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 for special projects appropriated under an appropriations Act for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, such as special projects under the head “Annual Contributions for Assisted Housing” in title II of the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 1993, and to assure to the public undiminished protection of the environment, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development may, under such regulations, in lieu of the environmental protection procedures otherwise applicable, provide for the release of funds for particular special projects upon the request of recipients of special projects assistance, 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 specify, that would otherwise apply to the Secretary were the Secretary to undertake such special projects as Federal projects.
The Secretary shall approve the release of funds for projects 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 recipient submits 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 paragraph (3). 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 releases of funds for special projects to be carried out pursuant thereto which are covered by such certification.
In cases in which a unit of general local government carries out the responsibilities described in paragraph (1), the Secretary may permit the State to perform those actions of the Secretary described in paragraph (2) 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 paragraph (2).