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RULE §375.61Environmental Review Process

(a) Policy and purpose. This subchapter governs the environmental review of projects funded in whole or in part by the CWSRF. Environmental review of all proposed infrastructure projects is a condition of the use of CWSRF financial assistance and is subject to annual audits by the EPA. This subchapter follows the procedures established by the EPA for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act set forth at 40 CFR Part 6. The environmental review is subject to public comment. The Applicant, at all times throughout the design, construction, and operation of the project, shall comply with the findings resulting from the environmental review.

(b) Timing. The environmental review process is a component of the planning phase and must be completed prior to the executive administrator's approval of the Applicant's engineering feasibility report.

(c) Types of environmental findings. At the culmination of the environmental review process described in this subchapter, the Board will issue one of the following findings:

  (1) a Categorical Exclusion:

    (A) based on review of information submitted by the Applicant; and

    (B) the eligibility criteria described in §375.62 of this subchapter.

  (2) a Finding of No Significant Impact:

    (A) based on review of the Applicant's Environmental Information Document; and

    (B) the executive administrator's Environmental Assessment;

  (3) a Record of Decision: based on review of the Environmental Impact Statement prepared by the Applicant's third party contractor; or

  (4) a Statement of Findings:

    (A) based on review of a previous environmental finding for the proposed project;

    (B) based on review of proposed project modifications for consistency with a previous environmental finding; and/or

    (C) to correct, clarify, or modify an environmental finding.

(d) General review by the executive administrator.

  (1) The executive administrator shall ensure that an inter-disciplinary, inter-agency, and public review is conducted consistent with the NEPA. The purpose of this review is to ensure that the proposed project will comply with the applicable local, state, and federal laws and regulations relating to the identification of potential environmental impacts of a proposed project and the necessary steps required to mitigate such impacts. The scope of the environmental review will depend upon the type of proposed action, the reasonable alternatives, and the type of environmental impacts.

  (2) For all environmental findings that are five years old or older, and for which the proposed infrastructure project has not yet been implemented, the executive administrator must re-evaluate the proposed financial assistance application as well as the environmental conditions and public comment to determine whether to conduct a supplemental environmental review in compliance with the NEPA, or to reaffirm the original finding. If there has been substantial change in the proposed infrastructure project that is relevant to environmental concerns, or if there are significant new circumstances, changes in federal environmental cross-cutter requirements that affect the environmental finding, or information relevant to environmental concerns, the executive administrator must conduct a supplemental environmental review and complete an appropriate finding in compliance with the NEPA. The executive administrator may consider environmental findings issued by other entities.

(e) Equivalency projects. The Board will inform EPA when consultation or coordination by EPA with other federal agencies is necessary to resolve issues regarding compliance with applicable federal authorities.

Source Note: The provisions of this §375.61 adopted to be effective September 8, 2010, 35 TexReg 8126; amended to be effective July 30, 2012, 37 TexReg 5615; amended to be effective July 4, 2016, 41 TexReg 4853

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