Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs - Building Homes and Strengthening Communities

Environmental Review and Clearance

All HUD federally-assisted projects are subject to the requirements for environmental review and documentation as outlined in 24 CFR Part 58 (www.ecfr.gov)

Visit the Announcements page for:
» New Mandatory Submission Format
» Vapor Encroachment Screening
» Choice Limiting Actions Alert

Programs Administered by the Department that Require Environmental Clearance

  • HOME Investment Partnerships
  • Office of Colonia Initiatives (CDBG funds)
  • Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG)
  • Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP)

Environmental Review Process Procedures by Program

The Environmental Process by Program area is currently under construction. In the meantime, visit the Environmental Process Documents and Forms page. The Environmental Review Procedures Manual outlines the process based on the type of entity applying; as either a city/county or a nonprofit/for-profit.

General Environmental Process Timeline for Non-Tiered Construction Projects
(Timeline May Differ Depending on Level of Review)

  • Project Description, Determine Level of Environmental Review, (1 day to 1 week)
  • Contact all appropriate agencies, gather mapping, other information for environmental review, complete checklists utilizing information gathered (60 to 120 days)
  • Publish Required Notification (1 week)
  • Local Comment Period (7 to 18 days)
  • Federal Comment Period (15 days)
  • Authority to Use Grant Funds issued

The Environmental Golden Rule: also known as: Limitations on Activities Prior to Environmental Clearance

Awardees cannot engage in any choice-limiting activities prior to environmental clearance per 24 CFR 58.22. Choice-limiting activities include but are not limited to these examples:

  • Acquisition of land, except through the use of an option agreement, regardless of funding source;
  • Closing on loans including loans for interim financing;
  • Signing a construction contract.

Subrecipients must not sign agreements, close on loans or begin construction on any portion of a project until TDHCA environmentally reviews and clears all portions.

This regulation extends to the use of other funds utilized for the same project regardless of whether those funds are private funds or funds received through another entity and already environmentally cleared through that entity.

Subrecipients that prematurely engage in a choice-limiting activity will not be reimbursed for that activity, and the entire project becomes ineligible for environmental clearance which makes the project ineligible for reimbursement from the funding program.

Environmental Clearance is Required

In 1969 the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was enacted by Congress. This regulation required all federal agencies to ensure that their federal dollars did not have an adverse impact on the environment. Through the years since this regulation came to pass, Congress and the various Presidents have also enacted a series of statutes dealing with specific environmental issues. As a result of all this legislation, each Federal agency was charged with creating their own guidelines to meet all the requirements for environmental review. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regulations are outlined in 24 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 58. All federally-assisted HUD projects are subject to these requirements for environmental review and documentation.

How Environmental Clearance Affects a Project

No activities, including loan closure, land acquisition, and contracts for construction related to a federally funded project, may occur prior to environmental clearance. Many of the housing programs implemented by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (Department) are federally funded including the HOME program, CDBG Disaster Program, Neighborhood Stabilization Program, Office of Colonia Initiatives programs, and the Emergency Solutions Grants program. If an awardee obtains funds from any of these programs please note that no activities, including loan closure, land acquisition, and contracts for construction related to a federally funded project, may occur prior to environmental clearance including all activities funded by other sources.

Additionally with the Passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), the Environmental Clearance apply to the Tax Credit Assistance Program (TCAP), which is administered by HUD. For information regarding this process, applicable forms, federal rules and guidelines, as well as contact information, visit the Environmental Forms page.