[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 48 (Wednesday, March 12, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 13970-13975]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-05437]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Federal Emergency Management Agency

44 CFR Part 206

[Docket ID: FEMA-2014-0013]
RIN 1660-AA80


Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP); Program Administration by 
States

AGENCY: Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

ACTION: Advance notice of proposed rulemaking.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is seeking 
public comment on implementing a provision of the Robert T. Stafford 
Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act regarding State 
administration of the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). The 
provision directs FEMA to establish criteria to delegate authority to 
States to administer HMGP. FEMA is seeking input from the public to 
help inform the development of this new method of program delivery.

DATES: Written comments must be submitted on or before May 12, 2014.

ADDRESSES: mailto: You may submit comments, identified by Docket ID: 
FEMA-2014-0013, by one of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Mail/Hand Delivery/Courier: Office of Chief Counsel, 
Federal Emergency

[[Page 13971]]

Management Agency, 500 C Street SW., Washington, DC 20472-3100.
    To avoid duplication, please use only one of these methods. All 
comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. For 
instructions on submitting comments, see the Public Participation 
portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cecelia Rosenberg, Federal Insurance 
and Mitigation Administration, DHS/FEMA, 1800 South Bell Street, 
Arlington, VA 20598-3015. Phone: (202) 646-3321. Email: 
Cecelia.Rosenberg@fema.dhs.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Public Participation

    Interested persons are invited to participate in this rulemaking by 
submitting written data, views, or arguments on all aspects of the 
advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM). FEMA specifically 
invites comments that relate to the economic, environmental, or 
federalism effects that might result from implementation of any final 
rule stemming from this ANPRM. Comments most helpful to FEMA will 
address one or more of the questions identified in this notice, and 
will include as much explanation of the commenter's views as possible. 
All comments received will be posted, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov and will include any personal information you have 
provided. If you submit a comment, please include the Docket ID for 
this rulemaking, FEMA-2014-0013.

A. Privacy Act

    Please be aware that anyone is able to search the electronic form 
of all comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the 
individual who submitted the comment (or signed the comment, if 
submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). 
For more information, you may want to review the Federal Docket 
Management System system of records notice published in the Federal 
Register on March 24, 2005 (70 FR 15086).

 B. Submission of Sensitive Information

    Do not submit comments that include trade secrets, or confidential 
commercial or financial information to the public regulatory docket. 
Please submit such comments separately from other comments on the rule. 
Comments containing this type of information should be appropriately 
marked as containing such information and submitted by mail to the 
address specified in the ADDRESSES section of this ANPRM. If FEMA 
receives a request to examine or copy this information, FEMA will treat 
it as any other request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 
U.S.C. 552, and the Department of Homeland Security's FOIA regulation 
found in 6 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 5 and FEMA's 
regulations found in 44 CFR part 5.

II. Background

A. General Description of the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program

    The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP or Program) provides 
grants to States, Indian Tribal governments, and U.S. Territories (all 
of which are collectively called ``State'' or ``States'' in this 
notice) to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major 
disaster declaration. The HMGP is intended to reduce the loss of life 
and property resulting from natural hazards and to help States 
implement mitigation measures during recovery from a disaster. The HMGP 
is authorized by Section 404 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief 
and Emergency Assistance Act (the Stafford Act), 42 U.S.C. 5170c. 
States wishing to participate in the program must request an HMGP grant 
as part of their request for disaster assistance. See 44 CFR 
206.36(c)(4), 206.40(a), and 206.432.
    HMGP funds may be used for mitigation planning and mitigation 
projects that will reduce or eliminate damage, loss, or suffering from 
future disasters. Projects must contribute to a long-term solution to 
an existing or anticipated hazard. For example, elevation of a home to 
reduce the risk of flood damages is considered hazard mitigation, but 
buying sandbags and pumps to fight the flood is not. In addition, a 
project's anticipated benefits must be equal to or more than the cost 
of implementing the project, which is demonstrated through a benefit 
cost analysis that compares the cost of the project to the benefits 
anticipated to occur over the lifetime of the project. Funds may be 
used to protect either public or private property. In the post-disaster 
context, the quicker the program is implemented, the more effectively 
it aids individuals and communities in their recovery efforts.
    Both at the time of the request for assistance and at the time FEMA 
obligates funds to the State, the State must have a FEMA-approved State 
Mitigation Plan. Section 322 of the Stafford Act, 42 U.S.C. 5165(a). As 
part of the State planning process, States identify and rank mitigation 
activities that the State will support if funding is available. HMGP 
project applications, known as subapplications, are developed and 
submitted to the State by State agencies, local jurisdictions, Indian 
Tribal governments, and private non-profit organizations. Section 322 
of the Stafford Act, 42 U.S.C. 5165(b) requires local or Tribal 
governments to each have a mitigation plan as a condition of receiving 
HMGP funding. Proposed projects must be consistent with the goals and 
objectives of the State Mitigation Plan and relevant Local or Tribal 
Mitigation Plan. The projects selected must also meet minimum criteria 
identified in 44 CFR part 206. The criteria are designed to ensure that 
cost-effective and beneficial projects are selected for funding.
    To properly manage its HMGP grant, the State is required by 44 CFR 
206.437 to prepare an Administrative Plan, which is different than a 
State Mitigation Plan. The Administrative Plan details the State's HMGP 
processes and procedures. It governs program operations and describes 
how the State will ensure that proposed projects meet all regulatory 
criteria. Among other requirements, the Administrative Plan must 
identify the general staffing and resource needs to manage the HMGP; 
provide details on how the State will seek, review, and select 
applications for projects; describe how the State will forward selected 
applications to FEMA; and describe how the State will manage projects 
approved by FEMA.
    The Stafford Act sets forth criteria to calculate the amount of 
funding available for the HMGP under any particular declaration for 
disaster assistance. FEMA may provide a State with an HMGP grant that 
is an amount up to 15 percent of the estimated total disaster grants 
awarded by FEMA for the major disaster. States may qualify for a larger 
percentage if they have an Enhanced State Mitigation Plan. 42 U.S.C. 
5170c. In addition to meeting the State Mitigation Plan requirements, 
the Enhanced plan must demonstrate, among other factors, that the State 
is committed to a comprehensive mitigation program, that the State uses 
available mitigation funding effectively, and that it is capable of 
managing the increased funding.
    For a declared disaster, FEMA can fund up to 75 percent of eligible 
costs for FEMA-approved projects. The State must provide a 25 percent 
match, which can be cash, in-kind, or fashioned from a combination of 
cash and in-kind sources. The State generally sets its own deadline for 
subapplication submittal, but all subapplications must be submitted by 
the State to FEMA within

[[Page 13972]]

12 months from the date of disaster declaration. 44 CFR 206.436(d). 
After a disaster, the State is encouraged to coordinate HMGP activities 
with recovery and reconstruction efforts so that States can maximize 
mitigation opportunities.
    Upon Presidential approval of a State's request for disaster 
assistance and upon signing of a FEMA/State HMGP grant management 
agreement, the State becomes a grantee and is responsible for providing 
and managing subgrants from the overall grant award to eligible 
entities. The State establishes funding priorities and criteria for 
selecting proposed mitigation activities, solicits program interest, 
and helps subapplicants determine eligibility and develop their 
subapplications. Eligible subapplicants include State agencies, local 
governments, Indian Tribal Governments, and some private not-for-profit 
organizations (all of which are also known as ``program 
participants''). The State, as grantee, establishes deadlines for 
submission of those subapplications, and selects and forwards 
subapplications to FEMA for final project eligibility review. FEMA 
reviews the entire subapplication, with an emphasis on technical 
feasibility--whether the project will substantially reduce the risk of 
future damage--as well as engineering and cost-effectiveness. 
Concurrently, FEMA reviews the subapplication to ensure that it 
contains all required information regarding potential impacts to 
environmental and historic resources, and that FEMA has the necessary 
information to fulfill its environmental planning and historic 
preservation (EHP) review responsibilities.
    Prior to making funding decisions for the HMGP, FEMA is required by 
law to evaluate the impacts of the proposed mitigation action on the 
quality of the human environment. The EHP requirements include 
compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 
4321 et seq., and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act 
(NHPA), 16 U.S.C. 470 et seq., and the Endangered Species Act (ESA), 16 
U.S.C. 1531 et seq. Other requirements contained in Executive Orders 
ensure that FEMA evaluates and avoids adverse impacts to floodplains 
and wetlands, and avoids adverse and disproportionate environmental 
impacts on low-income and minority populations. Executive Order (EO) 
11988 Floodplain Management, EO 11990 Protection of Wetlands, and EO 
12898 Environmental Justice for Low Income and Minority Populations.
    If a subapplication is approved by FEMA, funds are obligated to the 
State as part of the overall grant. The State then disburses the 
funding to the successful subapplicant who becomes the subgrantee. The 
State must ensure that subgrantees adhere to all programmatic, 
administrative and audit requirements. The State does this by 
monitoring and evaluating compliance with programmatic requirements and 
monitoring the progress of completing funded projects. The State 
submits quarterly reports to FEMA indicating the status and completion 
date for each approved project. The State must ensure project 
completion and closeout, or settlement, of all the financial 
obligations related to the subgrant. In addition, the State evaluates 
the effectiveness of completed projects as part of their mitigation 
planning processes.
    States perform all of these functions in a managerial role as they 
do not make the final eligibility and funding decisions. Those 
decisions fall within FEMA's purview, as the overall administrator of 
the grant.

B. Early Steps Towards Delegation--The Managing State Concept

    In 1998, FEMA introduced the Managing State Concept (MSC) for 
implementation of the HMGP in selected States. Thirteen States that 
wished to assume a greater role in the application review and approval 
process participated in the MSC. No Indian Tribal governments or 
Territories participated in the MSC. The MSC was seen as a means to 
enhance FEMA-State collaborative partnerships, and an opportunity to 
provide States with an increased level of flexibility in program 
management. The MSC was also aimed at streamlining the implementation 
of the HMGP, which is a significant consideration for program delivery 
in the aftermath of a disaster; and facilitates incorporating 
mitigation into the recovery process.
    FEMA first initiated the MSC through the use of three individual 
FEMA-State operational agreements. The first agreement was entered into 
in May 1998 with Florida. In August 1998, North Dakota and Ohio signed 
agreements. Each agreement was formalized through a Memorandum of 
Understanding (MOU) specifically tailored to each State.
    During implementation of the MSC, FEMA conducted partnership 
evaluations to review the MSC's progress. These evaluations included 
State staffs, FEMA program and financial specialists, attorneys, and 
Inspector General auditors. Based on these evaluations, in March of 
2000 FEMA expanded the MSC to other interested States. Fundamental 
elements from the three initial agreements served as the basis for 
agreements with the new States. These fundamentals included negotiating 
Managing State roles based on a State's capabilities and continuing 
partnership evaluations as an essential element. Ultimately, ten 
additional States were selected for participation.
    Significantly, under the MSC, FEMA retained program administration 
responsibilities including final approval of subapplications and 
environmental reviews. The MSC consisted of agreements to implement 
processes that would expedite program delivery, but FEMA still retained 
sole authority to administer the program. Eventually, States stopped 
participating in the program for various reasons, and FEMA effectively 
dissolved the MSC with the publication of the 2010 Hazard Mitigation 
Assistance Unified Guidance.

C. Next Steps Toward Delegation--Program Administration by States

    On October 30, 2000, Congress passed the Disaster Mitigation Act of 
2000, Public Law 106-390, 114 Stat. 1552 (Oct. 30, 2000). The Act 
amended Section 404 of the Stafford Act by adding statutory authority 
for HMGP ``Program Administration by the States'' (PAS), including 
Indian Tribal governments and Territories. The amendment contained many 
provisions similar to the MSC but with several significant changes.
    Specifically, the amendments to Section 404 of the Stafford Act 
direct FEMA to delegate program administration responsibilities to 
eligible, interested States. The amendments require the President to 
establish criteria for the approval of requests. The criteria, which 
must be developed in consultation with States and local governments, 
must require, at a minimum, that the State have an approved State 
Hazard Mitigation Plan, demonstrated ability to manage the HMGP, and 
demonstrated commitment to mitigation activities. Finally, the 
amendments provide FEMA with the authority to withdraw delegated 
program responsibilities if the State is not administering the program 
in a satisfactory manner. These PAS provisions provide FEMA with a 
statutory mandate to advance beyond the former MSC and fully develop 
State administration of the HMGP.
    Since passage of the Disaster Mitigation Act, FEMA did not 
implement PAS because it was implementing the MSC. After the MSC was 
terminated, one State expressed interest in PAS participation. That 
State submitted an application to FEMA, but

[[Page 13973]]

criteria had not been developed for that method of program delivery so 
the application could not be adequately reviewed.
    In January of 2013, the President signed into law the Sandy 
Recovery Improvement Act of 2013 (SRIA), Public Law 113-2, 127 Stat. 4 
(Jan. 29, 2013). SRIA amended Section 404(c) of the Stafford Act, 
adding a provision allowing FEMA to carry out a pilot program for PAS 
if FEMA determines it is necessary to expeditiously implement PAS and 
until such time as the Administrator promulgates regulations to 
implement PAS. Consistent with the SRIA mandate, FEMA is currently 
carrying out a pilot program for PAS.
    Concurrently and consistent with the authority under the Stafford 
Act to promulgate program implementation regulations, FEMA is 
publishing this ANPRM and requesting the public's input on a number of 
general PAS-related concepts to develop a comprehensive program and 
implementing regulations.
    SRIA's amendment to Section 404(c) applies to all major disasters 
or emergencies declared on or after SRIA's enactment date, January 29, 
2013, and for major disasters or declarations for which the application 
period for processing requests for HMGP funding is still open as of 
SRIA's enactment date. Under the PAS pilot, FEMA delegates certain 
program responsibilities to the State. Participation in the program is 
voluntary and States can select the grants management activities they 
would like to perform. To participate in the program, States must have 
an approved State Mitigation Plan, demonstrated ability to manage the 
HMGP, and demonstrated commitment to mitigation activities.
    To determine whether a State has a ``demonstrated ability to manage 
the HMGP'' FEMA reviews HMGP grants activity within the past four 
quarters from the date of the State's request. FEMA's review for State 
demonstrated ability to manage HMGP includes reviewing documentation to 
determine the following:
     Whether in the past the State has submitted (and FEMA has 
approved) the State HMGP Administrative Plan within 90 days of the 
disaster declaration date;
     Whether the State has submitted applications in an 
electronic data system such as FEMA's National Emergency Management 
Information System (NEMIS) or has completed a FEMA data collection form 
and application review checklist (or beginning in FY13, the Eligibility 
and Completeness checklist);
     Whether the State has submitted an Eligibility and 
Completeness checklist for all applications;
     Whether the State has provided requested information to 
FEMA for an application, enabling FEMA to approve the application 
within 60 days of subgrant application submittal for at least 75% or 
more of the applications (depending on the number of applications 
submitted); Whether 100% of the applications can be approved by FEMA 
within 90 days of application;
     Whether within the past five years from the date of 
application submittal, State staff have completed FEMA sponsored 
trainings (for instance, on Hazard Mitigation Assistance, Benefit Cost 
Analysis, Environment and Historic Preservation and Mitigation 
Planning);
     If the State has submitted a request to extend the 
application period, whether the request was submitted 30 days before 
the end of the application period; and
     If the State submitted a request to extend the period of 
performance, whether the request was submitted at least 60 days before 
the end of the application period and/or period of performance.
    A State must meet additional requirements before FEMA will delegate 
responsibility for specific activities. Depending on the nature of the 
requested delegation, FEMA's review may include determining the 
following:
     Whether past quarterly progress and financial reports are 
complete and were submitted on time;
     Whether past extension requests were supported by 
information in quarterly progress reports;
     Whether subgrant close-out and financial reconciliation 
were completed within six months of work completed;
     Whether grant program and financial close-out activities 
were completed within 90 days of the end of the period of performance;
     Whether there were no drawdowns requested or performed 
after the liquidation period has ended;
     Whether financial procedures and systems meet FEMA grants 
management standards;
     Whether there are any major findings on the last single 
audit obtained by the State related to Hazard Mitigation Assistance 
activities; and
     Whether all local hazard mitigation plans submitted to 
FEMA in the past four quarters are at least ``approvable pending 
adoption.''
    Under the pilot, applicants are required to use FEMA forms or 
documentation agreed upon by FEMA for application completeness review, 
benefit cost analysis, progress reporting, and financial reporting.
    To document a State's ``Demonstrated Commitment to Mitigation 
Activities,'' FEMA requires States to provide documentation of existing 
processes and activities in the following categories: (1) State 
management of a mitigation, hazard safety, and/or insurance program; 
(2) planning capability and authority to support risk reduction in the 
planning processes of local communities (e.g., statewide building 
codes); (3) State provision of resources and funding to support 
mitigation activities within local communities; and (4) State 
commitment to floodplain management.
    If the State PAS application is approved, the State enters into an 
operational agreement with FEMA and updates the Administrative Plan to 
document how the State will implement the HMGP with reduced oversight 
from FEMA. As part of the rulemaking process, FEMA will use insight 
gained from implementing the pilot to draft program regulations.

D. Developing PAS Regulations

    To successfully implement PAS, FEMA must determine how the program 
will operate, and how available resources can facilitate program 
performance. FEMA performs numerous and varied responsibilities in the 
administration of the HMGP. These include keeping States informed of 
the anticipated amount of available funding, reviewing subapplications 
selected by a State, and deciding if the subapplication proposals meet 
program requirements and merit funding. As part of this process, FEMA 
conducts detailed reviews of project information, examines the 
schedule, scope of work, engineering and technical feasibility, and 
cost-effectiveness, and performs environmental analyses. All of these 
reviews can affect a project's scope of work, budget, and delivery. 
Following an award of subgrant funding to the State, FEMA provides 
additional technical assistance and monitors quarterly reports to 
ensure subgrants are implemented as planned and on schedule.
    To develop PAS, FEMA is exploring the extent to which its 
determinations regarding cost-effectiveness, technical feasibility and 
engineering, and final eligibility and funding can be made at the State 
level. FEMA is also exploring whether there are EHP responsibilities 
that FEMA may legally delegate to the States under applicable Federal 
law, and that the grantee or subgrantee would be interested in 
assuming. Consistent with Federal EHP laws,

[[Page 13974]]

including NEPA, the NHPA, the ESA, as well as EOs 11988 (Floodplain 
Management) and 11990 (Protection of Wetlands), FEMA has final review 
and approval authority on the environmental impact of a proposed 
Federal action or undertaking. Only FEMA can perform certain EHP 
responsibilities, such as formal consultation with the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service (USFWS) under Section 7 of the ESA, or preparing an 
environmental impact statement under NEPA. However, FEMA may delegate 
EHP responsibilities related to preparation for environmental review to 
the States. Those responsibilities include providing enough background 
information to assess the environmental impact of the Federal action on 
historic properties, endangered and threatened species, critical 
habitats, wetlands, floodplains, and on low income and minority 
populations. The responsibilities could also include initiating 
communication with appropriate Federal agencies, such as the USFWS, or 
United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and with State 
regulatory agencies including the State or Tribal Historic Preservation 
Office for the purposes of allowing those agencies to identify any 
potential impacts from the project, and to allow FEMA to prepare the 
required documentation on project impacts and decisions.
    PAS eligibility criteria may consider the quality of State planning 
activities (administrative and mitigation planning), the availability 
of State financial resources for program administration, and a State's 
ability to perform all grant objectives in a timely manner. The PAS 
program will continue to support HMGP principles of fairness and 
transparency, and incorporate long term recovery. FEMA will provide 
appropriate guidance tools, and include standards for meeting and 
maintaining PAS status, and processing appeals. In summary, to 
participate in PAS a State should demonstrate an expanded ability to 
manage the Program to ensure that they will be able to successfully 
assume Federal-level responsibilities.

III. Questions for Commenters

    FEMA welcomes public comment on all aspects of PAS, but would 
derive particular benefit from commenters addressing one or more of the 
following questions:
    1. Criteria for PAS Designation: FEMA seeks input on how to assess 
the State's ability to manage the HMGP throughout the program 
lifecycle. What approval criteria and documentation should FEMA 
consider when reviewing State requests for PAS designation? What 
metrics should be used? How should these be measured? How far back 
should past performance be measured (the last four quarters, 3 years, 5 
years)? Possible considerations are:
    a. The extent of technical and organizational resources committed 
to the program, such as whether staff have completed FEMA Hazard 
Mitigation Assistance-related trainings;
    b. Ability to prepare and approve cost effective applications and 
to adhere to technical and program requirements; ability to use 
anticipated benefits or losses avoided in ranking projects for funding; 
ability to calculate actual losses avoided as a result of completed 
mitigation activities;
    c. Ability to submit complete and eligible subapplications, 
prepared by the State or local communities, within 12 months of the 
disaster declaration date and any additional extensions (for example, 
whether FEMA needs to request additional information to complete 
subapplication reviews, and if the State uses the minimum application 
review checklist to validate that subapplications are complete);
    d. Ability to perform EHP responsibilities that can be delegated to 
States by FEMA under applicable Federal laws;
    e. Past experience in assisting and monitoring local governments in 
developing and completing mitigation activities (whether there is a 
monitoring and auditing process in place, and whether quarterly reports 
are submitted to FEMA on time);
    f. Ability to maintain sound financial management (no major 
findings in audit reports);
    g. Ability to complete the grant in the regulatory timeframe (for 
instance, closeout activities are completed 90 days after the end of 
the period of performance, extension requests are supported by 
information in quarterly reports, and no more than two six-month 
extensions are required);
    h. Ability to close out the subgrants and the grant within the 
existing programmatic timeframe (i.e., whether subgrant activities are 
closed out within 90 days after the activities have been completed);
    i. Ability to manage other FEMA grants especially when the State 
has no recent experience with HMGP (evaluating past performance using 
data from Flood Mitigation Assistance Grants, Pre-Disaster Mitigation 
Grants, or other FEMA grants).
    2. Enhanced State or Tribal Mitigation Plan: What should the 
relationship be, if any, between having a FEMA-approved Enhanced 
Mitigation Plan and receiving a PAS designation? Questions include the 
following:
    a. Should PAS approval be required before FEMA approves an Enhanced 
Plan?
    b. Should a FEMA-approved Enhanced Plan be required for PAS 
designation?
    c. Should an Enhanced Plan have no relationship to PAS designation?
    d. Should there be another relationship between the two?
    e. If Enhanced Plans are not required, how should States document 
losses avoided for completed mitigation projects?
    3. Commitment to Mitigation: FEMA seeks input on how to assess the 
State's demonstration of commitment to mitigation. Possible examples of 
commitment to mitigation include State management of mitigation, hazard 
safety or insurance programs, statewide planning or building code 
authorities, State resources that are dedicated to support mitigation 
activities in local communities, and demonstrated State commitment to 
floodplain management. What documentation should FEMA consider in 
reviewing a State's request and granting a PAS designation?
    4. Model Federal Performance Measures: What performance measures 
from other State-administered Federal programs could be considered or 
incorporated in PAS designation requests?
    5. Administrative Planning: FEMA's program regulations at 44 CFR 
206.437 and the State Administrative Plan set out minimum criteria. 
What additional elements, if any, should FEMA consider requiring in 
Administrative Plans for States with PAS designation?
    6. Decision Making Processes: When States have an expanded role in 
application approval, how can States demonstrate impartial and 
consistent selection and management of applications when they are also 
eligible to be program participants and submit and manage their own 
subapplications (independent panels, blind applications, cost benefit 
ratio or other means)? What decision making documentation should FEMA 
consider?
    7. Interaction: FEMA seeks input on the level and type of 
coordination necessary between eligible applicants and the public where 
the State has an expanded role in administering HMGP. What should be 
the level of interaction between FEMA, the State, local governments, 
and other program participants regarding day-to-day program 
administration (e.g., solicitation of applications, progress reporting, 
record-keeping, and closeout)?

[[Page 13975]]

    8. Factors Affecting Delegation: Should PAS designation include 
limits or factors (such as the magnitude of the declared disaster or 
the number of open events) that would affect the level of State 
responsibility granted by FEMA? If so, what should these limits or 
factors be?
    9. EHP Requirements and Responsibilities Under PAS: FEMA seeks 
input from States and other stakeholders as to which EHP 
responsibilities should be delegated to States under applicable Federal 
law. For instance:
    a. Should States be able to initiate communication with appropriate 
agencies such as the USFWS, USACE, or State regulatory agencies (for 
instance, the State or Tribal Historic Preservation Office) for the 
purposes of identifying potential project environmental impacts or 
other considerations within these agencies' jurisdiction?
    b. Should States be delegated the responsibility to collect 
information necessary for performing categorical exclusions and the 
eight-step floodplain or wetland analyses?
    c. Could the States, rather than FEMA, engage other Federal 
agencies to streamline unified review where possible?
    d. What abilities and resources are needed to assume these types of 
responsibilities?
    e. What guidance from FEMA would States need to assume these or 
other similar EHP responsibilities?
    f. What methods or processes from other Federal programs should be 
considered?
    g. Are there existing State processes that perform a similar 
function?
    10. Performance Evaluation: FEMA seeks input on criteria to assess 
performance of those States that receive PAS designations (e.g., grants 
management, technical and engineering feasibility, cost effectiveness, 
plan requirements, and EHP responsibilities and requirements):
    a. What elements/metrics should be used in this assessment?
    b. How frequently should FEMA assess a State's performance under 
PAS (quarterly, annually, 3 years, 5 years, or other)?
    c. What measures should FEMA use to address or correct deficiencies 
in performance?
    d. What level of monitoring or oversight should FEMA use to assess 
compliance with Federal EHP requirements?
    11. Program Evaluation: How could the analysis of program benefits 
(economic, environmental, public health and safety, equity) justifying 
program costs be an indicator of state performance?
    12. Significant Non-compliance: FEMA seeks input on what would 
constitute a significant non-compliance deficiency warranting temporary 
withdrawal or full termination of PAS designation. Areas of concern 
include subgrant eligibility determinations, cost effectiveness 
reviews, grant management, plan requirements, and EHP responsibilities 
and requirements. Under what circumstances should failure to meet 
requirements and responsibilities established by FEMA result in removal 
of a PAS designation? What criteria should FEMA consider using for PAS 
reinstatement? What other remedies should FEMA consider if a PAS 
jurisdiction fails to comply with Program requirements?
    13. Electronic Systems: What, if any, are the States' concerns 
regarding the use of existing FEMA grant reporting and management 
electronic systems (such as NEMIS) when mandated for PAS participation?
    14. Participation: What factors could FEMA consider and use to 
facilitate and encourage State participation in PAS?
    15. Tribal Considerations: What factors should FEMA consider and 
use to encourage Tribal participation in PAS? What are the potential 
challenges for Tribes in applying for and maintaining PAS designation?
    16. Challenges and Resources: What are the potential challenges for 
States in maintaining PAS designation (such as keeping key personnel, 
covering multiple disaster and recovery needs, or liability concerns)? 
What resources do States need to successfully implement PAS (management 
cost support, training, guidance, job-aids, or other resources)?
    17. Program Participants Impacts: How would program participants be 
impacted when their State administers HMGP under a PAS designation? 
What are the potential benefits (increased access to funding, decreased 
duplication, faster obligation of funding, or other benefits)? What are 
the potential costs (e.g., increased time and paperwork, longer 
obligation timeframes)?
    18. State Impacts: How would States be impacted by administering 
HMGP under a PAS designation? What are the potential benefits? What are 
the potential costs?
    19. State Interest: For FEMA's State, Indian Tribal government and 
Territory stakeholders: Would your State or Tribe consider applying for 
the PAS option for your next disaster declaration?
    20. Overall Effect: Do you think PAS would be beneficial in 
streamlining the provision of funding under the HMGP? Do you think PAS 
would be beneficial in implementing more effective hazard mitigation 
projects? If so, how?

IV. Conclusion

    Comments most helpful to FEMA will address one or more of the 
questions identified above, and will include a detailed explanation of 
the commenter's views. FEMA also invites comments that relate to the 
economic, environmental, or federalism effects that commenters believe 
might result from any PAS program implementation model. All comments 
received will be considered by FEMA in designing future PAS program 
implementation regulations.

    Dated: March 6, 2014.
W. Craig Fugate,
Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency.
[FR Doc. 2014-05437 Filed 3-11-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 9110-13-P