CoC and ESG Environmental Review

Virtual Binders

Environmental Review Overview

This binder provides information on what an environmental review is, when and by whom it must be conducted, and what level of review is likely to be necessary. See Orientation to Environmental Reviews for general information.

An environmental review is the process of reviewing a project and its potential environmental impacts to determine whether it meets federal, state, and local environmental standards.

Environmental review requirements are specified in the CoC Program Interim Rule at 24 CFR 578.31 and in the ESG Program Interim Rule at 24 CFR 576.407(d)*. The underlying environmental review requirements are generally the same for the CoC and ESG Programs; some of the resources identified in this binder are specific to one program or the other.

Looking for definitions of the common CoC and ESG Program terms referenced throughout the Virtual Binders?

Virtual Binders Glossary

*The CoC Program and ESG Program Interim Rules currently include references to 24 CFR Part 50, which assigns HUD all environmental review responsibilities. However, in July 2012, the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” (MAP-21), (Public Law 112-141) made several changes to HUD’s homeless assistance programs, including authorization to permit units of general local government (“Responsible Entities”) to assume HUD environmental review responsibilities in accordance with 24 CFR Part 58. Now, recipients or other Responsible Entities assume environmental review responsibilities.

The 46 minute video below, (which you can also access along with the accompanying slides on the HUD Exchange training page) provides a comprehensive review of the Environmental Review requirements for the CoC Program.

There is no ESG-specific video or training. However, the Basics of a Part 58 Environmental Review for HUD-Assisted Projects Webinar is applicable for the ESG Program. Much of the content in the CoC Program video and training materials pertains to environmental review generally and would also pertain to the ESG Program.

Required Timing of Environmental Reviews

CoC Program

An environmental review must be conducted for all projects for which CoC Program funds are being requested before those funds (including non-HUD funds) are committed to the project. This review will be conducted after the project has been conditionally selected by HUD and prior to execution of the grant agreement.

ESG Program

The environmental review must be completed before any ESG Program funds are expended (including costs incurred that will be reimbursed with ESG funding). Further, the environmental review must be completed before the commitment of funds results in a choice limiting action.

What is a Choice Limiting Action?

HUD defines a choice limiting action as one that may have an adverse impact on the environment or limit the choice of reasonable alternatives. A choice limiting action may include, but is not limited to, signing a lease agreement, real property acquisition, rehabilitation, repair, demolition, disposition, or new construction. Real property acquisition, new construction, disposition, and demolition are not eligible ESG Program costs; however, for the purposes of environmental review, projects are based on the aggregation of all activities that are included in the scope of the environmental review. So even if ESG Program funds are only used to pay for a portion of the overall project, recipients and subrecipients should still be aware of the non-ESG eligible activities involved that are considered choice limiting actions. Activities listed at 24 CFR 58.35(b) that are Categorically Excluded Not Subject To 58.5 (e.g., Tenant-Based Rental Assistance, provision of services) are not choice limiting actions.