Request for Information on FEMA Programs, Regulations, and Policies, 21325-21328 [2021-08444]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 76 / Thursday, April 22, 2021 / Notices Biomedical Research and Research Training, National Institutes of Health, HHS) Dated: April 16, 2021. Miguelina Perez, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy. [FR Doc. 2021–08334 Filed 4–21–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140–01–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Docket ID: FEMA–2021–0011] Request for Information on FEMA Programs, Regulations, and Policies Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security (DHS). ACTION: Notice and request for information. AGENCY: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is issuing this Request for Information (RFI) to receive input from the public on specific FEMA programs, regulations, collections of information, and policies for the agency to consider modifying, streamlining, expanding, or repealing in light of recent Executive orders. These efforts aim to help FEMA ensure that its programs, regulations, and policies contain necessary, properly tailored, and up-to-date requirements that effectively achieve FEMA’s mission in a manner that furthers the goals of advancing equity for all, including those in underserved communities, bolstering resilience from the impacts of climate change, particularly for those disproportionately impacted by climate change, and environmental justice. DATES: Written comments are requested on or before June 21, 2021. Late-filed comments will be considered to the extent practicable. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by Docket ID: FEMA–2021– 0011, through the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. SUMMARY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kristen Shedd, Associate Chief Counsel, Regulatory Affairs Division, Office of Chief Counsel, FEMA-regulations@ fema.dhs.gov, 202–646–4105. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Public Participation Interested persons are invited to comment on this notice by submitting VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:20 Apr 21, 2021 Jkt 253001 written data, views, or arguments using the method identified in the ADDRESSES section. Instructions: All submissions must include the agency name and Docket ID for this notice. All comments received will be posted without change to http:// www.regulations.gov. Commenters are encouraged to identify the number of the specific question or questions to which they are responding. Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments, go to http:// www.regulations.gov. II. Background FEMA seeks this input pursuant to the processes required specifically by Executive Orders 13985, 13990, and 14008 that require agencies to assess existing programs and policies to determine if: (1) Agency programs and policies perpetuate systemic barriers to opportunities and benefits for people of color and other underserved groups; (2) additional agency actions are required to bolster resilience to climate change; and (3) agency programs, policies, and activities address the disproportionately high and adverse climate-related impacts on disadvantaged communities. Consistent with Executive Order 13563 and Executive Order 13707, FEMA further seeks this input to ensure that it is implementing its programs in a manner that builds disaster readiness and closes national capability gaps through data-driven approaches and risk-informed preparedness and mitigation investments as well as in delivering the Agency’s response and recovery mission sets. On January 20, 2021, the President issued Executive Order 13985, ‘‘Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government,’’ 1 designed to pursue a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality. The Executive order defines ‘‘equity’’ as the consistent and systemic fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals, including individuals who belong to underserved communities that have been denied such treatment, such as: Black, Latino, and Indigenous and Native American persons, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other persons of color; members of religious minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) persons; persons with disabilities; persons who live in rural areas; and persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality. It defines ‘‘underserved communities’’ as ‘‘populations sharing a particular characteristic, as well as geographic communities, that have been systematically denied a full opportunity to participate in aspects of economic, social, and civic life, as exemplified by the list in the preceding definition of ‘equity.’ ’’ Executive Order 13985 further requires each agency to assess whether, and to what extent, its programs and policies perpetuate systemic barriers to opportunities and benefits for people of color and other underserved groups with the goal of developing policies and programs that deliver resources and benefits equitably to all. The Executive order requires agencies to consult with members of communities that have been historically underrepresented in the Federal Government and underserved by, or subject to discrimination, in Federal policies and programs. On the same day, the President issued Executive Order 13990 ‘‘Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis.’’ 2 The order requires agencies to review and take action to address the promulgation of Federal regulations and other actions in conflict with the objectives of improving public health and protecting the environment by, among other things, bolstering resilience to the impacts of climate change. In taking these actions, agencies were directed to seek input from the public and stakeholders, including: State, local, Tribal, and territorial officials; scientists; labor unions; environmental advocates; and environmental justice groups. Finally, on January 27, 2021, the President issued Executive Order 14008 ‘‘Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.’’ 3 This order directs agencies to move quickly to build resilience, at home and abroad, against impacts of climate change and to prioritize action on climate change in policymaking. Additionally, the order requires agencies to develop programs, policies, and activities to deliver environmental justice and address the disproportionately high and adverse climate-related impacts on disadvantaged communities. To facilitate these actions, agencies are required to engage with State, local, Tribal, and territorial governments; 2 86 1 86 PO 00000 FR 7009 (Jan. 25, 2021). Frm 00058 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 21325 3 86 E:\FR\FM\22APN1.SGM FR 7037 (Jan. 25, 2021). FR 7619 (Feb. 1, 2021). 22APN1 21326 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 76 / Thursday, April 22, 2021 / Notices workers and communities; and leaders across all sectors of our economy. Executive Order 13563, ‘‘Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,’’ directs agencies to ‘‘identify the best, most innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends.’’ Executive Order 13563 is affirmed in the President’s Memorandum of January 20, 2021, Modernizing Regulatory Review. Executive Order 13707, ‘‘Using Behavioral Insights to Better Serve the American People,’’ directs agencies to design ‘‘programs and policies to reflect our best understanding of how people engage with, participate in, use, and respond to those policies and programs.’’ Executive Order 13707 is affirmed in the President’s Memorandum of January 27, 2021, Restoring Trust in Government through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking. Pursuant to these Executive orders and presidential memoranda, FEMA issues this RFI to gather information on the extent to which the existing agency programs, regulations, and policies (1) perpetuate systemic barriers to opportunities and benefits for people of color and other underserved groups; (2) bolster resilience to the impacts of climate change; and (3) address the disproportionately high and adverse climate-related impacts on disadvantaged communities. Among other things, FEMA seeks concrete information about unnecessary or unjustified administrative burdens that may create the systemic barriers in (1). It is important to note that FEMA continually evaluates its programs and policies, as well as the regulatory program for rules that are candidates for modification, streamlining, expansion, or repeal. FEMA does so through legally mandated review requirements (e.g., Unified Agenda reviews and reviews under section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act) and through other informal and long-established mechanisms (e.g., use of Advisory Councils, feedback from FEMA field personnel, input from internal working groups, and outreach to regulated entities and the public). This Federal Register notice supplements these existing extensive FEMA regulatory and program review efforts. II. FEMA’s Programs FEMA’s mission is to help people before, during, and after disasters, which it carries out through its core values and guiding principles. FEMA’s core values are compassion, fairness, integrity, and respect (which includes respect for human dignity). FEMA’s guiding principles are accountability, VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:20 Apr 21, 2021 Jkt 253001 accessibility, empowerment, engagement, flexibility, getting results, preparation, stewardship, and teamwork.4 The agency carries out its mission through the Office of the Administrator, multiple program offices, and ten regional offices located throughout the United States. The two key operational program offices are the (1) Office of Response and Recovery; and (2) Resilience. The Office of Response and Recovery provides guidance, leadership, and oversight to build, sustain, and improve the coordination and delivery of support to citizens and State, local, Tribal and territorial (SLTT) governments to save lives, reduce suffering, protect property and recover from all hazards. The Response Directorate within the Office of Response and Recovery provides funding for 28 national task forces staffed and equipped to assist State and local governments conduct around-theclock search-and-rescue operations following a Presidentially declared major disaster or emergency under the Stafford Act (e.g., earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, aircraft accidents, hazardous materials spills and catastrophic structure collapses). The Recovery Directorate within the Office of Response and Recovery provides two key assistance programs for disaster recovery: (1) The Individual Assistance program; and (2) the Public Assistance program. The Individual Assistance (IA) program provides direct assistance to individuals and households, as well as SLTT governments to support recovery efforts nationwide. Pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act,5 IA delivers five statutory disaster programs and one non-disaster program, coordinates Mass Care and Emergency Assistance, and collaborates with other Federal agencies, SLTT governments, and nonprofit, faith-based, and voluntary organizations to provide support for disaster survivors. IA programs include housing assistance (financial assistance to repair or replace personal property), other needs assistance (to pay for expenses caused by the disaster including medical or dental expenses or losses, funeral expenses, child care expenses, transportation expenses, moving and storage expenses, cleaning and removal expenses, critical needs expenses, and other miscellaneous expenses), crisis counseling, disaster 4 https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/2020- 03/core-values-placemat_2019.pdf. 5 Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, Public Law 93–288, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq. PO 00000 Frm 00059 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 unemployment, disaster legal services, and disaster case management. IA also delivers the Emergency Food and Shelter Program, which supplements and expands the ongoing work of local social service organizations to provide shelter, food, and supportive services to those experiencing, or at risk of, hunger or homelessness. The Public Assistance (PA) program supports communities’ recovery from major disasters by providing them with assistance for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and restoring public infrastructure. SLTT governments, as well as certain private non-profit organizations, are eligible for Public Assistance. Resilience seeks to build a culture of preparedness through insurance, mitigation, continuity, preparedness programs, and grants. The Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration (FIMA) within Resilience administers the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and other programs designed to reduce future losses to homes, businesses, schools, public buildings, and critical facilities from floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters. FIMA works to increase awareness of flood risk through identification and publication of flood hazard information; reduce the impact of floods and other natural hazards through hazard mitigation, floodplain management, and building codes; provide insurance to property owners to speed recovery from flood events; and diminish the impact that disasters and emergency management decisions have on the nation’s natural and cultural resources. FIMA also administers and manages the following FEMA hazard mitigation assistance programs:6 (1) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP); (2) HMGP Post Fire Grant Program; (3) Flood Mitigation Assistance; (4) Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC); and the following FEMA resilience grant programs: (1) National Dam Safety Program Grants; (2) High Hazard Potential Dam Grant Program; and (3) National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program State Assistance. The Grant Programs Directorate (GPD) within Resilience provides Federal assistance to measurably improve capability and reduce the risks the nation faces in times of man-made and natural disasters. GPD administers and manages 6 On January 1, 2021, Congress passed the Safeguarding Tomorrow through Ongoing Risk Mitigation (STORM) Act, Public Law 116–284, which authorizes a hazard mitigation revolving loan program. FEMA is currently developing an implementation strategy for the program. E:\FR\FM\22APN1.SGM 22APN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 76 / Thursday, April 22, 2021 / Notices the following FEMA preparedness grant programs: (1) Emergency Management Performance Grant Program; (2) Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program; (3) Homeland Security Grant Program; (4) Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program; (5) Intercity Bus Security Grant Program; (6) Intercity Passenger Rail Grant Program; (7) Presidential Residence Protection Assistance; (8) Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grants Program; (9) Transit Security Grant Program; (10) Port Security Grant Program; (11) Nonprofit Security Grant Program; (12) Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant Program; and (13) Fire Prevention and Safety Grant Program. The National Preparedness Directorate (NPD) within Resilience also administers a range of non-disaster grant programs, including: (1) National Incident Management System (NIMS); (2) Emergency Management Baseline Assessment Grant (EMBAG); (3) Homeland Security National Training Program (HSNTP)— National Domestic Preparedness Consortium (NDPC) and Homeland Security Preparedness Technical Assistance Program (HSPTAP); and (4) United States Fire Administration (USFA) State Fire Systems Training Grant Program. FEMA seeks specific input from the public regarding the programs, regulations, collections of information, and policies implemented by the Office of Response and Recovery and Resilience. FEMA is seeking information and input from the public regarding these key programs and their regulations and policies as part of the agency’s efforts to ensure it is operating its programs in compliance with the Executive orders detailed above. III. Request for Input A. Importance of Public Feedback A central tenet of each of the Executive orders is the critical and essential role of public input in driving and focusing FEMA review of its existing programs, regulations, and policies. Because the impacts and effects of federal regulations and policies tend to be widely dispersed in society, members of the public are likely to have useful information, data, and perspectives on the benefits and burdens of our existing programs, regulations, information collections, and policies. Given the importance of public input, FEMA is seeking broad public feedback to facilitate these program reviews in the context of equity for all, including those in underserved communities, bolstering resilience to VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:20 Apr 21, 2021 Jkt 253001 the impacts of climate change, particularly for those disproportionately impacted by climate change, and environmental justice. In a period in which disasters of many kinds may become more common, in part because of climate change, it is essential to reevaluate programs to reduce unnecessary barriers to participation and effectiveness, to serve all communities, to increase equity, and to promote preparedness. B. Maximizing the Value of Public Feedback This notice contains a list of questions, the answers to which will assist FEMA in identifying those programs, regulations, and/or policies that may benefit from modification, streamlining, expansion, or repeal in light of the Executive orders. FEMA encourages public comment on these questions and seeks any other data commenters believe are relevant to FEMA’s review efforts. The type of feedback that is most useful to the agency includes feedback that identifies specific programs, regulations, information collections, and/or policies that could benefit from reform; feedback that refers to specific barriers to participation; feedback about how to improve risk perception; feedback that offers actionable data; and feedback that specifies viable alternatives to existing approaches that meet statutory obligations. For example, feedback that simply states that a stakeholder feels strongly that FEMA should change a regulation but does not contain specific information on how the proposed change would impact the costs and benefits of the regulation, is much less useful to FEMA. FEMA is looking for new information and new data to support any proposed changes. Highlighted below are a few of those points, noting comments that are most useful to FEMA, guided by corresponding principles. Commenters should consider these principles as they answer and respond to the questions in this notice. • Commenters should identify, with specificity, the program, regulation, information collection, and/or policy at issue, providing the Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) citation where appropriate. • Commenters should identify, with specificity, administrative burdens, program requirements, information collection burdens, waiting time, or unnecessary complexity that may impose unjustified barriers in general, or that may have adverse effects on equity for all, including individuals who belong to underserved PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 21327 communities that have been denied equitable treatment, such as Black, Latino, and Indigenous and Native American persons, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other persons of color; members of religious minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) persons; persons with disabilities; persons who live in rural areas; and persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality. • Commenters should identify, with specificity, small or large reforms that might be justified in light of the risks posed by climate change, whether those reforms involve preparedness, mitigation, or other steps to reduce suffering. • Commenters should provide, in as much detail as possible, an explanation why a program, regulation, information collection, and/or policy should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed, as well as specific suggestions of ways the agency can better achieve its statutory and regulatory objectives in light of the Executive orders cited. • Commenters should provide specific data that document the costs, burdens, and benefits of existing requirements to the extent they are available. Commenters might also address how FEMA can best obtain and consider accurate, objective information and data about the costs, burdens, and benefits of existing programs and regulations and whether there are existing sources of data that FEMA can use to evaluate the post-promulgation effects of its regulations over time. • Particularly where comments relate to a program’s costs or benefits, comments will be most useful if there are data and experience under the program available to ascertain the program’s actual impact. C. List of Questions for Commenters The below non-exhaustive list of questions is meant to assist members of the public in the formulation of comments and is not intended to restrict the issues that commenters may address. FEMA has divided the list into a series of general questions which may be answered as applicable to any of FEMA’s programs and specific questions that solicit more targeted feedback: General Questions (1) Are there FEMA programs, regulations, and/or policies that perpetuate systemic barriers to opportunities and benefits for people of color and/or other underserved groups as defined in Executive Order 13985 and, if so, what are they? How can those E:\FR\FM\22APN1.SGM 22APN1 21328 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 76 / Thursday, April 22, 2021 / Notices programs, regulations, and/or policies be modified, expanded, streamlined, or repealed to deliver resources and benefits more equitably? (2) Are there FEMA programs, regulations, and/or policies that do not bolster resilience to impacts of climate change, particularly for those disproportionately impacted by climate change, and, if so, what are they? How can those programs, regulations, and/or policies be modified, expanded, streamlined, or repealed to bolster resilience to the impacts of climate change? (3) Are there FEMA programs, regulations, and/or policies that do not promote environmental justice? How can those programs, regulations, and/or policies be modified, expanded, streamlined, or repealed to promote environmental justice? (4) Are there FEMA programs, regulations, and/or policies that are unnecessarily complicated or could be streamlined to achieve the objectives of equity for all (including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality), bolstering resilience to climate change, or addressing the disproportionately high and adverse climate-related impacts on disadvantaged communities in more efficient ways? If so, what are they and how can they be made less complicated and/or streamlined? (5) Are there any FEMA regulations and/or policies that create duplication, overlap, complexity, or inconsistent requirements within FEMA programs, other DHS components, or any other Federal Government agency that impact equity, resilience to the effects of climate change, and/or environmental justice? If so, what are they and how can they be improved or updated to meet the required objectives of equity, resiliency, and environmental justice? (6) Does FEMA currently collect information, use forms, or require documentation that impede access to FEMA programs and/or are not effective to achieve statutory, regulatory, and/or program objectives? If so, what are they and how can FEMA revise them to reduce burden, save time or costs, increase simplification and navigability, reduce confusion or frustration, and increase equity in access to FEMA programs and achieving statutory and/or regulatory objectives? (7) Are there FEMA regulations and/ or policies that have been overtaken by technological developments? Can FEMA leverage new technologies to modify, streamline, or do away with existing regulatory and/or policy requirements? VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:20 Apr 21, 2021 Jkt 253001 If so, what are they and how can FEMA use new technologies to achieve its statutory and regulatory objectives in light of the Executive orders cited? (8) Are there any FEMA regulations and/or policies that are duplicative, overlapping, or contain inconsistent requirements generally? Are there areas where FEMA’s regulations create duplicative, overlapping, or difficult to navigate situations for individuals also navigating regulatory requirements of another Federal Government agency? (9) Are there existing sources of data that FEMA can use to evaluate the postpromulgation effects of regulations over time? Or, are there sources of data that FEMA can use to evaluate the effects of FEMA policies or regulations on equity for all, including individuals who belong to underserved communities? (10) What successful approaches to advance equity and climate resilience have been taken by State, local, Tribal, and territorial governments, and in what ways do FEMA’s programs present barriers or opportunities to successful implementation of these approaches? (11) Are there FEMA regulations, programs, or processes that create barriers to mitigation, response, recovery, or resilience for a specific industry or sector of the economy, geographic location within the United States, or government type (e.g. a specific tribal or territorial government or a specific local government)? In addition to these general questions, FEMA seeks specific input on the programs described above. Specific Questions (1) Individual Assistance: Are there regulations and/or policies that act as a barrier to people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty, inequality, and climate change? (2) Public Assistance: Are there measures FEMA could take to more effectively bolster or incentivize resilience to the impacts of climate change? (3) National Flood Insurance Program: Are there regulations and/or policies that disincentivize purchasing flood insurance, particularly by lower-income communities, communities of color, and Tribal communities? Are there measures FEMA could take to increase nationwide the number of flood-insured homes in the general population and particularly in lower-income communities, communities of color, and Tribal communities? (4) Hazard Mitigation Programs: Are there measures FEMA could take to prioritize funding to mitigate the PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 disproportionate impact climate change has on the most vulnerable in society, particularly lower-income communities, communities of color, and Tribal communities? (5) Preparedness Grant Programs: Are there measures FEMA could take to improve our Preparedness Grant Programs to ensure the funding provided to our State and local partners and other stakeholders addresses the domestic terrorism threats currently faced, particularly when those threats impact or target groups that have been historically underserved or subjected to discrimination? What should FEMA address beyond the types of activities these grants support the priority areas on which we ask our State, local, and Tribal partners and other stakeholders to should focus; and the risk methodologies to use in determining how to allocate funding? FEMA notes that this notice is issued solely for information and programplanning purposes. Responses to this notice do not bind FEMA to any further actions related to the response. Robert J. Fenton, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency. [FR Doc. 2021–08444 Filed 4–21–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111–19–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY [Docket No. ICEB–2021–0003] RIN 1653–ZA17 Employment Authorization for Venezuelan F–1 Nonimmigrant Students Experiencing Severe Economic Hardship as a Direct Result of the Current Humanitarian Crisis in Venezuela U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); Department of Homeland Security (DHS). SUMMARY: This notice announces that the Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary) has suspended certain regulatory requirements for F–1 nonimmigrant students whose country of citizenship is Venezuela (regardless of country of birth) and who are experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the current humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. The Secretary is taking action to provide relief to Venezuelan citizens who are lawful F–1 nonimmigrant students so the students may request employment authorization, work an increased number of hours while school is in AGENCY: E:\FR\FM\22APN1.SGM 22APN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 76 (Thursday, April 22, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 21325-21328]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-08444]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Federal Emergency Management Agency

[Docket ID: FEMA-2021-0011]


Request for Information on FEMA Programs, Regulations, and 
Policies

AGENCY: Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland 
Security (DHS).

ACTION: Notice and request for information.

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SUMMARY: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is issuing this 
Request for Information (RFI) to receive input from the public on 
specific FEMA programs, regulations, collections of information, and 
policies for the agency to consider modifying, streamlining, expanding, 
or repealing in light of recent Executive orders. These efforts aim to 
help FEMA ensure that its programs, regulations, and policies contain 
necessary, properly tailored, and up-to-date requirements that 
effectively achieve FEMA's mission in a manner that furthers the goals 
of advancing equity for all, including those in underserved 
communities, bolstering resilience from the impacts of climate change, 
particularly for those disproportionately impacted by climate change, 
and environmental justice.

DATES: Written comments are requested on or before June 21, 2021. Late-
filed comments will be considered to the extent practicable.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by Docket ID: FEMA-2021-
0011, through the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kristen Shedd, Associate Chief 
Counsel, Regulatory Affairs Division, Office of Chief Counsel, [email protected], 202-646-4105.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Public Participation

    Interested persons are invited to comment on this notice by 
submitting written data, views, or arguments using the method 
identified in the ADDRESSES section.
    Instructions: All submissions must include the agency name and 
Docket ID for this notice. All comments received will be posted without 
change to http://www.regulations.gov. Commenters are encouraged to 
identify the number of the specific question or questions to which they 
are responding.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments, go to http://www.regulations.gov.

II. Background

    FEMA seeks this input pursuant to the processes required 
specifically by Executive Orders 13985, 13990, and 14008 that require 
agencies to assess existing programs and policies to determine if: (1) 
Agency programs and policies perpetuate systemic barriers to 
opportunities and benefits for people of color and other underserved 
groups; (2) additional agency actions are required to bolster 
resilience to climate change; and (3) agency programs, policies, and 
activities address the disproportionately high and adverse climate-
related impacts on disadvantaged communities. Consistent with Executive 
Order 13563 and Executive Order 13707, FEMA further seeks this input to 
ensure that it is implementing its programs in a manner that builds 
disaster readiness and closes national capability gaps through data-
driven approaches and risk-informed preparedness and mitigation 
investments as well as in delivering the Agency's response and recovery 
mission sets.
    On January 20, 2021, the President issued Executive Order 13985, 
``Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities 
Through the Federal Government,'' \1\ designed to pursue a 
comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all, including people of 
color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, 
and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality. The 
Executive order defines ``equity'' as the consistent and systemic fair, 
just, and impartial treatment of all individuals, including individuals 
who belong to underserved communities that have been denied such 
treatment, such as: Black, Latino, and Indigenous and Native American 
persons, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other persons of 
color; members of religious minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, 
transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) persons; persons with disabilities; 
persons who live in rural areas; and persons otherwise adversely 
affected by persistent poverty or inequality. It defines ``underserved 
communities'' as ``populations sharing a particular characteristic, as 
well as geographic communities, that have been systematically denied a 
full opportunity to participate in aspects of economic, social, and 
civic life, as exemplified by the list in the preceding definition of 
`equity.' ''
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    \1\ 86 FR 7009 (Jan. 25, 2021).
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    Executive Order 13985 further requires each agency to assess 
whether, and to what extent, its programs and policies perpetuate 
systemic barriers to opportunities and benefits for people of color and 
other underserved groups with the goal of developing policies and 
programs that deliver resources and benefits equitably to all. The 
Executive order requires agencies to consult with members of 
communities that have been historically underrepresented in the Federal 
Government and underserved by, or subject to discrimination, in Federal 
policies and programs.
    On the same day, the President issued Executive Order 13990 
``Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to 
Tackle the Climate Crisis.'' \2\ The order requires agencies to review 
and take action to address the promulgation of Federal regulations and 
other actions in conflict with the objectives of improving public 
health and protecting the environment by, among other things, 
bolstering resilience to the impacts of climate change. In taking these 
actions, agencies were directed to seek input from the public and 
stakeholders, including: State, local, Tribal, and territorial 
officials; scientists; labor unions; environmental advocates; and 
environmental justice groups.
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    \2\ 86 FR 7037 (Jan. 25, 2021).
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    Finally, on January 27, 2021, the President issued Executive Order 
14008 ``Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.'' \3\ This 
order directs agencies to move quickly to build resilience, at home and 
abroad, against impacts of climate change and to prioritize action on 
climate change in policymaking. Additionally, the order requires 
agencies to develop programs, policies, and activities to deliver 
environmental justice and address the disproportionately high and 
adverse climate-related impacts on disadvantaged communities. To 
facilitate these actions, agencies are required to engage with State, 
local, Tribal, and territorial governments;

[[Page 21326]]

workers and communities; and leaders across all sectors of our economy.
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    \3\ 86 FR 7619 (Feb. 1, 2021).
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    Executive Order 13563, ``Improving Regulation and Regulatory 
Review,'' directs agencies to ``identify the best, most innovative, and 
least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends.'' Executive Order 
13563 is affirmed in the President's Memorandum of January 20, 2021, 
Modernizing Regulatory Review. Executive Order 13707, ``Using 
Behavioral Insights to Better Serve the American People,'' directs 
agencies to design ``programs and policies to reflect our best 
understanding of how people engage with, participate in, use, and 
respond to those policies and programs.'' Executive Order 13707 is 
affirmed in the President's Memorandum of January 27, 2021, Restoring 
Trust in Government through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based 
Policymaking.
    Pursuant to these Executive orders and presidential memoranda, FEMA 
issues this RFI to gather information on the extent to which the 
existing agency programs, regulations, and policies (1) perpetuate 
systemic barriers to opportunities and benefits for people of color and 
other underserved groups; (2) bolster resilience to the impacts of 
climate change; and (3) address the disproportionately high and adverse 
climate-related impacts on disadvantaged communities. Among other 
things, FEMA seeks concrete information about unnecessary or 
unjustified administrative burdens that may create the systemic 
barriers in (1).
    It is important to note that FEMA continually evaluates its 
programs and policies, as well as the regulatory program for rules that 
are candidates for modification, streamlining, expansion, or repeal. 
FEMA does so through legally mandated review requirements (e.g., 
Unified Agenda reviews and reviews under section 610 of the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act) and through other informal and long-established 
mechanisms (e.g., use of Advisory Councils, feedback from FEMA field 
personnel, input from internal working groups, and outreach to 
regulated entities and the public). This Federal Register notice 
supplements these existing extensive FEMA regulatory and program review 
efforts.

II. FEMA's Programs

    FEMA's mission is to help people before, during, and after 
disasters, which it carries out through its core values and guiding 
principles. FEMA's core values are compassion, fairness, integrity, and 
respect (which includes respect for human dignity). FEMA's guiding 
principles are accountability, accessibility, empowerment, engagement, 
flexibility, getting results, preparation, stewardship, and 
teamwork.\4\ The agency carries out its mission through the Office of 
the Administrator, multiple program offices, and ten regional offices 
located throughout the United States. The two key operational program 
offices are the (1) Office of Response and Recovery; and (2) 
Resilience.
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    \4\ https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/2020-03/core-values-placemat_2019.pdf.
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    The Office of Response and Recovery provides guidance, leadership, 
and oversight to build, sustain, and improve the coordination and 
delivery of support to citizens and State, local, Tribal and 
territorial (SLTT) governments to save lives, reduce suffering, protect 
property and recover from all hazards. The Response Directorate within 
the Office of Response and Recovery provides funding for 28 national 
task forces staffed and equipped to assist State and local governments 
conduct around-the-clock search-and-rescue operations following a 
Presidentially declared major disaster or emergency under the Stafford 
Act (e.g., earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, aircraft 
accidents, hazardous materials spills and catastrophic structure 
collapses). The Recovery Directorate within the Office of Response and 
Recovery provides two key assistance programs for disaster recovery: 
(1) The Individual Assistance program; and (2) the Public Assistance 
program. The Individual Assistance (IA) program provides direct 
assistance to individuals and households, as well as SLTT governments 
to support recovery efforts nationwide. Pursuant to the Robert T. 
Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act,\5\ IA delivers 
five statutory disaster programs and one non-disaster program, 
coordinates Mass Care and Emergency Assistance, and collaborates with 
other Federal agencies, SLTT governments, and non-profit, faith-based, 
and voluntary organizations to provide support for disaster survivors. 
IA programs include housing assistance (financial assistance to repair 
or replace personal property), other needs assistance (to pay for 
expenses caused by the disaster including medical or dental expenses or 
losses, funeral expenses, child care expenses, transportation expenses, 
moving and storage expenses, cleaning and removal expenses, critical 
needs expenses, and other miscellaneous expenses), crisis counseling, 
disaster unemployment, disaster legal services, and disaster case 
management. IA also delivers the Emergency Food and Shelter Program, 
which supplements and expands the ongoing work of local social service 
organizations to provide shelter, food, and supportive services to 
those experiencing, or at risk of, hunger or homelessness. The Public 
Assistance (PA) program supports communities' recovery from major 
disasters by providing them with assistance for debris removal, 
emergency protective measures, and restoring public infrastructure. 
SLTT governments, as well as certain private non-profit organizations, 
are eligible for Public Assistance.
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    \5\ Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance 
Act, Public Law 93-288, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.
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    Resilience seeks to build a culture of preparedness through 
insurance, mitigation, continuity, preparedness programs, and grants. 
The Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration (FIMA) within 
Resilience administers the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and 
other programs designed to reduce future losses to homes, businesses, 
schools, public buildings, and critical facilities from floods, 
earthquakes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters. FIMA works to 
increase awareness of flood risk through identification and publication 
of flood hazard information; reduce the impact of floods and other 
natural hazards through hazard mitigation, floodplain management, and 
building codes; provide insurance to property owners to speed recovery 
from flood events; and diminish the impact that disasters and emergency 
management decisions have on the nation's natural and cultural 
resources. FIMA also administers and manages the following FEMA hazard 
mitigation assistance programs:\6\ (1) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program 
(HMGP); (2) HMGP Post Fire Grant Program; (3) Flood Mitigation 
Assistance; (4) Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities 
(BRIC); and the following FEMA resilience grant programs: (1) National 
Dam Safety Program Grants; (2) High Hazard Potential Dam Grant Program; 
and (3) National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program State Assistance. 
The Grant Programs Directorate (GPD) within Resilience provides Federal 
assistance to measurably improve capability and reduce the risks the 
nation faces in times of man-made and natural disasters. GPD 
administers and manages

[[Page 21327]]

the following FEMA preparedness grant programs: (1) Emergency 
Management Performance Grant Program; (2) Assistance to Firefighters 
Grant Program; (3) Homeland Security Grant Program; (4) Tribal Homeland 
Security Grant Program; (5) Intercity Bus Security Grant Program; (6) 
Intercity Passenger Rail Grant Program; (7) Presidential Residence 
Protection Assistance; (8) Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grants 
Program; (9) Transit Security Grant Program; (10) Port Security Grant 
Program; (11) Nonprofit Security Grant Program; (12) Staffing for 
Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant Program; and (13) Fire 
Prevention and Safety Grant Program. The National Preparedness 
Directorate (NPD) within Resilience also administers a range of non-
disaster grant programs, including: (1) National Incident Management 
System (NIMS); (2) Emergency Management Baseline Assessment Grant 
(EMBAG); (3) Homeland Security National Training Program (HSNTP)--
National Domestic Preparedness Consortium (NDPC) and Homeland Security 
Preparedness Technical Assistance Program (HSPTAP); and (4) United 
States Fire Administration (USFA) State Fire Systems Training Grant 
Program.
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    \6\ On January 1, 2021, Congress passed the Safeguarding 
Tomorrow through Ongoing Risk Mitigation (STORM) Act, Public Law 
116-284, which authorizes a hazard mitigation revolving loan 
program. FEMA is currently developing an implementation strategy for 
the program.
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    FEMA seeks specific input from the public regarding the programs, 
regulations, collections of information, and policies implemented by 
the Office of Response and Recovery and Resilience. FEMA is seeking 
information and input from the public regarding these key programs and 
their regulations and policies as part of the agency's efforts to 
ensure it is operating its programs in compliance with the Executive 
orders detailed above.

III. Request for Input

A. Importance of Public Feedback

    A central tenet of each of the Executive orders is the critical and 
essential role of public input in driving and focusing FEMA review of 
its existing programs, regulations, and policies. Because the impacts 
and effects of federal regulations and policies tend to be widely 
dispersed in society, members of the public are likely to have useful 
information, data, and perspectives on the benefits and burdens of our 
existing programs, regulations, information collections, and policies. 
Given the importance of public input, FEMA is seeking broad public 
feedback to facilitate these program reviews in the context of equity 
for all, including those in underserved communities, bolstering 
resilience to the impacts of climate change, particularly for those 
disproportionately impacted by climate change, and environmental 
justice. In a period in which disasters of many kinds may become more 
common, in part because of climate change, it is essential to 
reevaluate programs to reduce unnecessary barriers to participation and 
effectiveness, to serve all communities, to increase equity, and to 
promote preparedness.

B. Maximizing the Value of Public Feedback

    This notice contains a list of questions, the answers to which will 
assist FEMA in identifying those programs, regulations, and/or policies 
that may benefit from modification, streamlining, expansion, or repeal 
in light of the Executive orders. FEMA encourages public comment on 
these questions and seeks any other data commenters believe are 
relevant to FEMA's review efforts. The type of feedback that is most 
useful to the agency includes feedback that identifies specific 
programs, regulations, information collections, and/or policies that 
could benefit from reform; feedback that refers to specific barriers to 
participation; feedback about how to improve risk perception; feedback 
that offers actionable data; and feedback that specifies viable 
alternatives to existing approaches that meet statutory obligations. 
For example, feedback that simply states that a stakeholder feels 
strongly that FEMA should change a regulation but does not contain 
specific information on how the proposed change would impact the costs 
and benefits of the regulation, is much less useful to FEMA. FEMA is 
looking for new information and new data to support any proposed 
changes.
    Highlighted below are a few of those points, noting comments that 
are most useful to FEMA, guided by corresponding principles. Commenters 
should consider these principles as they answer and respond to the 
questions in this notice.
     Commenters should identify, with specificity, the program, 
regulation, information collection, and/or policy at issue, providing 
the Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) citation where appropriate.
     Commenters should identify, with specificity, 
administrative burdens, program requirements, information collection 
burdens, waiting time, or unnecessary complexity that may impose 
unjustified barriers in general, or that may have adverse effects on 
equity for all, including individuals who belong to underserved 
communities that have been denied equitable treatment, such as Black, 
Latino, and Indigenous and Native American persons, Asian Americans and 
Pacific Islanders and other persons of color; members of religious 
minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) 
persons; persons with disabilities; persons who live in rural areas; 
and persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or 
inequality.
     Commenters should identify, with specificity, small or 
large reforms that might be justified in light of the risks posed by 
climate change, whether those reforms involve preparedness, mitigation, 
or other steps to reduce suffering.
     Commenters should provide, in as much detail as possible, 
an explanation why a program, regulation, information collection, and/
or policy should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed, as 
well as specific suggestions of ways the agency can better achieve its 
statutory and regulatory objectives in light of the Executive orders 
cited.
     Commenters should provide specific data that document the 
costs, burdens, and benefits of existing requirements to the extent 
they are available. Commenters might also address how FEMA can best 
obtain and consider accurate, objective information and data about the 
costs, burdens, and benefits of existing programs and regulations and 
whether there are existing sources of data that FEMA can use to 
evaluate the post-promulgation effects of its regulations over time.
     Particularly where comments relate to a program's costs or 
benefits, comments will be most useful if there are data and experience 
under the program available to ascertain the program's actual impact.

C. List of Questions for Commenters

    The below non-exhaustive list of questions is meant to assist 
members of the public in the formulation of comments and is not 
intended to restrict the issues that commenters may address. FEMA has 
divided the list into a series of general questions which may be 
answered as applicable to any of FEMA's programs and specific questions 
that solicit more targeted feedback:
General Questions
    (1) Are there FEMA programs, regulations, and/or policies that 
perpetuate systemic barriers to opportunities and benefits for people 
of color and/or other underserved groups as defined in Executive Order 
13985 and, if so, what are they? How can those

[[Page 21328]]

programs, regulations, and/or policies be modified, expanded, 
streamlined, or repealed to deliver resources and benefits more 
equitably?
    (2) Are there FEMA programs, regulations, and/or policies that do 
not bolster resilience to impacts of climate change, particularly for 
those disproportionately impacted by climate change, and, if so, what 
are they? How can those programs, regulations, and/or policies be 
modified, expanded, streamlined, or repealed to bolster resilience to 
the impacts of climate change?
    (3) Are there FEMA programs, regulations, and/or policies that do 
not promote environmental justice? How can those programs, regulations, 
and/or policies be modified, expanded, streamlined, or repealed to 
promote environmental justice?
    (4) Are there FEMA programs, regulations, and/or policies that are 
unnecessarily complicated or could be streamlined to achieve the 
objectives of equity for all (including people of color and others who 
have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely 
affected by persistent poverty and inequality), bolstering resilience 
to climate change, or addressing the disproportionately high and 
adverse climate-related impacts on disadvantaged communities in more 
efficient ways? If so, what are they and how can they be made less 
complicated and/or streamlined?
    (5) Are there any FEMA regulations and/or policies that create 
duplication, overlap, complexity, or inconsistent requirements within 
FEMA programs, other DHS components, or any other Federal Government 
agency that impact equity, resilience to the effects of climate change, 
and/or environmental justice? If so, what are they and how can they be 
improved or updated to meet the required objectives of equity, 
resiliency, and environmental justice?
    (6) Does FEMA currently collect information, use forms, or require 
documentation that impede access to FEMA programs and/or are not 
effective to achieve statutory, regulatory, and/or program objectives? 
If so, what are they and how can FEMA revise them to reduce burden, 
save time or costs, increase simplification and navigability, reduce 
confusion or frustration, and increase equity in access to FEMA 
programs and achieving statutory and/or regulatory objectives?
    (7) Are there FEMA regulations and/or policies that have been 
overtaken by technological developments? Can FEMA leverage new 
technologies to modify, streamline, or do away with existing regulatory 
and/or policy requirements? If so, what are they and how can FEMA use 
new technologies to achieve its statutory and regulatory objectives in 
light of the Executive orders cited?
    (8) Are there any FEMA regulations and/or policies that are 
duplicative, overlapping, or contain inconsistent requirements 
generally? Are there areas where FEMA's regulations create duplicative, 
overlapping, or difficult to navigate situations for individuals also 
navigating regulatory requirements of another Federal Government 
agency?
    (9) Are there existing sources of data that FEMA can use to 
evaluate the post-promulgation effects of regulations over time? Or, 
are there sources of data that FEMA can use to evaluate the effects of 
FEMA policies or regulations on equity for all, including individuals 
who belong to underserved communities?
    (10) What successful approaches to advance equity and climate 
resilience have been taken by State, local, Tribal, and territorial 
governments, and in what ways do FEMA's programs present barriers or 
opportunities to successful implementation of these approaches?
    (11) Are there FEMA regulations, programs, or processes that create 
barriers to mitigation, response, recovery, or resilience for a 
specific industry or sector of the economy, geographic location within 
the United States, or government type (e.g. a specific tribal or 
territorial government or a specific local government)?
    In addition to these general questions, FEMA seeks specific input 
on the programs described above.
Specific Questions
    (1) Individual Assistance: Are there regulations and/or policies 
that act as a barrier to people of color and others who have been 
historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by 
persistent poverty, inequality, and climate change?
    (2) Public Assistance: Are there measures FEMA could take to more 
effectively bolster or incentivize resilience to the impacts of climate 
change?
    (3) National Flood Insurance Program: Are there regulations and/or 
policies that disincentivize purchasing flood insurance, particularly 
by lower-income communities, communities of color, and Tribal 
communities? Are there measures FEMA could take to increase nationwide 
the number of flood-insured homes in the general population and 
particularly in lower-income communities, communities of color, and 
Tribal communities?
    (4) Hazard Mitigation Programs: Are there measures FEMA could take 
to prioritize funding to mitigate the disproportionate impact climate 
change has on the most vulnerable in society, particularly lower-income 
communities, communities of color, and Tribal communities?
    (5) Preparedness Grant Programs: Are there measures FEMA could take 
to improve our Preparedness Grant Programs to ensure the funding 
provided to our State and local partners and other stakeholders 
addresses the domestic terrorism threats currently faced, particularly 
when those threats impact or target groups that have been historically 
underserved or subjected to discrimination? What should FEMA address 
beyond the types of activities these grants support the priority areas 
on which we ask our State, local, and Tribal partners and other 
stakeholders to should focus; and the risk methodologies to use in 
determining how to allocate funding?
    FEMA notes that this notice is issued solely for information and 
program-planning purposes. Responses to this notice do not bind FEMA to 
any further actions related to the response.

Robert J. Fenton,
Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Administrator, Federal 
Emergency Management Agency.
[FR Doc. 2021-08444 Filed 4-21-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 9111-19-P