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Natural Disaster Procedures: Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Activities of the Corps of Engineers; Correction

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Army Corps of Engineers, DoD.


Final rule; correction.


The Corps promulgated a final rule to revise 33 CFR part 203. This file rule was published in the Federal Register on April 21, 2003, with inadvertent errors in section 203.62. The final rule completes the rulemaking process initiated on February 26, 2002, with publication of the proposed rule to revise 33 CFR part 203, which implements Pub. L. 84-99. The revisions are necessary to reflect current policy, add features required by the Water Resources Development Act of 1996 (WRDA 96), and streamline certain procedures concerning Corps authority addressing disaster preparedness, response, and recovery activities. WRDA 96 additions include the option to provide nonstructural alternatives in lieu of structural repairs to levees damaged by flood events, and the provision of a levee owner's manual. Other significant changes include expansion of investigation ability for potential Advance Measures work, and a streamlined approach for requests for assistance from Native American tribes and Alaska Native Corporations.


This rule became effective on May 21, 2003.

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Mr. Jeffrey D. Jensen, Headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Civil Emergency Management Branch, CECW-HS-E, at (202) 761-4561.

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I. Background. Section 203.62 is corrected by redesignation of the second paragraph (d) “Guidance” as paragraph (e) and paragraph (e) “Guidance-transport of water” as paragraph (f) and Start Printed Page 36468paragraph (f) “Request for assistance” as paragraph (g).

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Dated: June 2, 2003.

Lawrence A. Lang,

Acting Chief, Operations Division, Directorate of Civil Works.

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Accordingly, 33 CFR part 203 section 203.62 is correctly revised as follows:

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Drought assistance.

(a) Authority. The Chief of Engineers, acting for the Secretary of the Army, has the authority under certain statutory conditions to construct wells for farmers, ranchers, political subdivisions, and to transport water to political subdivisions, within areas determined to be drought-distressed.

(b) General policy. (1) It is a non-Federal responsibility for providing an adequate supply of water to local inhabitants. Corps assistance to provide emergency water supplies will only be considered when non-Federal interests have exhausted reasonable means for securing necessary water supplies, including assistance and support from other Federal agencies.

(2) Before Corps assistance is considered under this authority, the applicability of other Federal assistance authorities must be evaluated. If these programs cannot provide the needed assistance, then maximum coordination should be made with appropriate agencies in implementing Corps assistance.

(c) Governor's request. A letter signed by the Governor, requesting Corps assistance and addressing the State's commitments and capabilities with response to the emergency situation, is required. All requests should identify the following information:

(1) A description of local and State efforts undertaken. A verification that all available resources have been committed, to include National Guard assets.

(2) Identification of the specific needs of the State, and the required Corps assistance.

(3) Identification of the additional commitments to be accomplished by the State.

(4) Identification of the project sponsor(s).

(d) Definitions applicable to this section.

(1) Construction. This term includes initial construction, reconstruction, or repair.

(2) Drought-distressed area. An area that the Secretary of the Army determines, due to drought conditions, has an inadequate water supply that is causing, or is likely to cause, a substantial threat to the health and welfare of the inhabitants of the impacted area, including the threat of damage or loss of property.

(3) Eligible applicant. Any rancher, farmer or political subdivision within a designated drought-distressed area that is experiencing an inadequate supply of water due to drought.

(4) Farmer or rancher. An individual who realizes at least one-third of his or her gross annual income from agricultural sources, and is recognized in the community as a farmer or rancher. A farming partnership, corporation, or similar entity engaged in farming or ranching, which receives its majority income from such activity, is also considered to be a farmer or rancher, and thus an eligible applicant.

(5) Political subdivision. A city, town, borough, county, parish, district, association, or other public body created by, or pursuant to, Federal or State law, having jurisdiction over the water supply of such public body.

(6) Reasonable cost. In connection with the Corps construction of a well, means the lesser of:

(i) The cost of the Chief of Engineers to construct a well in accordance with these regulations, exclusive of:

(A) The cost of transporting equipment used in the construction of wells, and

(B) The cost of investigation and report preparation to determine the suitability to construct a well, or,

(ii) The cost to a private business of constructing such a well.

(7) State. Any State, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, Northern Marianas Islands, American Samoa, and the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

(e) Guidance—construction of wells. (1) Assistance to an eligible applicant for the construction of a well may be provided on a cost-reimbursable basis if:

(i) It is in response to a written request by a farmer, rancher, or political subdivision for construction of a well under Public Law 84-99.

(ii) The applicant is located within an area that the Secretary of the Army has determined to be drought-distressed.

(iii) The Secretary of the Army has made a determination that:

(A) The applicant, as a result of the drought, has an inadequate supply of water.

(B) An adequate supply of water can be made available to the applicant through the construction of a well.

(C) As a result of the drought, a private business could not construct the well within a reasonable time.

(iv) The applicant has secured the necessary funding for well construction from commercial or other sources, or has entered into a contract to pay to the United States the reasonable cost of such construction with interest over a period of years, not to exceed 30, as the Secretary of the Army deems appropriate.

(v) The applicant has obtained all necessary Federal, State and local permits.

(2) The financing of the cost of construction of a well by the Corps under this authority should be secured by the project applicant.

(3) The project applicant will provide the necessary assurances of local cooperation by signing a Cooperation Agreement (subpart G of this part) prior to the start of Corps work under this authority.

(4) Equipment owned by the United States will be utilized to the maximum extent possible in exercising the authority to drill wells, but can only be used when commercial firms cannot provide comparable service within the time needed to prevent the applicant from suffering significantly increased hardships from the effects of an inadequate water supply.

(f) Guidance-transport of water. (1) Assistance to an applicant in the transportation of water may be provided if:

(i) It is in response to a written request by a political subdivision for transportation of water.

(ii) The applicant is located within an area that the Secretary of the Army has determined to be drought-distressed.

(iii) The Secretary of the Army has made a determination that, as a result of the drought, the applicant has an inadequate supply of water for human consumption, and the applicant cannot obtain water.

(2) Transportation of water by vehicles, small diameter pipe line, or other means will be at 100 percent Federal cost.

(3) Corps assistance in the transportation of emergency water supplies will be provided only in connection with water needed for human consumption. Assistance will not be provided in connection with water needed for irrigation, recreation, or other non-life supporting purposes, or livestock consumption.

(4) Corps assistance will not include the purchase of water, nor the cost of loading or discharging the water into or from any Government conveyance, to include Government-leased conveyance. Start Printed Page 36469

(5) Equipment owned by the United States will be utilized to the maximum extent possible in exercising the authority to transport water, consistent with lowest total Federal cost.

(g) Request for assistance. A written request must be made to the district commander with Civil Works responsibility for the affected area. Upon receipt of a written request, the appropriate State and Federal agencies will be notified, and coordination will continue as appropriate throughout the assistance.

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[FR Doc. 03-15305 Filed 6-17-03; 8:45 am]