43 U.S. Code § 2404 - Appraisal investigations
(a) In general
On request of a non-Federal project entity with respect to a proposed rural water supply project that meets the eligibility criteria published under section 2402 (c) of this title and subject to the availability of appropriations, the Secretary may—
(1) receive and review an appraisal investigation that is—
(3) provide a grant to, or enter into a cooperative agreement with, the non-Federal project entity to conduct an appraisal investigation, if the Secretary determines that—
(A) the non-Federal project entity is qualified to complete the appraisal investigation in accordance with the criteria published under section 2402 (c) of this title; and
An appraisal investigation conducted under subsection (a) shall be scheduled for completion not later than 2 years after the date on which the appraisal investigation is initiated.
(c) Appraisal report
In accordance with subsection (f), after an appraisal investigation is submitted to the Secretary under subsection (a)(1) or completed under paragraph (2) or (3) of subsection (a), the Secretary shall prepare an appraisal report that—
(A) whether the project meets—
(B) whether viable water supplies and water rights exist to supply the project, including all practicable water sources such as lower quality waters, nonpotable waters, and water reuse-based water supplies;
(E) the extent to which the project provides environmental benefits, including source water protection;
(F) whether the project applies a regional or watershed perspective and promotes benefits in the region in which the project is carried out;
(G) whether the project—
(d) Appraisal criteria
(1) In general
Not later than 1 year after December 22, 2006, the Secretary shall promulgate criteria (including appraisal factors listed under subsection (c)) against which the appraisal investigations shall be assessed for completeness and appropriateness for a feasibility study.
To minimize the cost of a rural water supply project to a non-Federal project entity, the Secretary shall include in the criteria methods to scale the level of effort needed to complete the appraisal investigation relative to the total size and cost of the proposed rural water supply project.
(e) Review of appraisal investigation
(1) In general
Not later than 90 days after the date of submission of an appraisal investigation under paragraph (1) or (3) of subsection (a), the Secretary shall provide to the non-Federal entity that conducted the investigation a determination of whether the investigation has included the information necessary to determine whether the proposed rural water supply project satisfies the criteria promulgated under subsection (d).
(2) No satisfaction of criteria
If the Secretary determines that the appraisal investigation submitted by a non-Federal entity does not satisfy the criteria promulgated under subsection (d), the Secretary shall inform the non-Federal entity of the reasons why the appraisal investigation is deficient.
(3) Responsibility of Secretary
If an appraisal investigation as first submitted by a non-Federal entity does not provide all necessary information, as defined by the Secretary, the Secretary shall have no obligation to conduct further analysis until the non-Federal project entity submitting the appraisal study conducts additional investigation and resubmits the appraisal investigation under this subsection.
(f) Appraisal report
Once the Secretary has determined that an investigation provides the information necessary under subsection (e), the Secretary shall—
(2) make available to the public, on request, the appraisal report prepared under this subchapter; and
(1) Federal share
The Federal share of an appraisal investigation conducted under subsection (a) shall be 100 percent of the total cost of the appraisal investigation, up to $200,000.
(2) Non-Federal share
(A) In general
Except as provided in subparagraph (B), if the cost of conducting an appraisal investigation is more than $200,000, the non-Federal share of the costs in excess of $200,000 shall be 50 percent.
The Secretary may reduce the non-Federal share required under subparagraph (A) if the Secretary determines that there is an overwhelming Federal interest in the appraisal investigation.
(h) Consultation; identification of funding sources
In conducting an appraisal investigation under subsection (a)(2), the Secretary shall—
(1) consult and cooperate with the non-Federal project entity and appropriate State, tribal, regional, and local authorities;
(2) consult with the heads of appropriate Federal agencies to—
(A) ensure that the proposed rural water supply project does not duplicate a project carried out under the authority of the agency head; and