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Published on Jul 11, 2012
During the House Agriculture Committee markup of the 2012 Farm Bill, Congressman Tim Huelskamp offered an amendment to clarify regulatory language that affects beneficiaries of Rural Utility Service (RUS) loans. A January 2012 U.S. District Court ruling held that any privately-funded projects undertaken by a cooperative with an RUS loan would constitute a "major federal action." Such classification would subject these privately-funded projects to the costly and time-consuming requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Enactment of the judge's ruling would be a major departure from the long-existing practice and standard operating procedure at the USDA of allowing privately-funded projects to proceed without such federal reporting. The amendment passed by voice vote.