7 CFR 1940.310 - Categorical exclusions from National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews.

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§ 1940.310 Categorical exclusions from National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews.
(a) General guidelines. The following actions have been determined not to have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment, either individually or cumulatively. They will not be subject to environmental assessments or impact statements. It must be emphasized that even though these actions are excluded from further environmental reviews under NEPA, they are not excluded from either the policy considerations contained in §§ 1940.303 through 1940.305 of this subpart or from compliance with other applicable local, State, or Federal environmental laws. Also, the actions preceded by an asterisk (*) are not excluded from further review depending upon whether in some cases they would be located within, or in other cases, potentially affect:
(1) A floodplain,
(2) A wetland,
(3) Important farmlands, or prime forestlands or rangelands,
(4) A listed species or critical habitat for an endangered species,
(5) A property that is listed on or may be eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places,
(6) An area within an approved State coastal zone management program,
(7) A coastal barrier or a portion of a barrier within the Coastal Barrier Resources System,
(8) A river or portion of a river included in, or designated for, potential addition to the Wild and Scenic Rivers System,
(9) A sole source aquifer recharge area, or
(10) A State water quality standard (including designated and/or existing beneficial uses and antidegradation requirements).
(i) Whether location within one of the preceding resource areas is sufficient to require a further review or a potential impact to one of them must also be identified to require a review is determined by FmHA or its successor agency under Public Law 103-354's completion of Form FmHA or its successor agency under Public Law 103-354 1940-22 in accordance with the FMI and § 1940.317 of this subpart.
(ii) When the categorical exclusion classification is lost, as specified in § 1940.317 of this subpart, the action must be reviewed under the requirements of paragraph (g) of that section. This requirement serves to implement § 1508.4 of the CEQ regulations which requires Federal agencies to detect extraordinary circumstances in which a normally excluded action may have a significant environmental effect.
(iii) Further guidance on the use of these exclusions is contained in § 1940.317 of this subpart.
(b) Housing assistance. *(1) The provision of financial assistance for the purchase of a single family dwelling or a multi-family project serving no more than four families, i.e., units;
(2) The approval of an individual building lot that is located on a scattered site and either not part of a subdivision or within a subdivision not requiring FmHA or its successor agency under Public Law 103-354's approval;
*(3) Rehabilitation, replacement, or renovation of any existing housing units, with no expansion in the number of units;
(4) Self-Help Technical Assistance Grants;
*(5) The approval of a subdivision that consists of four or fewer lots and is not part of, or associated with, building lots or subdivisions;
(6) Technical Supervisory Assistance Loans and Grants;
(7) Weatherization of any existing housing unit(s), unless the property is listed in the National Register of Historic Places or may be eligible for listing, or is located either within the Coastal Barrier Resources System or in a listed or potentially eligible historic district, in which case the application will require a Class I assessment as specified in § 1940.317(g) of this subpart;
(8) The financing of housing construction or the approval of lots in a previously approved FmHA or its successor agency under Public Law 103-354 subdivision provided that
(i) The action is consistent with all previously adopted stipulations for the multi-family housing project or subdivision, and
(ii) The FmHA or its successor agency under Public Law 103-354 environmental impact review that was previously completed for the original application is still current with respect to applicable environmental requirements and conditions present at the site, and it assessed the lots or expansion for which approval is being requested;
(9) The purchase of any existing, non-FmHA or its successor agency under Public Law 103-354 owned housing unit(s), unless the property is listed in the National Register of Historic Places or may be eligible for listing, or is located either within a 100-year floodplain, the Coastal Barrier Resources System, or in a listed or potentially eligible historic district, in which case the application will require a Class I assessment as specified in § 1940.317(g) of this subpart; and
(10) Appraisals of nonfarm tracts and small farms for rural housing loans.
(c) Community and business programs and nonprofit national corporations loan and grant program. *(1) Financial assistance directed to existing businesses, facilities, and/or structures that does not involve new construction or large increases in employment; does not involve a facility that presently or previously produced or stored hazardous waste or disposed of hazardous waste on the facility's property; and does not result in the increased production of gaseous, liquid, or solid wastes, or a change in the type or content of such wastes as long as waste production, handling, treatment and disposal practices presently comply with applicable Federal, State and local regulations and there is no history of violations. If any of these waste production, handling, treatment, disposal or compliance criteria cannot be met, a Class I assessment must be initiated to include a narrative discussion of the types and quantities of wastes produced and the adequacy of the treatment, storage, and disposal practices, if the involved wastes meet the criteria for a Class I assessment contained in § 1940.311(b)(3)(iii) of this subpart. If not, a Class II assessment must be completed.
*(2) Projects that solely involve the acquisition, construction, reconstruction, renovation, or installation of facilities, structures or businesses, for replacement or restoration purposes, with minimal change in use, size, capacity, purpose or location from the original facility (e.g., replacement in-kind of utilities such as water or sewer lines and appurtenances, reconstruction of curbs and sidewalks, street repaving, and building modifications, renovations, and improvements);
(3) Project management actions relating to invitation for bids, contract award, and the actual physical commencement of construction activities;
(4) Financial assistance for a technical assistance grant under the nonprofit national corporation loan and grant program;
(5) Projects that solely involve the purchase and installation of office equipment, public safety equipment, or motor vehicles; and
(6) Amendments to approved projects meeting the criteria of paragraph (e)(2) of this section.
(7) Rural Business Investment Program actions, which can be divided into:
(i) Non-leveraged program actions that include licensing by USDA of Rural Business Investment Companies (RBIC); and
(ii) Leveraged program actions that include licensing by USDA of RBIC and Federal financial assistance in the form of technical grants or guarantees of debentures of an RBIC, unless such federal assistance is used to finance construction or development of land.
(d) Farm programs. (1) Financial assistance for the purchase of an existing farm, or an enlargement to one, provided no shifts in land use are proposed beyond the limits stated in paragraphs (d) (10) and (11) of this section;
(2) Financial assistance for the purchase of livestock and essential farm equipment, including crop storing and drying equipment, provided such equipment is not to be used to accommodate shifts in land use beyond the limits stated in paragraphs (d) (10) and (11) of this section;
(3) Financial assistance for:
(i) The payment of annual operating expenses, which does not cover activities specifically addressed in this section or § 1940.311 or § 1940.312 of this subpart;
(ii) Family living expenses, and
(iii) Refinancing debts;
*(4) Financial assistance for the construction of essential farm dwellings and service buildings of modest design and cost, as well as repairs and improvements to them;
(5) Financial assistance for onsite water supply facilities to serve a farm dwelling, farm buildings, and livestock needs;
(6) Financial assistance for the installation or enlargement of irrigation facilities, including storage reservoirs, diversion dams, wells, pumping plants, canals, pipelines, and sprinklers designed to irrigate less than 80 acres, provided that neither a State water quality standard, a property listed or potentially eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, a river or portion of a river included in, or designated for, potential addition to the Wild and Scenic Rivers System, nor a wetland is affected. If a wetland is affected, the application will fall under Class II as defined in § 1940.312 of this subpart. Potential effects to a water quality standard, an historic property or the Wild and Scenic Rivers System require that a review be initiated under a Class I assessment as specified in § 1940.317(g) of this subpart.
(7) Financial assistance that solely involves the replacement or restoration of irrigation facilities, to include those facilities described in paragraph (d)(6) of this section, with minimal change in use, size, capacity, or location from the original facility(s) provided that neither a State water quality standard, a property listed or potentially eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, a river or portion of a river included in or designated for potential addition to the Wild and Scenic Rivers System, nor a wetland is affected. If a wetland is affected, the application will fall under Class II as defined in § 1940.312 of this subpart. Potential effects to a water quality standard, an historic property, or the Wild and Scenic Rivers System require that a Class I assessment be completed as specified in § 1940.317(g) of this subpart. Also, to qualify for this exclusion, the facilities to be replaced or restored must have been used for similar irrigation purposes at least two out of the last three consecutive growing seasons. Otherwise, the action will be viewed as an installation of irrigation facilities.
(8) Financial assistance for the development of farm ponds or lakes of no more than 5 acres in size, provided that, neither a State water quality standard, a property listed or potentially eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, a river or portion of a river included in or designated for potential addition to the Wild and Scenic Rivers System, nor a wetland is affected. If a wetland is affected, the application will fall under Class II as defined in § 1940.312 of this subpart. Potential effects to a water quality standard, an historic property, or the Wild and Scenic Rivers System require that a review be initiated under a Class I assessment as specified in § 1940.317(g) of this subpart;
*(9) Financial assistance for the conversion of:
(i) Land in agricultural production to pastures or forests, or
(ii) Pastures to forests;
*(10) Financial assistance for land-clearing operations of no more than 15 acres, provided no wetlands are affected, and financial assistance for any amount of land involved in tree harvesting conducted on a sustained yield basis and according to a Federal, State or other governmental unit approved forestry management and marketing plan; and
(11) Financial assistance for the conversion of no more than 160 acres of pasture to agricultural production, provided that in a conversion to agricultural production no State water quality standard or wetlands are affected. If a wetland is affected, the application will fall under Class II as defined in § 1940.312 of this subpart. If a water quality standard would be impaired or antidegradation requirement not met, a Class I assessment is required as specified in § 1940.317(g) of this subpart.
(e) General exclusions. (1) The award of financial assistance for planning purposes, management and feasibility studies, or environmental impact analyses;
(2) For actions other than those covered by exhibit M of this subpart, loan-closing and servicing activities, transfers, assumptions, subordinations, construction management activities and amendments and revisions to approved projects, including the provision of additional financial assistance that do not alter the purpose, operation, location, or design of the project as originally approved;
(3) The issuance of regulations and instructions, as well as amendments to them, describing administrative and financial procedures for processing, approving, and implementing the Agency's financial assistance programs;
(4) Procurement activities for goods and services, routine facility operations, personnel actions, and other such management activities related to the operation of the Agency;
(5) Reduction in force or employee transfers resulting from workload adjustments, reduced personnel or funding levels, skill imbalances, or other similar circumstances; and
*(6) The lease or disposal of real property by FmHA or its successor agency under Public Law 103-354 whenever the transaction is either not controversial for environmental reasons or will not result in a change in use of the real property within the reasonably foreseeable future.
[53 FR 36240, Sept. 19, 1988, as amended at 76 FR 80220, Dec. 23, 2011]

Title 7 published on 2014-01-01

The following are only the Rules published in the Federal Register after the published date of Title 7.

For a complete list of all Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices view the Rulemaking tab.

  • 2014-09-19; vol. 79 # 182 - Friday, September 19, 2014
    1. 79 FR 56217 - Methodology and Formulas for Allocation of Loan and Grant Program Funds
      GPO FDSys XML | Text
      DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Utilities Service, Rural Housing Service, Farm Service Agency
      Final rule.
      Effective Date: This rule is effective October 1, 2014.
      7 CFR Part 1940

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United States Code
U.S. Code: Title 7 - AGRICULTURE
U.S. Code: Title 42 - THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE

Title 7 published on 2014-01-01

The following are ALL rules, proposed rules, and notices (chronologically) published in the Federal Register relating to 7 CFR 1940 after this date.

  • 2014-09-19; vol. 79 # 182 - Friday, September 19, 2014
    1. 79 FR 56217 - Methodology and Formulas for Allocation of Loan and Grant Program Funds
      GPO FDSys XML | Text
      DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Utilities Service, Rural Housing Service, Farm Service Agency
      Final rule.
      Effective Date: This rule is effective October 1, 2014.
      7 CFR Part 1940