In order to assure that the policies of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 [42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.] and other provisions of law which further the purposes of such Act (as specified in regulations issued by the Secretary) are most effectively implemented in connection with the expenditure of funds under this subchapter, and to assure to the public undiminished protection of the environment, the Secretary may, under such regulations, in lieu of the environmental protection procedures otherwise applicable, provide for the release of funds for projects or activities under this subchapter, as specified by the Secretary upon the request of a public housing agency under this section, if the State or unit of general local government, as designated by the Secretary in accordance with regulations, assumes 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 may specify, which would otherwise apply to the Secretary with respect to the release of funds.
The Secretary, after consultation with the Council on Environmental Quality, shall issue such regulations as may be necessary to carry out this section. Such regulations shall specify the programs to be covered.
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 or activities, the public housing agency has submitted to the Secretary a request for such release accompanied by a certification of the State or unit of general local government which meets the requirements of subsection (c). The Secretary’s approval of any such certification shall be deemed to satisfy the Secretary’s responsibilities 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 release of funds which are covered by such certification.
In cases in which a unit of general local government carries out the responsibilities described in subsection (c), the Secretary may permit the State to perform those actions of the Secretary described in subsection (b) and the performance of such actions by the State, where permitted by the Secretary, shall be deemed to satisfy the Secretary’s responsibilities referred to in the second sentence of subsection (b).