Washington, DC, Jun 05, 2013 -- Acting Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Doug O’Brien today announced publication of an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) to request public comment on expanding renewable energy and project financing programs. USDA will host two Town Hall meetings to discuss the future proposed rulemaking on July 9, 2013 in Washington, D.C. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today’s announcement is one part of the Department’s efforts to strengthen the rural economy.
“At USDA, we understand that utilities are the foundation for rural infrastructure,” O’Brien said. “We will solicit public input which will help bring improved electric service to thousands of rural residents by making it easier for utilities to get financing for essential projects.”
The USDA Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is open to any and all suggestions associated with this notice. Comments received will be used to determine what next steps will be taken to implement a Project Financing Program and to include renewable energy investments.
RUS will host two public meetings on July 9, 2013 at 9:00 am and 1:15 pm. Registration will begin one hour before each meeting and the meetings will take place in the Jefferson Auditorium of the South Building, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW.
USDA has an extensive portfolio of rural infrastructure investments. These investments revitalize rural communities and create sustainable opportunities for wealth, new jobs and increased economic activity in rural America.
Since 2009, USDA has funded 650 rural electric utility projects throughout the nation. More than 8 million rural electric customers benefit from these projects annually.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.
USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as USDA implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act. USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.