FEMA to Introduce New Revolving Loan Program with STORM Act

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Mark Evans

Funding Specialist

Enacted in January, the STORM (Safeguarding Tomorrow through Ongoing Risk Mitigation) Act created a revolving loan program to provide needed and sustainable funding for hazard mitigation projects. The program will be administered by FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) and will provide capitalization grants to states to establish revolving loan funds for projects designed to reduce risks from disaster, natural hazards and other related environmental harm. This program is modeled after the highly successful Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRF) administered by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) that fund water, wastewater and stormwater projects. For the STORM Act, Congress has already authorized appropriations of $100 million for each of the federal fiscal years 2022 and 2023.

STORM Act highlights include:

  • Individual project funding up to $5 million
  • Interest rates not more than 1%
  • Repayment terms up to 20 years after project completion, or up to 30 years for projects benefiting low-income geographies

Eligible projects under the STORM Act result from or include:

  • Drought and prolonged episodes of intense heat
  • Severe storms, including hurricanes, tornados, windstorms, cyclones and severe winter storms
  • Wildfires, earthquakes, flooding, shoreline erosion, high water levels, storm surges
  • Zoning and land use planning
  • Establishing and carrying out building code enforcement

The STORM Act “will prioritize applications for projects increasing resilience of natural and built infrastructure,” including projects for major economic sectors like ports or global commodity supply chain assets, and critical national infrastructure, such as power or water production and distribution centers, bridges and waterways. For more details, read the full legislation here.

As with other FEMA funding programs, applicants must have an approved hazard mitigation plan and will be expected to meet the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act.

FEMA is expected to create rules and requirements for the new program in 2021 and create an Intended Use Plan identifying the intended uses of the States’ loan funds.

Freese and Nichols has a long and successful history with the EPA SRF programs and other FEMA grant programs. For more information about the STORM Act or other funding opportunities, please contact Mark Evans, Freese and Nichols Funding Specialist, at mark.evans@freese.com or your Freese and Nichols project manager.

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Mark Evans is a Funding Specialist based in San Marcos, Texas.