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Second Appeal Brief
PA ID# 000-00169; Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority
PW ID# 1432; City of Victoria Waste Water Treatment Plant
Citation: FEMA-1257-DR-TX, PA ID 000-00169, Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, Hazard Mitigation Project
Cross-Reference: Hazard Mitigation, Environmental Review; National Environmental Policy Act.
Summary: In 1998, the Guadalupe River overtopped the earthen ring levee that surrounds the Victoria Waste Water Treatment Plant causing over $2.4 million in damages. The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) proposed raising the levee by two and one half feet as a hazard mitigation project. FEMA approved Project Worksheet 1432 for $339,507 to fund the project on May 18, 1998, with the stipulation that an Environmental Assessment (EA) must be completed before construction began. GBRA submitted an EA to FEMA in December 1999. The preferred alternative was the construction of a two-and-one-half-foot concrete retaining wall on top of the levee. The Region VI Environmental Officer subsequently informed GBRA that the EA was incomplete because it did not contain clearances from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and the Victoria County Floodplain Administration. GBRA obtained clearances from USFWS on December 28, 1999, Victoria County Floodplain Administration on January 14, 2000, and USACE on February 15, 2000. Meanwhile, GBRA started construction on January 12, 2000. FEMA Region VI staff deobligated PW 1432 on February 15, 2000 because GBRA began work before FEMA completed the environmental review of the project. The Regional Director sustained the determination on first appeal.
Issue: Since GBRA started construction of the project before FEMA completed the EA, is the mitigation project eligible for funding?
Finding: Project costs after the EA was completed are eligible. Project costs before the EA was completed are ineligible.
Rationale: 44 CFR Part