First Priority? The Neglect of Rural Development by Federal Agencies, and How Arkansas Could Respond
Rural areas are given first priority as prospective locations for new federal facilities pursuant to the Rural Development Act (“RDA”), which requires federal agencies to adopt policies that give first priority to rural areas when setting up facilities in new locations. While Congress has demanded this development scheme for the benefit of rural areas, few federal agencies have conformed to it. The term “rural area” is defined under § 343(a) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act, which specifies a rural area is not a city or town that has a population of more than 50,000, or an urbanized area contiguous and adjacent to a city or town of 50,000 or more; therefore, all other areas are rural areas. The primary goals of the RDA are to encourage economic growth in rural areas by introducing federal facilities at lower overhead costs to the government. However, opponents of the RDA argue that the benefits of rural locations do not outweigh the burdens of employing technically skilled workers and other logistical costs. The Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”) allows “persons,” which include municipalities, states, and corporations, a right of review if proper procedures are not followed. Under the APA, similar statutes to the RDA, such as the National Environmental Policy Act, have been enforced. Therefore, agencies that fail to conform to the RDA may be subject to an injunction if a complaint is filed. States that adhere to the RDA will benefit from internal competition and the option for judicial review in the event relocation does not satisfy the RDA’s requirements.
Steve Sheppard. "First Priority? The Neglect of Rural Development by Federal Agencies, and How Arkansas Could Respond" Ark. L. Notes 2004 (2004): 103.
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