eLearning Tool for Federal Emergency Management Agency Grant Applicants

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J.1: Determining if there are other Environmental or Historic Preservation requirements associated with your project

There are several other federal Environmental/Historic Preservation (EHP) laws that may apply to your project, in addition to state and local laws and regulations.

Other federal laws and regulations that FEMA-funded projects are required to comply with, if applicable, can be found at Principal-environmental-historic-preservation-laws. If your project is near resources that could trigger any of these laws, documentation of the proper agency coordination should be included in the comment area or attached to Section J of the Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) Environmental and Historic Preservation Questions. For example,

  • if your project is located in a non-attainment area for air quality, contact the state air quality agency to see if a Clean Air Act conformity plan is required for emissions generated on site.
  • if your project involves altering a waterway or installing a culvert, ensure you have designed proper fish passage
  • If your project is near a large coastal body of water such as a bay, harbor, sound, or tidal river, contact the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration- National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA-NMFS)
  • If your project is on Tribal lands, many other laws may apply
  • if the project may May impact archeological sites or properties of religious or cultural significance, other laws and executive orders may apply

In addition to federal laws and regulations, FEMA funded projects must comply with all state and local laws and ordinances. These are statutory and regulatory requirements that your project would have to comply with, regardless of the funding source. You may have addressed some state and local environmental and historic preservation requirements in previous sections, but if there are other laws and regulations that you are aware of, document them in this section. If you are unsure if there are other state and local requirements, work closely with the organization(s) that typically implements the types of project you are proposing in your community to identify and address any other environmental or historic preservation requirements. Another good way to determine if there are any state and local environmental and historic preservation conditions or permits required for your proposed project is to involve municipal and state agencies during project planning and development. Typically these agencies can be found on the web by searching for terms such as: [state] Department of Environmental Protection, [state] Department of Environmental Quality, [state] Department of Natural Resources, or [state] Planning agency.

Local laws and ordinances generally focus on zoning and issues affecting the local community, such as noise, visual impacts, and landscaping, but will vary from area to area. Contact local authorities such as the mayor or town council to determine if there are any local laws that will apply to your project. Include their response letters or comments in your PDM application.

In many states there are environmental review clearinghouses which coordinate environmental reviews with state agencies. About half of the states have clearinghouses. To see if there is one in your state, go to Whitehouse.gov. Call the clearinghouse before writing them a letter to find out to the point of contact.

Once you have identified the state or local agency that may have jurisdiction over resources associated with your project or a state clearing house, write a letter to the agency indicating that you are applying for federal funding through the PDM program and you are requesting a project review. In the letter, you should:

  • Indicate that you are applying for federal aid, and you are requesting information about the presence of protected species and habitat near your project area.
  • Include in your request the name of the nearest city and the names of the county and state where the project will occur.
  • Include a detailed description of the proposed project.
  • Include a 1:24,000 scale United States Geological Survey map showing the project boundaries, and photos of the project, if available.

These agencies typically take at least 30 days to respond (Clearinghouses can take 45 to 60 days), so it is important to initiate contact early. If you have not received an agency response as you are finalizing your application, it is a good idea to follow up with them to find out when you can expect it.

Once you receive a response from the regulatory agency, read it carefully to determine if any additional coordination will be require, or if the agency needs additional information. Responses from regulatory agencies can contain valuable information pertinent to your project, such as: conditions for permitting, required environmental mitigation measures, or even suggestions for changes to the scope of work, Incorporate comments from the agency directly in the PDM application. If any mitigation or treatment measures are required, include them in your scope of work and as a line item in your cost estimate.

If local, municipal, or state permitting will be required, state this clearly in the comments area of Section J in the PDM Environmental and Historic Preservation Questions and indicate what measures will be necessary to obtain these permits. Remember, at this point in application development, the objective is not to obtain permits, but to understand what permits might be necessary and what, if any, effect their requirements might have on the design and cost of the proposed project.

Last Updated: 
07/24/2014 - 16:00
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