Environmental Policies and Procedures
Rural Development, a mission area within the U.S. Department of Agriculture comprised of the Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS), Rural Housing Service (RHS), and Rural Utilities Service (RUS), hereafter referred to as the Agency, has unified and updated the environmental policies and procedures covering all Agency programs by consolidating two existing Agency regulations that implement the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other applicable environmental requirements. These final rules supplement the regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the regulations of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation(ACHP), associated environmental statutes, Executive Orders and Departmental Regulations. The majority of the changes to the existing rules relate to the categorical exclusion provisions in the Agency's procedures for implementing NEPA. These changes consolidate the provisions of the Agency's two current NEPA rules, and better conform the Agency's regulations, particularly for those actions listed as categorical exclusions, to the Agency's current activities and recent experiences and to CEQ's Memorandum for Heads of Federal Departments and Agencies entitled ``Establishing, Applying, and Revising Categorical Exclusions under the National Environmental Policy Act'' issued on November 23, 2010.
Underlying Programs Cross-References to the Strategic Economic and Community Development; Technical Amendments
Rural Development (RD) is correcting an oversight of omitting cross-reference to the Strategic Economic and Community Development priority in the underlying programs when it published the rule for the priority.