Tribal Housing and Related Infrastructure Interagency Task Force (THRIITF)

Purpose of THRIITF

In Senate Report 116-109, the Senate Appropriations Committee directed HUD to establish and lead a Tribal Housing and Related Infrastructure Interagency Task Force (THRIITF) within the calendar year, which includes the 2015 previous participating working group agency partners.

The task force shall address and implement the working group recommendations to continue the review of related environmental laws and authorities to identify opportunities for greater efficiencies; explore whether environmental reviews could be expedited if agencies which fund similar types of projects developed aligned categorical exclusions; and identify specific regulatory and policy improvements.

THRIITF Members

Federal members include: HUD (lead agency), the Council on Environmental Quality, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Interior, Transportation, Agriculture, Commerce, and Energy.

Tribal members include: Huslia, Tlingit and Haida, Association Village Council Regional Housing Authority, Sault Ste. Marie Chippewa, Choctaw of Oklahoma, Cherokee Nation and Northern Arapaho.

Background:

In a March 2014 report to the Congressional committees entitled “Native American Housing: Additional Actions Needed to Better Support Tribal Efforts,” the Government Accountability Office (GAO) made several recommendations, including the establishment of a “coordinated federal environmental review process for tribal housing development.”  Relying in part on the GAO report, in December 2014, the Senate Report accompanying the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill directed HUD to “collaborate with the Council on Environmental Quality and affected agencies . . . to develop a coordinated review process to simplify tribal housing development and its related infrastructure needs.”

An interagency workgroup was formed, comprising representatives from HUD (lead agency), the Council on Environmental Quality, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Interior, Transportation, Agriculture, Commerce, and Energy.  The workgroup reviewed environmental review requirements and examined information collected from tribes and Federal agencies.  It became clear that no single effort or legislative change would ensure a coordinated and simplified environmental review process for tribal housing and housing-related infrastructure projects; rather, an on-going effort among agencies to discover commonalities and foster collaborative relationships was required.  The workgroup focused on identifying measures that could be taken to coordinate agencies’ environmental review processes within the existing framework.  Those measures are presented as recommendations in the Coordinated Environmental Review Process: Final Report, published on December 15, 2015.

The Final Report made the following recommendations:

  1. Incorporate Environmental Review Documents by Reference
  2. Develop Common Categorical Exclusions
  3. Address Resource Deficiencies at the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Dept. of Interior
  4. Provide Training for Agency Staff
  5. Provide Training for Tribes
  6. Continue Review of Related Environmental Laws and Authorities to Identify Opportunities for Greater Efficiencies
  7. Create Regional Consortiums
  8. Explore the Development of an Interagency Environmental Review Automated Tool
  9. Explore HUD-Specific Regulatory and Policy Improvements
  10. Create More Predictable Funding Mechanisms
  11. Establish an On-going Environmental Review Interagency Workgroup
  12. Explore Expanding the Scope of this Effort

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Reports and Documents

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Historical Documents

2017

02-27-2017

Status report

09-22-2017

Implementation plan

2016

12-14-2016

DRAFT MOU “Environmental Coordination for Certain Native American Housing and Related Infrastructure Projects” (Note: not finalized and under review)

12-14-2016

DRAFT Statement of Intent (Note: not finalized and under review)

  • Dear Tribal Leader letter soliciting comment on a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and draft Statement of Intent on NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) efficiency tools

2015

12-15-15

Coordinated Environmental Review Process: Final Report 

05-06-15

Coordinated Environmental Review Interim Report

04-24-15

Dear Tribal Leader letter inviting tribes to consultation sessions to provide input to HUD to develop report

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