[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 38 (Wednesday, February 26, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 10685-10686]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-04220]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Federal Emergency Management Agency

44 CFR Part 206

[Docket ID FEMA-2014-0009]
RIN 1660-AA81


Amendment to the Public Assistance Program's Simplified 
Procedures Project Thresholds

AGENCY: Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is revising two 
dollar figures in its regulations governing the Public Assistance 
Program's project thresholds. FEMA is revising the monetary thresholds 
for when FEMA will process an application using ``simplified 
procedures.''

DATES: This rule is effective February 26, 2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Liza Davis, Associate Chief Counsel, 
Regulatory Affairs, Office of Chief Counsel, FEMA, 202-646-4046, 
liza.davis@fema.dhs.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: FEMA's Public Assistance program provides 
grants to State, Tribal, and local governments, as well as eligible 
private nonprofit organizations, for debris removal, emergency 
protective measures, and the repair, replacement, or restoration of 
disaster-damaged facilities after a Presidentially-declared major 
disaster.\1\ Each grant award is categorized as either a large or small 
project, which is determined by a monetary threshold set each year by 
FEMA pursuant to statute.\2\ The maximum threshold for FY2014 is 
$68,500; \3\ all projects below this amount are categorized as small 
projects, and all projects at or above this amount are categorized as 
large projects. In addition, each project must meet a minimum threshold 
of $1,000.\4\
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    \1\ The Public Assistance program is authorized by the Robert T. 
Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, as amended, 
42 U.S.C. 5170b, 5172, 5173, 5192.
    \2\ See 42 U.S.C. 5189; 44 CFR 206.203(c), 206.205. FEMA 
obligates money for a small project based on an estimate of the 
project cost; FEMA obligates money for a large project based on 
actual project costs as the project progresses and cost 
documentation is provided to FEMA. See 44 CFR 206.203(c); Public 
Assistance Guide, FEMA 322 (June 2007), Chapter 3, ``Applying for 
Public Assistance,'' ``Project Formulation'' available at http://www.fema.gov/public-assistance-local-state-tribal-and-non-profit/public-assistance-guide-3.
    \3\ See 78 FR 64232 (Oct. 28, 2013).
    \4\ 44 CFR 206.202(d)(2).
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    The Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013 (SRIA) \5\ required FEMA 
to analyze the Public Assistance project thresholds and, within one 
year of SRIA's passage, to submit a report to the Committee on 
Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives and 
the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the 
Senate with its findings.\6\ On January 29, 2014, FEMA submitted this 
report to Congress, and a copy is included in the docket for this rule 
on www.regulations.gov under docket ID FEMA-2014-0009.\7\ In the 
report, FEMA recommends a maximum threshold of $120,000, and a minimum 
threshold of $3,000.
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    \5\ Public Law 113-2, section 1107, codified in relevant part at 
42 U.S.C. 5189.
    \6\ See 42 U.S.C. 5189(b)(1).
    \7\ A copy of the report is also available at http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/90458.
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    SRIA requires FEMA to implement the new thresholds ``immediately'' 
following submission of the report to the Congress and ``without regard 
to chapter 5 of title 5, United States Code.'' \8\ Accordingly, this 
action updates FEMA's Public Assistance regulations with the new 
thresholds, which will both be adjusted annually to reflect changes in 
the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers published by the 
Department of Labor.\9\
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    \8\ See 42 U.S.C. 5189(b)(2)(A).
    \9\ See 5 U.S.C. 5189(b)(2)(B).
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    FEMA will be publishing a notice in the Federal Register in the 
near future to seek public comment on the report for the purpose of 
informing future revisions to the thresholds. SRIA requires FEMA to 
review the thresholds every three years.\10\
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    \10\ See 42 U.S.C. 5189(b)(3).
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Administrative Procedure Act

    Generally, the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) requires a 
Federal agency to provide the public with notice and the opportunity to 
comment on agency rulemakings.\11\ Section 1107 of SRIA, however, 
directs FEMA to ``immediately establish a threshold for eligibility 
under this section in an appropriate amount, without regard to [5 
U.S.C. chapter 5].'' Accordingly, this action is not covered by the 
APA's requirements related to notice-and-comment rulemaking, and FEMA 
is immediately establishing the new threshold for eligibility in the 
Code of Federal Regulations. By implementing the new thresholds via a 
final rule, FEMA meets the requirement of SRIA to implement the new 
thresholds ``immediately'' and without the delay of a proposed rule and 
public comment period.
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    \11\ See 5 U.S.C. 553.
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    The action is limited to updating two dollar figures related to 
FEMA's procedures for handling certain grants (the minimum and maximum 
thresholds for PA projects) and adding the annual update requirement 
for the minimum threshold to reflect changes in the Consumer Price 
Index for All Urban Consumers published by the Department of Labor.\12\
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    \12\ FEMA's current regulations require only a periodic review 
of the minimum threshold. See 44 CFR 206.202(d)(2). Section 1107 of 
SRIA, however, requires an annual update based on the Consumer Price 
Index for All Urban Consumers published by the Department of Labor.
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    For the same reasons discussed above, FEMA is implementing this 
change without the 30-day delayed effective date usually required under 
section 553(d)(3) of the APA, as such a delay would be contrary to 
section 1107's requirement to implement the thresholds ``immediately.''

List of Subjects in 44 CFR Part 206

    Administrative practice and procedure, Coastal zone, Community 
facilities, Disaster assistance, Fire prevention, Grant programs-
housing and community development, Housing, Insurance, 
Intergovernmental relations, Loan programs-housing and community 
development, Natural resources, Penalties, and Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Federal Emergency

[[Page 10686]]

Management Agency amends 44 CFR part 206 as follows:

PART 206--FEDERAL DISASTER ASSISTANCE

0
1. The authority citation for part 206 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency 
Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 5121 through 5207; Homeland Security Act 
of 2002, 6 U.S.C. 101 et seq.; Department of Homeland Security 
Delegation 9001.1; sec. 1105, Pub. L. 113-2, 127 Stat. 43 (42 U.S.C. 
5189a note).


0
2. In Sec.  206.202, in paragraph (d)(2), remove ``$1,000'' and add in 
its place ``$3,000'' and revise the second sentence to read as follows:


Sec.  206.202  Application procedures.

* * * * *
    (d) * * *
    (2) * * * Such $3,000 amount shall be adjusted annually to reflect 
changes in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers published 
by the Department of Labor.
* * * * *


Sec.  206.203  [Amended]

0
3. In Sec.  206.203, in paragraphs (c)(1) and (2), remove the number 
``$35,000'' and add, in its place, the number ``$120,000'' wherever it 
appears.

    Dated: February 20, 2014.
W. Craig Fugate,
Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency.
[FR Doc. 2014-04220 Filed 2-25-14; 8:45 am]
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