Yesterday the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) in the Federal Register (79 FR 13970-13975) regarding possible changes to the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program that would establish criteria to delegate authority to States to administer HMGP. This rule would implement requirements of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 USC 5170c).
This ANPRM seeks to establish requirements for Program Administration by the States (PAS) in accordance with the requirements set forth by §51709c(c). FEMA is already establishing a pilot program that would delegate certain HGMP responsibilities to participating States. To participate in the pilot a State would have to have:
• An approved State Mitigation Plan;
• Demonstrated an ability to manage the HGMP; and
• Demonstrated commitment to mitigation activities.
To develop a full PAS program FEMA is going to have to determine how the program will operate, how available resources can facilitate program performance and what FEMA administrative responsibilities can be delegated to the States. In making these determinations FEMA is soliciting input in the form of responses to the following questions:
• How to assess the State's ability to manage the HMGP throughout the program lifecycle?
• What should the relationship be, if any, between having a FEMA-approved Enhanced Mitigation Plan and receiving a PAS designation?
• How to assess the State's demonstration of commitment to mitigation?
• What performance measures from other State-administered Federal programs could be considered or incorporated in PAS designation requests?
• What additional elements, if any, should FEMA consider requiring in Administrative Plans for States with PAS designation?
• 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?
• What should be the level of interaction between FEMA, the State, local governments, and other program participants regarding day-to-day program administration?
• Should PAS designation include limits or factors that would affect the level of State responsibility granted by FEMA?
• Which EHP responsibilities should be delegated to States under applicable Federal law?
• What criteria should FEMA use to assess performance of those States that receive PAS designations?
• How could the analysis of program benefits justifying program costs be an indicator of state performance?
• What would constitute a significant non-compliance deficiency warranting temporary withdrawal or full termination of PAS designation?
• 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?
• What factors should FEMA consider and use to encourage Tribal participation in PAS?
• What are the potential challenges for States in maintaining PAS designation?
• How would program participants be impacted when their State administers HMGP under a PAS designation?
• Would your State or Tribe consider applying for the PAS option for your next disaster declaration?
• Do you think PAS would be beneficial in streamlining the provision of funding under the HMGP?
FEMA is soliciting public feedback on this ANPRM and the specific questions described above. Comments may be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal (www.Regulations.gov; Docket # FEMA-2014-0013). Comments should be submitted by May 12th, 2014.