FEMA ANNOUNCES CHANGE IN SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS FOR STATE MITIGATION PLANS
May 6, 2014
The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently revised the mitigation planning regulations reducing the frequency of required updates for State Mitigation Plans from once every three years to once every five years, according to a May 6 FEMA bulletin.
The revision announced April 25, 2014 provides states with greater flexibility to shift their resources to other important or pending mitigation efforts, and relieves current regulatory requirements on plan updates. Aligning the state mitigation planning update frequency with those of participating federally-recognized tribes and local governments also fosters closer coordination of mitigation planning and implementation efforts.
The change to the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (44 C.F.R. sections 201.3, 201.4, and 201.5), applies to Standard State Mitigation Plans and Enhanced State Mitigation Plans. By law, states, tribal, and local governments must have an approved Mitigation Plan in order to be eligible for certain non-emergency Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act) assistance and FEMA mitigation grants.
This effort is included in the DHS Final Plan for Retrospective Review, which evaluates existing regulations and invites the public to comment on whether any revisions should be considered. A regulatory change was suggested by the public to extend how often State Mitigation Plans are updated and submitted to FEMA for review and approval. The suggestion was voted the number one idea on the social media website at that time.
FEMA solicited feedback for this regulatory revision with a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, published in the March 1, 2013 Federal Register. The public comment period closed April 30, 2013, and comments were adjudicated. The final rule is effective May 27, 2014.
Mitigation Plans must be approved by FEMA within five years from the last plan’s date of approval to maintain eligibility for certain non-emergency Stafford Act assistance and FEMA mitigation grants. States, including Territories and the District of Columbia, will receive additional information on this regulatory change by official letter.