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Second Appeal Brief
PA ID# 041-99041-00; Marin County
PW ID# 746; Environmental Compliance
Citation: FEMA-1646-DR-CA, Marin County, Environmental Compliance, PW 746
Reference: Landslide; Environmental Compliance
Summary: Heavy rains and flooding in the spring of 2006 resulted in water infiltration of a hillside causing the partial landslide of a hillside. FEMA prepared PW 746 for $10,755 for a limited geotechnical investigation to determine if the landslide was an immediate threat to property adjacent to the hillside. The PW recommended a cost effective method of eliminating the threat if the geotechnical investigation confirmed its existence. On August 17, 2009, the Applicant requested a closeout of PW 746 that included the geotechnical investigation and the permanent site work to the hillside for $121,686. FEMA denied the request because the site was a natural hillside and not eligible for permanent restoration or mitigation to prevent future landslides. In addition, the work was completed without FEMA approval, and the geotechnical investigation determined that pre-disaster site conditions contributed to the landslide. In its first appeal, the Applicant argued that the earthen buttress repair was an emergency protective measure not permanent repair, there was no evidence that the site was unstable based on the geotechnical investigation, and the Applicant assumed that the NEPA review had been completed since the proposed work was originally included in the scope of work.
The Regional Administrator denied the first appeal because FEMA did not receive a copy of the geotechnical report, did not review or approve the completed work, and the project did not undergo a NEPA review. The PW was reduced to total eligible funding of $2,458 for the geotechnical work associated with determining if an immediate threat existed.
Issues: 1. Is the work to the hillside without environmental clearance eligible for funding?
2. Is the total cost of the Applicant’s geotechnical investigation eligible for funding?
Findings: 1. No
Rationale: 44 CFR §206.225(a)(3), Emergency Work; Response and Recovery Policy 9524.2, Landslide and Slope Failures, dated May 23, 2006; Response and Recovery Policy 9560.1, Environmental Policy, dated August 17, 1999.