In order to ensure that the policies of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 [42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.] and other provisions of law that further the purposes of such Act (as specified in regulations issued by the Secretary) are most effectively implemented in connection with the expenditure of grant amounts provided under this chapter, and to ensure to the public undiminished protection of the environment, the Secretary, in lieu of the environmental protection procedures otherwise applicable, may by regulation provide for the release of amounts for particular projects to tribes which assume all of the responsibilities for environmental review, decisionmaking, and action pursuant to such Act, and such other provisions of law as the regulations of the Secretary specify, that would apply to the Secretary were the Secretary to undertake such projects as Federal projects.
The Secretary shall approve the release of funds subject to the procedures authorized by this section only if, not less than 15 days prior to such approval and prior to any commitment of funds to such projects, the tribe has submitted to the Secretary a request for such release accompanied by a certification that meets the requirements of subsection (c). The approval of the Secretary of any such certification shall be deemed to satisfy the responsibilities of the Secretary under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 [42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.] and such other provisions of law as the regulations of the Secretary specify insofar as those responsibilities relate to the releases of funds for projects to be carried out pursuant thereto that are covered by such certification.