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Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request

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Start Preamble Start Printed Page 40983 July 13, 2006.

The Department of Agriculture has submitted the following information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. Comments regarding (a) whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of burden including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology should be addressed to: Desk Officer for Agriculture, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), OIRA_Submission@OMB.EOP.GOV or fax (202) 395-5806 and to Departmental Clearance Office, USDA, OCIO, Mail Stop 7602, Washington, DC 20250-7602. Comments regarding these information collections are best assured of having their full effect if received within 30 days of this notification. Copies of the submission(s) may be obtained by calling (202) 720-8681.

An agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless the collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number and the agency informs potential persons who are to respond to the collection of information that such persons are not required to respond to the collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

Rural Utilities Service

Title: 7 CFR 1703, Subparts D, E, F, and G, Distance Learning and Telemedicine Loan and Grant Program.

OMB Control Number: 0572-0096.

Summary of Collection: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is a credit agency of the Department of Agriculture and is authorized by Chapter 1 of subtitle D of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of 1990. The purpose of the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Loan and Grant program is to improve telemedicine services and distance learning services in rural areas through the use of telecommunications, computer networks, and related advanced technologies by students, teachers, medical professionals and rural residents.

Need and Use of the Information: The various forms and narrative statements required are collected from eligible applicants that are public and private, for-profit and not-for-profit rural community facilities, schools, libraries, hospitals, and medical facilities. The purpose of this information is to determine such factors as: Eligibility of the applicant; the specific nature of the proposed project; the purposes for which loan and grant funds will be used; project financial and technical feasibility; and compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

Description of Respondents: Business or other for-profit; not-for-profit institutions; State, local or tribal government.

Number of Respondents: 230.

Frequency of Responses: Recordkeeping; Reporting: On occasion.

Total Burden Hours: 12,057.

Rural Utilities Service

Title: 7 CFR 1751 Subpart B/State Telecommunications Modernization Plan.

OMB Control Number: 0572-0104.

Summary of Collection: The Rural Electrification Loan Restructuring Act (RELRA, Pub. L. 103-129), November 1, 1993, amended the Rural Electrification Act of 1936, 7 U.S.C. 901 et seq. (the RE Act). RELRA required that a State Telecommunications Modernization Plan (Modernization Plan or Plan), meet all the statutory requirements of RELRA (Part 1751, Subpart B). The plan at a minimum must provide for: (1) The elimination of party line service; (2) the availability of telecommunications services for improved business, educational, and medical services; (3) must encourage computer networks and information highways for subscribers in rural areas; (4) must provide for subscribers in rural areas to be able to receive through telephone lines: (a) Conference calling; (b) video images; and (c) data at a rate of 1 million bits of information per second; and, the proper routing of information to subscribers.

Need and Use of the Information: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) telecommunications program staff will review the Modernization Plan and approve the plans, if it complies with the requirements of the regulation. If the proposed Modernization Plan is approved, RUS will notify the developer of the approval. If not, RUS will make specific written comments and suggestions for modifying the proposed Modernization Plan so that it will comply with the requirements of the regulation. If the information is not collected, RUS' authority to make loans under the Rural Electrification Act will be restricted.

Description of Respondents: Business or other for-profit; not-for-profit institutions.

Number of Respondents: 1.

Frequency of Responses: Reporting: On occasion.

Total Burden Hours: 350.

Rural Utilities Service

Title: 7 CFR Part 1721, Extensions of Payments of Principal and Interest.

OMB Control Number: 0572-0123.

Summary of Collection: Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is revising procedures and conditions under which borrowers may request extensions of the payment of principal and interest. RUS electric program provides loans and loan guarantees to borrowers at interest rates and on terms that are more favorable than those generally available from the private sector. As a result of obtaining Federal financing, RUS borrowers receive economic benefits that exceed any direct economic costs associated with complying with (RUS) regulations and requirements. The authority, as amended, for these extensions is contained in Section 12 of the Rural Electrification Act of 1936, and Section 236 of the “Disaster Relief Act of 1970.” Start Printed Page 40984

Need and Use of the Information: The collection of information occurs only when the borrower requests an extension of principal and interest. Eligible purposes include financial hardship energy resource conservation loans, renewable energy project, and contributions-in-aid of construction. The collections are made to provide needed benefits to borrowers while also maintaining the integrity of RUS loans and their repayment of taxpayer's monies.

Description of Respondents: Not-for-profit institutions.

Number of Respondents: 45.

Frequency of Responses: Reporting: On occasion.

Total Burden Hours: 424.

Start Signature

Charlene Parker,

Departmental Information Collection Clearance Officer.

End Signature End Preamble

[FR Doc. E6-11385 Filed 7-18-06; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-15-P