HOMEfires - Vol. 4 No. 2, June 2002
Q: Must the environmental review process be completed before any HOME funds are committed or actions undertaken? What steps must participating jurisdictions take when dealing with third-party partners?
A: Yes, the environmental review process must be completed by PJs before any funds are committed to a HOME-assisted project. No funds may be committed by participating jurisdictions, state recipients, subrecipients or CHDOs for HOME-assisted projects before the completion of the environmental review process, except as authorized by 24 CFR 58.22(b) (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2004/aprqtr/24cfr58.22.htm), 58.34(a) (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2004/aprqtr/24cfr58.34.htm) and 58.35(b) (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2004/aprqtr/24cfr58.35.htm).
The environmental review process includes the following steps:
Activities that are exempt in accordance with 24 CFR 58.34(a)(1-11) (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2004/aprqtr/24cfr58.34.htm) require no environmental review, public notice, or the submission of a Request for Release of Funds and Certification to HUD (or where applicable the state). The Environmental Review Record must simply document that such activities were determined to be exempt. The same applies to activities that are "categorically excluded not subject to 24 CFR 58.5 (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2004/aprqtr/24cfr58.5.htm)" in accordance with 24 CFR 58.35(b) (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2004/aprqtr/24cfr58.35.htm).
Activities that are determined categorical exclusions in accordance with 24 CFR 58.35 (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2004/aprqtr/24cfr58.35.htm) require a Compliance Determination review. If one or more of the federal laws and authorities listed in 24 CFR 58.5 (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2004/aprqtr/24cfr58.5.htm) require additional specialized reviews, a Notice of Intent to request Release of Funds must be published and a Request for Release of Funds and Certification form must be submitted to HUD (or the state, where applicable). HUD (or the state, where applicable) completes the process by executing a signed Authority to Use Grant Funds form. If the Compliance Determination review concludes that no additional reviews are required, no public notice is published and no Request for Release of Funds and Certification form is executed.
Activities that require a full Environmental Assessment, in accordance with 24 CFR 58.36 (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2004/aprqtr/24cfr58.36.htm), need to have a Finding of No Significant Impact Notice and Notice of Intent to Request Release of Funds published. A Request for Release of Funds form must be submitted to HUD (or the state, where applicable). HUD (or the state, where applicable) completes the process by executing a signed Authority to Use Grant Funds form.
Activities that require an Environmental Impact Statement must follow the procedures identified in 24 CFR 58 (http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_04/24cfr58_04.html), Subparts F and G.
When dealing with third-party partners, participating jurisdictions must take steps to assure that its third party partners refrain from undertaking any activities that would have an adverse environmental impact or limit the choice of reasonable alternatives until HUD (or the state, for HOME grants awarded by the state to state recipients) has issued an Authority to Use Grant Funds form (or equivalent letter) for the project. Prior to issuing an Authority to Use Grant Funds form, HUD (or the state) must accept the responsible entity's environmental certification that all Federal environmental laws have been complied with, and all needed environmental reviews and public notices have been successfully completed.
Projects that are started with non-Federal funds (including permanent financing) before an Authority to Use Grant Funds form is executed by HUD (or the state, where applicable) may receive HOME funds only if the following conditions are met:
There are three exceptions to the limitation on actions pending environmental clearance. These are:
Failure to comply with the prohibition against committing funds or taking actions before completion of the environmental review process will result in corrective and remedial actions taken against the participating jurisdiction or state recipient. These actions, found at � 92.551 (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2007/aprqtr/24cfr92.551.htm), include, but are not limited to:
Noncompliance of environmental review requirements can jeopardize a HOME-assisted project.
For more detailed information on the HOME program environmental review process, consult HUD Notice CPD-01-11, Environmental Review and the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, issued July 17, 2001.
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