[Federal Register: November 12, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 219)] [Rules and Regulations] [Page 66721-66737] From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov] [DOCID:fr12no08-3] ======================================================================= ----------------------------------------------------------------------- DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY 10 CFR Part 611 RIN 1901-AB25 Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program AGENCY: Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Department of Energy (Department or DOE). ACTION: Interim final rule; request for comment. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- SUMMARY: Today's interim final rule establishes the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program authorized by section 136 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, as amended. Section 136 provides for grants and loans to eligible automobile manufacturers and component suppliers for projects that reequip, expand, and establish manufacturing facilities in the United States to produce light-duty vehicles and components for such vehicles, which provide meaningful improvements in fuel economy performance beyond certain specified levels. Section 136 also provides that grants and loans may cover engineering integration costs associated with such projects. This interim final rule establishes applicant eligibility and project eligibility requirements for both the grant and the loan program. Today's interim final rule also establishes the application requirements and the general terms for the loan program. At present, Congress has appropriated funds through the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009, for only the loan program. As such, DOE will be implementing the loan program only at this time, though issuing rules for both the grant and loan programs. DATES: This interim final rule is effective November 12, 2008. Applications for a direct loan will be reviewed by DOE in tranches. To be eligible for the first tranche, applications may be submitted or hand delivered to the Postal Mail address listed in ADDRESSES until December 31, 2008. The deadline for loan applications for subsequent tranches of loans will be the end of every calendar quarter thereafter as funds and available loan authority permit. Comments must be received by DOE no later than December 12, 2008. If you submit information that you believe to be exempt by law from public disclosure, you should submit one complete copy, as well as one copy from which the information claimed to be exempt by law from public disclosure has been deleted. DOE is responsible for the final determination with regard to disclosure or nondisclosure of the information and for treating it accordingly under the DOE Freedom of Information regulations at 10 CFR 1004.11. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by any of the following methods: Federal eRulemaking Portal: redirect. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. E-mail: [email protected]. Postal Mail: Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20585. Hand Delivery/Courier: Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20585. Instructions: All submissions must include the agency name and docket number or Regulatory Information Number (RIN) for this rulemaking. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lachlan Seward, Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20585, 202-586-8146; or Daniel Cohen, Assistant General Counsel for Legislation and Regulatory Law, Office of the General Counsel, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20585, 202-586-2918. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Introduction and Background II. Discussion of Interim Final Rule A. Applicant Eligibility for Grant and Loan Programs--Statutory Criteria B. Applicant Eligibility for Direct Loan Program--Secretarial Determinations C. Project Eligibility for Grant and Loan Programs D. Terms for Direct Loans E. Application Process for Direct Loan Program F. Credit Subsidy Cost for Direct Loans G. Project Costs H. Assessment of Fees for Direct Loan Program I. Assessment of Applications and Program Priorities III. Application Submission IV. Regulatory Review A. Review Under Executive Order 12866 B. Review Under National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 C. Review Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act D. Review Under the Paperwork Reduction Act E. Review Under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 F. Review Under the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 1999 G. Review Under Executive Order 13132 H. Review Under Executive Order 12988 I. Review Under the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 2001 J. Review Under Executive Order 13211 K. Congressional Notification L. Approval by the Office of the Secretary of Energy I. Introduction and Background Section 136 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (``EISA''), enacted on December 19, 2007, Public Law 110-140, authorizes the Secretary of Energy (``Secretary'') to make grants and direct loans to eligible applicants for projects that reequip, expand, or establish manufacturing facilities in the United States to produce qualified advanced technology vehicles, or qualifying components and also for [[Page 66722]] engineering integration costs associated with such projects. On September 30, 2008, President Bush signed into law the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009. (Pub. L. 110-329; ``Continuing Resolution, 2009''). Section 129(a) of the Continuing Resolution, 2009, appropriated $7,500,000,000 for the ``Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program Account'' for the cost of direct loans as authorized by EISA section 136(d) and states that commitments for direct loans using such amount shall not exceed $25,000,000,000 in total loan principal, and $10 million for DOE's administrative expenses for implementing the program. Further, section 129(c) of the Continuing Resolution, 2009, also made several substantive amendments to section 136. Specifically, section 136 was amended to provide: 1. That the Department will pay the full credit subsidy cost of the loans; 2. The Department with limited flexibility from the general rules applicable to the hiring of Federal staff and consultants necessary to administer the program; and 3. That, not later than 60 days after enactment of the Continuing Resolution, 2009, the Secretary shall promulgate an interim final rule establishing regulations that the Secretary deems necessary to administer section 136 and any loans made by the Secretary pursuant thereto. By directing the Department to issue an interim final rule, Congress required the Department to issue a rule without having first issued a proposed rule for public comment. Though under no obligation to accept public comment prior to issuance, the Department received comments at a series of meetings it held with a variety of stakeholders. The comments received at those meetings were considered in the development of this interim final rule. A list of the meetings held and the written comments that were received can be viewed at: Department of Energy - ATVM Loan Program. Through publication of this interim final rule, the Department is also providing a comment period until December 12, 2008. Comments submitted during this period will be reviewed and a final rule, responding to those comments as well as reflecting the experience the Department gains in implementing this interim final rule, will be issued at a later date. Today's interim final rule establishes regulations necessary to implement the loan and grant programs authorized by section 136 of EISA, as amended by the Continuing Resolution, 2009 (hereinafter referred to as ``section 136''). Additionally, concurrent with the release of today's interim final rule, the Department is announcing that applications for the first tranche of loans must be submitted to the Department on or before the effective date of today's interim final rule. The deadline for loan applications for subsequent tranches of loans will be every 90 days thereafter as funds and available loan authority permit.