7 CFR § 1970.12 - Limitations on actions during the NEPA process.

§ 1970.12 Limitations on actions during the NEPA process.

(a) Limitations on actions. Applicants must not take actions concerning a proposal that may potentially have an environmental impact or would otherwise limit or affect the Agency's decision until the Agency's environmental review process is concluded. If such actions are taken prior to the conclusion of the environmental review process, the Agency may deny the request for financial assistance.

(b) Anticipatory demolition. If the Agency determines that an applicant has intentionally significantly adversely affected a historic property with the intent to avoid the requirements of Section 106 of the NHPA (such as demolition or removal of all or part of the property) the Agency may deny the request for financial assistance in accordance with section 110(k) of the NHPA.

(c) Recent construction. When construction is in progress or has recently been completed by applicants who can demonstrate no prior intent to seek Agency assistance at the time of application submittal to the Agency, the following requirements apply:

(1) In cases where construction commenced within 6 months prior to the date of application, the Agency will determine and document whether the applicant initiated construction to avoid environmental compliance requirements. If any evidence to that effect exists, the Agency may deny the request for financial assistance.

(2) If there is no evidence that an applicant is attempting to avoid environmental compliance requirements, the application is subject to the following additional requirements:

(i) The Agency will promptly provide written notice to the applicant that the applicant must halt construction if it is ongoing and fulfill all environmental compliance responsibilities before the requested financing will be provided;

(ii) The applicant must take immediate steps to identify any environmental resources affected by the construction and protect the affected resources; and

(iii) With assistance from the applicant and to the extent practicable, the Agency will determine whether environmental resources have been adversely affected by any construction and this information will be included in the environmental document.

(d) Minimal expenditures. In accordance with 40 CFR 1506.1(d), the Agency will not be precluded from approving minimal expenditures by the applicant not affecting the environment (e.g., long lead-time equipment, purchase options, or environmental or technical documentation needed for Agency environmental review). To be minimal, the expenditure must not exceed the amount of loss which the applicant could absorb without jeopardizing the Government's security interest in the event the proposed action is not approved by the Agency, and must not compromise the objectivity of the Agency's environmental review process.

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