Rural Development

News & Analysis as of

USDA Awards Funds To Promote Development Of Rural Wood-To-Energy Projects—15 States To Benefit

On July 15, 2014, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced grant awards to support the development of wood energy projects. According to the press release, the federal funds will leverage more than $4.5 million in...more

FCC Initiates Rural Broadband Experiments Program: $100 Million to be Disbursed to Winning Bidders

On July 14, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) released its latest Connect America Fund Order, which sets forth the parameters of its planned “rural broadband experiments” program. As detailed below, the...more

FCC Allocates $100 Million for Rural Broadband Experiments –Agency Will Reward Providers That Can Deliver Broadband at Speeds up...

On Friday, July 11, 2014 the FCC adopted an order implementing its planned “Rural Broadband Experiments”—a test-case program for disbursing subsidies to competitive providers that can deploy broadband to unserved areas. Our...more

Federal Appeals Court Upholds New FCC Rules Revamping Rural Telephone Rate Structures and Directing Expansion of Rural Broadband...

In a pair of opinions issued late last week, a federal appeals court in Denver affirmed in its entirety a landmark Federal Communications Commission rulemaking that expands the availability of broadband internet access in...more

USDA Offering Funding For Energy Efficiency Improvements

USDA's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) is providing funding for rural small business owners and farmers to make energy efficiency improvements or to install energy systems and is currently accepting applications for...more

House Passes Electrify Africa Act

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Electrify Africa Act of 2014, approving a plan to bring power to over 50 million Africans and further open the door for U.S. investors in the continent's development and...more

USDA Announces Economic Development Grants to Rural Communities

Applications due June 13 for grants that will promote sustainable economic development - New grants from the United States Department of Agriculture will help promote sustainable economic development in rural...more

FCC Makes Estimated $50 to $100 Million Available to Competitors Deploying Broadband in Rural Areas for the First Time

Competitive providers deploying broadband networks in rural areas will now be eligible to obtain direct subsidy support from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) through an experimental program under the Connect...more

Farm Bill Passage A Boon To Homebuilders

The Farm Bill, which was approved by the Senate on Monday and the House last week, contains a provision that was supported by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) that will enable millions of Americans to maintain...more

Farm Bill Conference Report Contains Significant Funding for Rural Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

On January 27 the leadership of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees released the long-awaited conference report of the 2014 Farm Bill. This five-year reauthorization is estimated to cost $950 billion over ten years...more

Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Releases Updated List of Rural Counties and Census Tracts

The federal Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) recently released its updated list of counties and census tracts that are designated as “rural” based on 2010 U.S. Census data and the Rural Urban Commuting Area Code (RUCA)...more

CFPB adds list of rural and underserved counties for 2011

The CFPB has posted on its website a list of rural and underserved counties for calendar year 2011. The CFPB had already posted lists of such counties for calendar years 2012 and 2013....more

Bi-partisan Infrastructure Bill Introduced in U.S. Senate

On November 14, a bipartisan group of ten U.S. Senators, led by Mark Warner (D-VA) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), introduced legislation to create a new independent Infrastructure Financing Authority (IFA) to issue loans and loan...more

FCC Adopts Rules to Address the “Rural Call Completion Problem”

On Nov. 8, 2013, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released its Rural Call Completion Report and Order adopting rules to address problems with the completion of long-distance calls to rural end user customers, as...more

$3 Million Dollar Strategic Growth Initiative Grant Program For Food And Ag Industry

The Department of Agriculture & Rural Development recently announced a Strategic Growth Initiative grant program to help Michigan's expanding food and agriculture industry. The $3 million dollar grant program, which is a...more

ML Strategies Weekly Energy and Environment Update – Week of August 5, 2013

Just days before entering the five-week August recess, Capitol Hill was abuzz last week with nomination considerations and legislation, including the now-resolved student loan issue. On the energy front, the Senate approved...more

CFPB Publishes 2014 List Of Rural Counties

On July 2, the CFPB published a final list of rural and underserved counties for use in 2014....more

The Farm Bill Moves Through the Senate – ML Strategies Weekly Energy and Environmental Update

Congress came to a halt early last week as members mourned the loss of their colleague Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) who passed away last Monday. Following the Senator’s funeral on Wednesday, the Senate considered the Farm...more

Project Finance and USDA Rural Utilities Service – Request for Comments

On June 5, Acting Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Doug O’Brien announced publication of an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) requesting public comment on expanding renewable energy and project...more

CFPB finalizes mortgage escrow rule amendments and list of “rural” or “underserved counties” and issues videos on mortgage rules

The CFPB has issued final “clarifying and technical” amendments to its final mortgage escrow account rule dealing with the establishment of mandatory escrow accounts on higher-priced mortgage loans (HPML)....more

Capital Thinking Update - April 8, 2013

General Legislative - Tomorrow, April 9, the House will meet at 2:00 pm for legislative business. Legislation Considered Under Suspension of the Rules will include: (1) H.R. 254 – Bonneville Unit Clean Hydropower...more

CSBS Urges CFPB To Adopt Rural Designation Petition Process

On April 2, the CSBS released a letter it sent to encourage the CFPB to adopt an additional procedural mechanism for the CFPB to utilize when determining whether an area should be defined as “rural.” The CSBS explains that...more

CFPB Publishes Preliminary List Of Rural And Underserved Counties For Escrow Rule Implementation

On March 12, the CFPB published a preliminary list of rural and underserved counties for use in implementing certain new mortgage rules, including the rule on escrow account requirements for first-lien higher-priced mortgage...more

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