Summary:FEMA obligated PW 3316 for $143,426 for the replacement of a destroyed metal mosquito aircraft hangar (60 feet by 75 feet).FEMA subsequently deobligated the funding because the Applicant initiated an improved project by relocating the hangar 138 feet from the pre-disaster location.The Applicant did not submit a request for relocation or improved project and did not provide FEMA with the opportunity to perform an environmental review of the revised scope of work.
The Applicant submitted a first appeal for the actual costs of the reconstruction of the hangar ($195,369) stating that the hangar was rebuilt in substantially the same design and location as approved in the PW.The Applicant relocated the hangar by 138 feet inside of a fenced area on the same property for security purposes.The new hangar was built on an existing concrete taxiway and no soil was disturbed at the new location.The Regional Administrator denied the appeal, because the Applicant’s justification of increased security, minimal alteration, and no known effects on the environment does not supersede FEMA’s legal responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
The Applicant submitted a second appeal, acknowledging that it did not follow the correct process of requesting approval for the relocation.The Applicant claims that it was overwhelmed by the efforts to recover from Hurricane Rita and considered the change in location a minor change.Further, the Applicant contends that relocating a facility by 138 feet to an existing concrete slab within the same property should qualify for an exclusion from NEPA review.
Issues:1.Does the project qualify for a categorical exclusion determination under NEPA?
Findings:1.Yes.The Applicant restored the facility substantially to its condition prior to the event and no extraordinary circumstances were triggered that required a change of the NEPA determination.