Department of Housing and Urban Development August 20, 2014 – Federal Register Recent Federal Regulation Documents

Environmental Compliance Recordkeeping Requirements
Document Number: 2014-19652
Type: Rule
Date: 2014-08-20
Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
This final rule revises the regulations governing the format used for conducting the required environmental reviews for HUD program and policy actions. HUD's current regulations require that HUD staff document environmental review compliance using form HUD-4128. Recipients receiving HUD assistance and other entities responsible for conducting environmental reviews (responsible entities) are currently allowed to either use HUD-recommended formats or develop equivalent formats for documenting environmental review compliance. The reference to a specific form number in part 50 restricts HUD's ability to adopt alternative form designations and forms, while authorizing the use of alternate forms makes it difficult for HUD to assess, compare, and collect data on responsible entities' environmental review records. Despite being applicable to different parties, environmental review responsibilities under parts 50 and 58 are substantively similar. In light of that, the final rule gives the Departmental Environmental Clearance Officer (DECO) the authority to create one standardized format for use in reviews and authorize exceptions, thereby eliminating unnecessary distinctions between reviews completed by HUD employees and responsible entities. This final rule also makes a technical amendment by making the steps required to prepare an environmental assessment in HUD's regulations consistent with the ``Environmental Assessment'' definition provided in the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).