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H.R. 6246 (111th): Rural Energy Communities Development Act of 2010


The text of the bill below is as of Sep 29, 2010 (Introduced). The bill was not enacted into law.


I

111th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 6246

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

September 29, 2010

introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Agriculture, and in addition to the Committee on Financial Services, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

A BILL

To provide for loans to rural energy-producing communities in the United States, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Rural Energy Communities Development Act of 2010.

2.

Rural Energy Communities Loan Program

(a)

Authority

The Secretary of Agriculture may make loans pursuant to section 306(a)(1) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 1926), to eligible communities for essential community facilities (as such term is defined in section 3570.53 of title 7, Code of Federal Regulations or any successor regulation to such section), for any purpose described in subsection (c).

(b)

Eligible communities

For purposes of this section, an eligible community—

(1)

is a city, town, or incorporated area that has a population of less than 20,000 individuals; and

(2)

has, during the period from January 1999 through December 2009, experienced net job growth in the energy sector of not less than 20 percent, as determined by the Bureau of the Census or a State agency that collects information on such growth.

(c)

Use of loan funds

An eligible community may use funds provided from a loan under this section for any of the following purposes:

(1)

Essential community facilities, including—

(A)

the conservation, development, use, and control of water;

(B)

the installation or improvement of drainage or waste disposal facilities;

(C)

transportation facilities; and

(D)

affordable housing (as determined by the Secretary).

(2)

Land acquisition for such facilities.

(3)

Municipal staff necessary to carry out projects for such facilities.

(4)

Updates to comprehensive plans or housing plans of the community.

(d)

Application

To be eligible to receive a loan under this section, an eligible community shall submit to the Secretary an application at such time and in such manner as the Secretary shall require that contains, in addition to any other information the Secretary may require, the following information:

(1)

The identification of projects for which loan funds will be used.

(2)

A certification that loan funds will be used only for the purposes described in subsection (c).

(3)

Documentation demonstrating the legal capacity and financial ability of the community to repay the loan. Such documentation shall include—

(A)

evidence that the community has a dedicated source of revenue from any energy tax revenue it receives from the State;

(B)

an estimate of any energy tax revenue the community expects to receive during the 10-year period beginning on the first day of the first fiscal year that begins after the date funds from the loan are made available to the eligible community from the State office, if any, that distributes energy tax revenue to energy-producing communities; and

(C)

documentation of any non-Federal supplemental funds to be made available for essential community facilities to be funded with loan amounts received under this section.

(e)

Priority treatment

In approving applications for loans under this section, the Secretary shall give priority to any applicant acting on behalf of an eligible community, that—

(1)

has submitted to the Secretary completed plans or studies that identify specific infrastructure or capacity needs that will be addressed by projects funded with the loan amounts received under this section; or

(2)

demonstrates that projects funded with loan amounts received under this section will be carried out with regional cooperation with adjacent jurisdictions.

(f)

Loan terms

(1)

Amount

The principal amount of any loan under this section may not exceed the lesser of—

(A)

$20,000,000; or

(B)

80 percent of the energy tax revenue that the applicant expects to receive during the period described in subsection (d)(2)(B).

(2)

Interest Rate

Interest rates on loans under this section shall be subject to the provisions of section 307(a)(4) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 1927(a)(4)) applicable to loans under sections 306(a)(1) and 310B of such Act (7 U.S.C. 1926(a) and 1932).

(3)

Term to maturity

The period for repayment of loans under this section shall not be longer than 15 years.

(g)

Forgiveness

If an applicant is unable to repay the full balance of the loan it receives under this section because circumstances beyond the control of the applicant prevented the applicant from collecting the amount of expected energy tax revenue specified in the application submitted under subsection (c), the Secretary may forgive an amount that equals not more than 50 percent of the remaining balance of such loan.

(h)

Report

Each year, until the loan an eligible community receives under this section is repaid, such community shall submit to the Secretary of Agriculture a report. Each report shall contain a description of the progress made on each project or investment financed with funds received from a loan under this section.

(i)

Appropriations

For costs (as such term is defined under section 502 of the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990 (2 U.S.C. 661a)) of loans under this section, there are authorized to be appropriated an aggregate of $75,000,000 for fiscal year 2011 and 2012.

(j)

Maximum amount of commitments

The Secretary may not make loans under this section or enter into commitments to make such loans, the total amount of which, exceeds $400,000,000.

(k)

Sunset

The Secretary may not make or enter into a commitment to make a loan under this section after September 30, 2012.

3.

Waiver of income maximums for selected USDA rural development programs

(a)

Section 502 loans

For each of fiscal years 2011 through 2016, with respect to an applicant for a direct loan or a guaranteed loan under section 502 of the Housing Act of 1949 (42 U.S.C. 1472), who resides in an eligible community described in section 2(b)—

(1)

the Secretary shall waive any income limitations related to obtaining a loan under section 502 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1472); and

(2)

the requirement related to eligibility of borrowers under section 502(h)(3) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1472(h)(3)) shall not apply.

(b)

Site loans; multi-Family housing loans

For each of fiscal years 2011 through 2016, the following shall apply:

(1)

Section 524

Any organization or tribe receiving a loan under section 524 of the Housing Act of 1949 (42 U.S.C. 1490d) shall waive any income limitations related to the occupancy of any housing built on any building site that is located in an eligible community described in section 2(b) of this Act and that is financed by such loan.

(2)

Section 538

Any organization, State agency, subdivision thereof, Indian tribe, or private entity that receives a loan under section 538 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1490p–2) shall waive any income limitations related to the occupancy of any housing that is located in an eligible community described in section 2(b) of this Act and for which the development costs were funded by such a loan.