[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 132 (Monday, July 11, 2011)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 40593-40594]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-17350]



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Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
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Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 132 / Monday, July 11, 2011 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 40593]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

National Institute of Food and Agriculture

7 CFR Part 3430

[0524-AA64]


Competitive and Noncompetitive Non-Formula Federal Assistance 
Programs--Administrative Provisions for the Sun Grant Program

AGENCY: National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is 
adopting as final, without change, an interim rule (published at 75 FR 
70578 on November 18, 2010) that established a set of specific 
administrative requirements for the Sun Grant Program as subpart O to 7 
CFR part 3430, to supplement the Competitive and Noncompetitive Non-
formula Federal Assistance Programs--General Award Administrative 
Provisions for this program.

DATES: This final rule is effective on July 11, 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, Washington, DC 20250-3356; Voice: 202-401-6443; 
Fax: 202-401-4888; E-mail: cbailey@NIFA.usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background and Summary

Authority

    On November 18, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 70,578), 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 7526 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 
(FCEA), Public Law 110-246 (7 U.S.C. 8114), providing authority to the 
Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary) to establish and carry out the Sun 
Grant Program. No program specific comments were received. NIFA will 
adopt the interim rule as a final rule without change.
    Under the Sun Grant Program grants are provided to Sun Grant 
Centers (hereafter, the Center(s)) and a Subcenter (as designated in 
section 7526(b)(1)(A)-(F) of the FCEA) for the purpose of subawarding 
75 percent of USDA-awarded funds through a regional competitive grants 
program administered by the Centers and Subcenter to fund multi-
institutional and multistate research, extension, and education 
programs on technology development and integrated research, extension, 
and education programs on technology implementation, in accordance with 
the purpose and priorities as described in section 7526. The Centers 
and Subcenter will utilize the remaining balance of USDA-awarded funds 
(after using up to 4 percent of the USDA-awarded funds for the 
administrative expenses of carrying out the regional competitive grants 
program) to conduct such programs at the respective Center or the 
Subcenter. Additionally, section 7526(d) of the FCEA requires the 
Centers and Subcenter to jointly develop and submit to the Secretary 
for approval a plan for addressing the bioenergy, biomass, and 
gasification research priorities of USDA and the Department of Energy 
at the State and regional levels. With respect to gasification research 
activities, the Centers and Subcenter are required to coordinate 
planning with land-grant colleges and universities in their respective 
regions that have ongoing research activities in that area. The Centers 
and Subcenter must use the approved plan in making grants and must give 
priority to programs that are consistent with the plan.
    Section 7526(e) of the FCEA also requires the Centers and Subcenter 
to maintain, at the North-Central Center, a Sun Grant Information 
Analysis Center to provide the Centers and Subcenter with analysis and 
data management support.
    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 the Sun Grant Program are to enhance national 
energy security through the development, distribution, and 
implementation of biobased energy technologies; to promote 
diversification in, and the environmental sustainability of, 
agricultural production in the United States through biobased energy 
and product technologies; to promote economic diversification in rural 
areas of the United States through biobased energy and product 
technologies; and to enhance the efficiency of bioenergy and biomass 
research and development programs through improved coordination and 
collaboration among USDA, the Department of Energy, and land-grant 
colleges and universities.

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

[[Page 40594]]

Repayment Program (VMLRP) authorized under section 1415A of the 
National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 
1977 (NARETPA), with implementing regulations at 7 CFR part 3431.
    NIFA organized the regulation as follows: Subparts A through E 
provide administrative provisions for all competitive and 
noncompetitive non-formula Federal assistance awards. 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 O for the 
administrative provisions that are specific to the Federal assistance 
awards made under the Sun Grant Program authority.

II. Administrative Requirements for the Proposed 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), and the SF-425 
Federal Financial Report; 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 of Federal Domestic Assistance 
(CFDA) No. 10.320, Sun Grant Program.

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.

    Accordingly, the interim rule amending 7 CFR part 3430, which was 
published at 75 FR 70578 on November 18, 2010, is adopted as a final 
rule without change.

    Signed at Washington, DC, on July 1, 2011.
Chavonda Jacobs-Young,
Acting Director, National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
[FR Doc. 2011-17350 Filed 7-8-11; 8:45 am]
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