U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Dec 07, 2023
(a) The environmental review process consists of all the actions that a responsible entity must take to determine compliance with this part. The environmental review process includes all the compliance actions needed for other activities and projects that are not assisted by HUD but are aggregated by the responsible entity in accordance with § 58.32.
(b) The environmental review process should begin as soon as a recipient determines the projected use of HUD assistance.
(a) A responsible entity must group together and evaluate as a single project all individual activities which are related either on a geographical or functional basis, or are logical parts of a composite of contemplated actions.
(b) In deciding the most appropriate basis for aggregation when evaluating activities under more than one program, the responsible entity may choose: functional aggregation when a specific type of activity (e.g., water improvements) is to take place in several separate locales or jurisdictions; geographic aggregation when a mix of dissimilar but related activities is to be concentrated in a fairly specific project area (e.g., a combination of water, sewer and street improvements and economic development activities); or a combination of aggregation approaches, which, for various project locations, considers the impacts arising from each functional activity and its interrelationship with other activities.
(c) The purpose of project aggregation is to group together related activities so that the responsible entity can:
(1) Address adequately and analyze, in a single environmental review, the separate and combined impacts of activities that are similar, connected and closely related, or that are dependent upon other activities and actions. (See 40 CFR 1508.25(a)).
(2) Consider reasonable alternative courses of action.
(3) Schedule the activities to resolve conflicts or mitigate the individual, combined and/or cumulative effects.
(4) Prescribe mitigation measures and safeguards including project alternatives and modifications to individual activities.
(d) Multi-year project aggregation—(1) Release of funds. When a recipient's planning and program development provide for activities to be implemented over two or more years, the responsible entity's environmental review should consider the relationship among all component activities of the multi-year project regardless of the source of funds and address and evaluate their cumulative environmental effects. The estimated range of the aggregated activities and the estimated cost of the total project must be listed and described by the responsible entity in the environmental review and included in the RROF. The release of funds will cover the entire project period.
(2) When one or more of the conditions described in § 58.47 exists, the recipient or other responsible entity must re-evaluate the environmental review.
(a) In the cases of emergency, disaster or imminent threat to health and safety which warrant the taking of an action with significant environmental impact, the provisions of 40 CFR 1506.11 shall apply.
(b) If funds are needed on an emergency basis and adherence to separate comment periods would prevent the giving of assistance during a Presidentially declared disaster, or during a local emergency that has been declared by the chief elected official of the responsible entity who has proclaimed that there is an immediate need for public action to protect the public safety, the combined Notice of FONSI and Notice of Intent to Request Release of Funds (NOI/RROF) may be disseminated and/or published simultaneously with the submission of the RROF. The combined Notice of FONSI and NOI/RROF shall state that the funds are needed on an emergency basis due to a declared disaster and that the comment periods have been combined. The Notice shall also invite commenters to submit their comments to both HUD and the responsible entity issuing the notice to ensure that these comments will receive full consideration.
(a) Except for the applicable requirements of § 58.6, the responsible entity does not have to comply with the requirements of this part or undertake any environmental review, consultation or other action under NEPA and the other provisions of law or authorities cited in § 58.5 for the activities exempt by this section or projects consisting solely of the following exempt activities:
(1) Environmental and other studies, resource identification and the development of plans and strategies;
(2) Information and financial services;
(3) Administrative and management activities;
(4) Public services that will not have a physical impact or result in any physical changes, including but not limited to services concerned with employment, crime prevention, child care, health, drug abuse, education, counseling, energy conservation and welfare or recreational needs;
(5) Inspections and testing of properties for hazards or defects;
(6) Purchase of insurance;
(7) Purchase of tools;
(8) Engineering or design costs;
(9) Technical assistance and training;
(10) Assistance for temporary or permanent improvements that do not alter environmental conditions and are limited to protection, repair, or restoration activities necessary only to control or arrest the effects from disasters or imminent threats to public safety including those resulting from physical deterioration;
(11) Payment of principal and interest on loans made or obligations guaranteed by HUD;
(12) Any of the categorical exclusions listed in § 58.35(a) provided that there are no circumstances which require compliance with any other Federal laws and authorities cited in § 58.5.
(b) A recipient does not have to submit an RROF and certification, and no further approval from HUD or the State will be needed by the recipient for the drawdown of funds to carry out exempt activities and projects. However, the responsible entity must document in writing its determination that each activity or project is exempt and meets the conditions specified for such exemption under this section.
Categorical exclusion refers to a category of activities for which no environmental impact statement or environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact under NEPA is required, except in extraordinary circumstances (see § 58.2(a)(3)) in which a normally excluded activity may have a significant impact. Compliance with the other applicable Federal environmental laws and authorities listed in § 58.5 is required for any categorical exclusion listed in paragraph (a) of this section.
(a) Categorical exclusions subject to § 58.5. The following activities are categorically excluded under NEPA, but may be subject to review under authorities listed in § 58.5:
(1) Acquisition, repair, improvement, reconstruction, or rehabilitation of public facilities and improvements (other than buildings) when the facilities and improvements are in place and will be retained in the same use without change in size or capacity of more than 20 percent (e.g., replacement of water or sewer lines, reconstruction of curbs and sidewalks, repaving of streets).
(2) Special projects directed to the removal of material and architectural barriers that restrict the mobility of and accessibility to elderly and handicapped persons.
(3) Rehabilitation of buildings and improvements when the following conditions are met:
(i) In the case of a building for residential use (with one to four units), the density is not increased beyond four units, and the land use is not changed;
(ii) In the case of multifamily residential buildings:
(A) Unit density is not changed more than 20 percent;
(B) The project does not involve changes in land use from residential to non-residential; and
(C) The estimated cost of rehabilitation is less than 75 percent of the total estimated cost of replacement after rehabilitation.
(iii) In the case of non-residential structures, including commercial, industrial, and public buildings:
(A) The facilities and improvements are in place and will not be changed in size or capacity by more than 20 percent; and
(B) The activity does not involve a change in land use, such as from non-residential to residential, commercial to industrial, or from one industrial use to another.
(4)(i) An individual action on up to four dwelling units where there is a maximum of four units on any one site. The units can be four one-unit buildings or one four-unit building or any combination in between; or
(ii) An individual action on a project of five or more housing units developed on scattered sites when the sites are more than 2,000 feet apart and there are not more than four housing units on any one site.
(iii) Paragraphs (a)(4)(i) and (ii) of this section do not apply to rehabilitation of a building for residential use (with one to four units) (see paragraph (a)(3)(i) of this section).
(5) Acquisition (including leasing) or disposition of, or equity loans on an existing structure, or acquisition (including leasing) of vacant land provided that the structure or land acquired, financed, or disposed of will be retained for the same use.
(6) Combinations of the above activities.
(b) Categorical exclusions not subject to § 58.5. The Department has determined that the following categorically excluded activities would not alter any conditions that would require a review or compliance determination under the Federal laws and authorities cited in § 58.5. When the following kinds of activities are undertaken, the responsible entity does not have to publish a NOI/RROF or execute a certification and the recipient does not have to submit a RROF to HUD (or the State) except in the circumstances described in paragraph (c) of this section. Following the award of the assistance, no further approval from HUD or the State will be needed with respect to environmental requirements, except where paragraph (c) of this section applies. The recipient remains responsible for carrying out any applicable requirements under § 58.6.
(1) Tenant-based rental assistance;
(2) Supportive services including, but not limited to, health care, housing services, permanent housing placement, day care, nutritional services, short-term payments for rent/mortgage/utility costs, and assistance in gaining access to local, State, and Federal government benefits and services;
(3) Operating costs including maintenance, security, operation, utilities, furnishings, equipment, supplies, staff training and recruitment and other incidental costs;
(4) Economic development activities, including but not limited to, equipment purchase, inventory financing, interest subsidy, operating expenses and similar costs not associated with construction or expansion of existing operations;
(5) Activities to assist homebuyers to purchase existing dwelling units or dwelling units under construction, including closing costs and down payment assistance, interest buydowns, and similar activities that result in the transfer of title.
(6) Affordable housing pre-development costs including legal, consulting, developer and other costs related to obtaining site options, project financing, administrative costs and fees for loan commitments, zoning approvals, and other related activities which do not have a physical impact.
(7) Approval of supplemental assistance (including insurance or guarantee) to a project previously approved under this part, if the approval is made by the same responsible entity that conducted the environmental review on the original project and re-evaluation of the environmental findings is not required under § 58.47.
(c) Circumstances requiring NEPA review. If a responsible entity determines that an activity or project identified in paragraph (a) or (b) of this section, because of extraordinary circumstances and conditions at or affecting the location of the activity or project, may have a significant environmental effect, it shall comply with all the requirements of this part.
(d) The Environmental Review Record (ERR) must contain a well organized written record of the process and determinations made under this section.
If a project is not exempt or categorically excluded under §§ 58.34 and 58.35, the responsible entity must prepare an EA in accordance with subpart E of this part. If it is evident without preparing an EA that an EIS is required under § 58.37, the responsible entity should proceed directly to an EIS.
(a) An EIS is required when the project is determined to have a potentially significant impact on the human environment.
(b) An EIS is required under any of the following circumstances, except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section:
(1) The project would provide a site or sites for, or result in the construction of, hospitals or nursing homes containing a total of 2,500 or more beds.
(2) The project would remove, demolish, convert or substantially rehabilitate 2,500 or more existing housing units (but not including rehabilitation projects categorically excluded under § 58.35), or would result in the construction or installation of 2,500 or more housing units, or would provide sites for 2,500 or more housing units.
(3) The project would provide enough additional water and sewer capacity to support 2,500 or more additional housing units. The project does not have to be specifically intended for residential use nor does it have to be totally new construction. If the project is designed to provide upgraded service to existing development as well as to serve new development, only that portion of the increased capacity which is intended to serve new development should be counted.
(c) If, on the basis of an EA, a responsible entity determines that the thresholds in paragraph (b) of this section are the sole reason for the EIS, the responsible entity may prepare a FONSI pursuant to 40 CFR 1501.4. In such cases, the FONSI must be made available for public review for at least 30 days before the responsible entity makes the final determination whether to prepare an EIS.
(d) Notwithstanding paragraphs (a) through (c) of this section, an EIS is not required where § 58.53 is applicable.
(e) Recommended EIS Format. The responsible entity must use the EIS format recommended by the CEQ regulations (40 CFR 1502.10) unless a determination is made on a particular project that there is a compelling reason to do otherwise. In such a case, the EIS format must meet the minimum requirements prescribed in 40 CFR 1502.10.
The responsible entity must maintain a written record of the environmental review undertaken under this part for each project. This document will be designated the “Environmental Review Record” (ERR) and shall be available for public review. The Departmental Environmental Clearance Officer (DECO) shall establish a prescribed format that the responsible entity shall use to prepare the ERR. The DECO may prescribe alternative formats as necessary to meet specific program needs.
(a) ERR Documents. The ERR shall contain all the environmental review documents, public notices and written determinations or environmental findings required by this part as evidence of review, decisionmaking and actions pertaining to a particular project of a recipient. The document shall:
(1) Describe the project and the activities that the recipient has determined to be part of the project;
(2) Evaluate the effects of the project or the activities on the human environment;
(3) Document compliance with applicable statutes and authorities, in particular those cited in § 58.5 and 58.6; and
(4) Record the written determinations and other review findings required by this part (e.g., exempt and categorically excluded projects determinations, findings of no significant impact).
(b) Other documents and information. The ERR shall also contain verifiable source documents and relevant base data used or cited in EAs, EISs or other project review documents. These documents may be incorporated by reference into the ERR provided that each source document is identified and available for inspection by interested parties. Proprietary material and special studies prepared for the recipient that are not otherwise generally available for public review shall not be incorporated by reference but shall be included in the ERR.