Why Environmental Review? Avoid or mitigate impacts that may harm residents Avoid litigation that could halt a project on environmental grounds Avoid monitoring findings and/or loss of CDBG financial assistance to your project REQUIRED – by Federal Law & Regulation under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and NEPA related laws
Certifying Officer The Chief Elected Official (CEO) of the jurisdiction assumes responsibility for environmental review CEO must sign the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) and the Request for Release of Funds/Certification CEO accepts the jurisdiction of the Federal Courts as the responsible entity in environmental matters for this certification
Steps in the Environmental Review Process Create the Environmental Review Record Must be Available to Public Determine the Level of Environmental Review Required Complete Environmental Assessment and Compliance with related Laws Publish Required Notices According to Level of Review
Steps in the Environmental Review Process (cont.) DCA issues Release of Funds Letter “Removing Environmental Conditions” Maintain Documentation of Compliance (Including Mitigation) in the Environmental Review Record (ERR)
Process for Environmental Notices Publish Concurrent Notice (FONSI-NOI/RROF FONSI: 15 day local comment period No Earlier then 16 th day, submit public notice (proof of publication) and Request for Release of Funds and Certification (RROF/C) to DCA/OCD. Notice allows for an additional 15 days for public objection of RROF to DCA. This begins when DCA receives the RROF.
Levels of Environmental Review Four levels of review: 24 CFR Part 58.34(a) Exempt 24 CFR Part Categorically Excluded Categorical exclusions SUBJECT to laws and authorities at 24 CFR Part 58.5 Categorical exclusions NOT subject to laws and authorities at 24 CFR Part 58.5 24 CFR Part Environmental Assessment 24 CFR Part Environmental Impact Statement
Exempt Activities Activities which are deemed not to affect the human and/or physical environment (i.e. environmental studies, planning, or administrative activities) No publication requirements Document finding in the environmental review record and proceed with project
Categorically Excluded 2 Classes 58.35(a) – activities SUBJECT TO other federal laws or authorities 58.35(b) – activities NOT SUBJECT TO other federal laws or authorities May Convert to Exempt
Environmental Assessment Environmental Assessment is required if project activities are not determined to be Exempt or Categorically Excluded Most CDBG funded projects require an Environmental Assessment
Environmental Assessment Use current form on DCA Website Cite Authoritative Sources of Info See HUD tool Describe mitigation measure for any identified negative impacts Evaluate all alternatives Certifying Officer must sign FONSI
Floodplain and Wetland Regulatory Changes Prohibition on construction of new structures and facilities in Coastal High Hazard Areas (V Zones) Structure Examples Walled or roofed buildings, including mobile homes and gas or liquid storage tanks Infrastructure Examples Roads, bridges, and utility lines
Floodplain and Wetland Regulatory Changes (cont.) Use of Preliminary Flood Maps and Advisory Base Flood Elevations Provides greater consistency with floodplain management activities across HUD and FEMA programs Require the use of FEMA preliminary flood maps and advisory base flood elevations, where available Other Federal, state, or local data may be used as “best available information” IF FEMA information is unavailable or insufficiently detailed
Floodplain and Wetland Regulatory Changes (cont.) Broadened use of the 5 Step Process for selected actions Omits Steps 2, 3, and 7 of 8 Step Process Rehabilitations subject to 5 Step Process Improvement that is not a substantial improvement Footprint is not significantly increased in floodplain or wetland Does not result in 20 percent increase in number of dwellings units or in average peak number of customers and employees Does not convert a nonresidential to a residential land use
Floodplain and Wetland Regulatory Changes (cont.) Codification of Wetland Policy HUD adopts in regulation the procedures of E.O Primary Source of Data Fish and Wildlife Service-National Wetlands Inventory map Secondary Source of Data National Resource Conservation Service’s National Soil Surveys Any state and local information concerning wetlands
Floodplain and Wetland Regulatory Changes (cont.) Codification of Wetland Policy Cont. Wetlands subject to E.O requires the 8 Step Process Adoption of executive order reviews performed by HUD or another responsible entity May adopt previous floodplain review process performed by another responsible entity or HUD
Floodplain and Wetland Regulatory Changes (cont.) Individual 404 Permits for Wetlands Can use individual Section 404 Permits in lieu of performing the first five steps of the 8 Step Process Only applies to wetlands subject to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act Must submit the USACE Section 404 permit Required to follow Steps 6,7, and 8 Does not apply to USACE process Must complete 8 Step Process if project is in a floodplain and a wetland
Statutory & Regulatory Structure National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and implementing regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality (40 CFR Parts ). HUD Regulations (24 CFR Part 58). NEPA-Related Laws and Authorities (List at 24 CFR 58.5).
Environmental Review Regulations 24 CFR Part 58 HUD’s regulation allows local units of government to perform NEPA responsibilities and assume the responsibilities of HUD. Regulation titled “Environmental Review Procedures for Entities Assuming HUD Environmental Responsibilities” Covered in Chapter 2 of the Recipients’ Manual Compliance is a General condition of all CDBG Awards.
NEPA-Related Laws/Authorities (10) National Historic Preservation Act (1966) Floodplain Management & Wetlands Protection: Executive Orders (1977) Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 Safe Drinking Water Act (1974) Endangered Species Act (1973) Wild & Scenic Rivers Act (1968)
NEPA-Related Laws/Authorities Clean Air Act (1970) Farmland Protection Policy Act (1981) HUD Environmental Criteria & Standards Noise Abatement and Control Near Explosives or Flammable Sites Near Airport Runway Protection Zones Near Toxic Hazards Environmental Justice E.O. (1994) Noise Control Act (1972)
Importance of Early Start Begin environmental review process as soon as possible. Typical times required to complete review range from 1 to 120 days. Must be completed by someone competent to do review
Important Tips Change of scope in project might require additional review. DON’T SPEND A DIME – until your ER is complete and you have received Release of Funds from DCA Exception for Admin and Design Costs When in doubt – contact DCA/CDBG staff!
Do Not Make Choice Limiting Actions! Do not take ANY action until the environmental review compliance is achieved, including property acquisition