HUD Environmental Assessments
Environmental Services, Inc. (ESI) has experienced HUD-trained employees who evaluate the effects of client proposed projects on the character, features and resources of each project area. ESI can assist financial assistance recipients (or Responsible Entity) in determining what level of environmental review is appropriate for their project and conduct whatever review is necessary to comply with all HUD environmental review requirements.
Most projects receiving financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) must be reviewed under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and other related Federal environmental laws and authorities.
The compliance components under consideration during the HUD Environmental Review process include wetland assessment, protection of endangered species, coastal zone management, floodplain management, sole source aquifers, wild and scenic rivers, farmland protection, historic preservation, air quality, environmental justice, noise abatement and control, explosive and flammable operations, toxic chemicals and radioactive materials, and airport clear zones and accident potential zones.
The level of HUD Environmental Review is based on the type of proposed activity. Activities and their associated level of review are divided into the following categories:
Exempt activities found at 24 CFR 58.34 and Categorically Excluded Activities Not Subject to 24 CFR 58.34 (b):
These activities include but are not limited to environmental, planning & design costs; information & financial services; public services; purchase of tools/insurance; payment of principal and interest; operating costs; tenant-based rental assistance.The determination and compliance with 24 CFR 58.6 must be documented. No “Request for Release of Funds” (RROF) or further approval from HUD is required.
Categorically Excluded Activities Subject to 24 CFR 58.35(a):
These activities include but are not limited to the acquisition, repair, reconstruction, improvement of public facilities; 20% or less change in the size of capacity of an existing facility; a project of five (5) or more units that are more than 2,000-ft apart and/or developed on scattered sites. Completion of the HUD Statutory Checklist. If compliance is triggered, publish/post a “Notice of Intent” (NOI) and a RROF and send to HUD for approval. If compliance is not triggered, the project reverts to exempt.
Activities not listed in the above sections are subject to requirements found at 24 CFR 58.36 for an Environmental Assessment (EA):
These activities include projects that are not categorically excluded, represent a change in use, a major rehabilitation, or new construction of more than four (4) single-family residences constructed together. EA requires a NEPA Study to evaluate the significance of the effects of the proposed activity on the character, features, and resources of the project area. Upon completion of the EA, a finding is made and posted for public comment. Following the appropriate period of time, a RROF and certifications are sent to HUD for approval. In rare instances where the complexity of the project exceeds the scope of an EA, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) may be required according to 24 CFR 58.37. EIS is completed for controversial projects, findings of significant impacts (FOSI), and/or large projects (construction of 2,500 or more units).