executive Order 13175, and has determined that it does not have 
``Tribal implications.'' The final rule does not ``have substantial 
direct effects on one or more Indian Tribes, on the relationship 
between the Federal Government and Indian Tribes, or on the 
distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal 
Government and Indian Tribes.''

Clarity of This Regulation

    Executive Order 12866 and the President's Memorandum of June 1, 
1998, require each agency to write all rules in plain language. The 
Department invites comments on how to make this final rule easier to 
understand.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 3430

    Administrative practice and procedure, Agricultural research, 
Education, Extension, Federal assistance.

PART 3430--COMPETITIVE AND NONCOMPETITIVE NON-FORMULA FEDERAL 
ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS--GENERAL AWARD ADMINISTRATIVE PROVSIONS

    Accordingly, the interim rule amending 7 CFR part 3430 which was 
published at 75 FR 33497 on June 14, 2010, is adopted as a final rule 
without change.

    Signed at Washington, DC, on June 10, 2011.
Ralph Otto,
Deputy Director, Food and Community Resources, National Institute of 
Food and Agriculture.
[FR Doc. 2011-15104 Filed 6-16-11; 8:45 am]
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