Environmental Finance Center Grants

The Environmental Finance Center Grant Program provides funding to support Environmental Finance Centers (EFCs) that provide multi-media environmental finance expertise and outreach to the regulated communities.

The EFCs work with States, local governments and the private sector to address the
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growing costs of environmental protection.

The EFCs provide finance-related training, education, and analytical studies to help these regulated parties develop solutions to the difficult "how-to-pay" issues associated with meeting environmental standards.

The EFCs educate state and local governments and businesses on lowering environmental costs, increasing environmental investments, improving financial capacity, encouraging full cost pricing, and identifying and evaluating environmental financing options.

A central goal of the EFCs is to create sustainable systems.

Sustainable systems have the financial, technical, and institutional resources and capabilities to operate in compliance with environmental requirements and in conformance with accepted environmental practices over thelong term.

EFCs focus on helping these smaller parties find ways to obtain financing for their environmental protection responsibilities.

Funding Priority ? Fiscal Year 2008: providing education, technical assistance, and analytic support to state and local officials to: (1) build capacity of state and local governments to develop and support sustainable water systems; (2) provide computer-based financial outreach tools to communities (particularly small ones) to help them more effectively manage watersheds and water systems; (3) support cleaner/greener businesses through source reduction, pollution prevention, and energy conservation; (4) promote environmentally sustainable redevelopment efforts by state and local governments; and (5) assist state and local government in integrating environmental protection in growth management and land use planning.

Funding Priority ? Fiscal Year 2009: providing education, technical assistance, and analytic support to state and local officials and businesses on: (1) environmentally sustainable growth management and land use planning; (2) financing wetlands programs and protection; (3) water and wastewater utility sustainability, energy efficiency and capital planning; (4) financing source reduction, pollution prevention and energy conservation, and encouraging green business products and services; and (5) promoting innovative air pollution reduction financing efforts.

Related Programs

Examples of Funded Projects

In FY 07 and FY 08, EPA funded nine university-based Environmental Finance Centers (EFCs) located across the nation in eight EPA Regions.

Each participating university operated an EFC that provided technical assistance and outreach services to the regulated communities (States, tribal, local governments and businesses).


Agency - Environmental Protection Agency

The mission of the Environmental Protection Agency is to protect human health and the environment. Since 1970, EPA has been working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people.

Office - EPA encourages potential applicants to communicate with the appropriate EPA Regional Office listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog and the Headquarters program contacts listed below.

Relevant Nonprofit Program Categories




Program Accomplishments

EPA made nine non-competitive awards to the existing Environmental Finance Centers in FY 2008 and expects to make nine non-competitive awards to the existing Centers in FY 2009. In FY 2010, EPA plans to open the program up to competition. Environmental Finance Centers are innovative, neutral and multi-disciplinary technical assistance and outreach agents with proven track records of working at the local, state, regional and national levels. They have specialized expertise in finance, information technology transfer, and all environmental media. They have developed numerous successful partnerships and connections with regulated parties, regulators, other technical assistance providers, and non-profit organizations throughout the U.S. and beyond. The EFCs have developed many innovative financing/outreach tools and training courses, and have implemented successful projects in 48 states in all ten EPA regions. The EFCs have pioneered the development and use of charrettes (intensive workshops) with local governments to discover what is needed to pay for environmental services. To date, EFCs have held 32 charrettes in 11 States. The charrettes bring together local officials with finance, planning, and other technical expertise to discuss financing difficulties experienced by the communities. Each charrette seeks to create pertinent, realistic and achievable solutions to the finance challenge. From the charrettes, on-line case studies have been developed to help other communities facing similar challenges. EFCs assist tribal water systems in improving public health protection. EFCs also focus on developing and testing a variety of methods by which water system viability can be determined and maintained.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Grants and cooperative agreements are available to recipients to support their allowable direct costs incident to approved environmental financial technical assistance and outreach work plus allowable indirect costs, in accordance with established EPA policies and regulations.

EPA provides incremental funding for these grants or cooperative agreements on an annual basis.

As part of EPA's substantial involvement, the appropriate EPA regional and/or headquarters office reviews and approves each annual project phase consistent with the scope of work for the grant or cooperative agreement.

As provided in 2 CFR Part 220, recipients of grants or cooperative agreements under this program may not charge fundraising costs to their grants or cooperative agreements.

Funding for research under this program does not include research within the purview of EPA's Office or Research and Development.

Under this program, EPA does not fund research, training, and technical assistance to facilitate the inventory of brownfields sites, site assessments, remediation of brownfields sites, community involvement, and site preparation.

These activities are covered by the EPA grant program established at CFDA 66.814.



Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Assistance under this program is available to public and private non-profit universities and colleges and to nonprofit organizations.

For certain competitive funding opportunities under this CFDA description, the Agency may limit eligibility to compete to a number or subset of eligible applicants consistent with the Agency's Assistance Agreement Competition Policy.

Beneficiary Eligibility

States, tribes, local governments, businesses and community organizations and the general public are the beneficiaries of this program.

Credentials/Documentation

Applicants must demonstrate that they meet eligibility requirements. In addition, EPA may request applicants to demonstrate that they have the appropriate background, academic training, experience in the field, and necessary staff and equipment to carry out the project work. The Agency may also ask principal analysts named in applicants' proposals to provide curriculum vitae and other documentation of relevant experience.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Regarding pre-application/pre-proposal assistance with respect to competitive funding opportunities under this program description, EPA will generally specify the nature of the pre-application/pre-proposal assistance, if any, that will be available to applicants in the competitive announcement.

For additional information, contact the individual(s) listed as "Information Contacts" or see Appendix IV of the Catalog.

This program is eligible for coverage under E.O.

12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.

If the applicant does not know who their Single Point of Contact is, the applicant may call the appropriate EPA regional contact listed in the Information Contacts section, or call the EPA Headquarters Grant Policy Information and Training Branch at (202) 564-5325.

Application Procedures

EPA requires final applications to be made on Standard Form 424. Requests for application kits must be submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency, Grants and Interagency Agreements Management Division, 3903R, Washington, DC 20460 or to the appropriate EPA Regional Office listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog. Additional information on the EPA grant package can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/ogd/grants/how_to_apply.htm. For competitive awards, announcements for competitive funding opportunities will specify application procedures. Applicants may be able to use http://www.grants.gov to electronically apply for certain grant opportunities under this CFDA.

Award Procedures

For competitive awards, EPA will review and evaluate applications, proposals, and/or submissions in accordance with the terms, conditions, and criteria stated in the competitive announcement. Competitions will be conducted in accordance with EPA policies/regulations for competing assistance agreements.

Deadlines

Deadlines for competitive awards will be specified in the competitive announcement.

Authorization

Clean Water Act, Section 104,(b)(3), as amended; Safe Drinking Water Act, Section 1442(b)(3) and Section 1420(g), as amended; Solid Waste Disposal Act, Section 8001(a); Clean Air Act, Section 103(b)(3); Toxics Substances Control Act, Section 10, as amended; Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, Section 20, as amended; Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act, Section 203.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Approximately 120 to 180 days.

Appeals

Assistance agreement competition-related disputes will be resolved in accordance with the dispute resolution procedures published in 70 FR (Federal Register) 3629, 3630 (January 26, 2005). Copies of these procedures may also be requested by contacting the individual(s) listed as "Information Contacts." Disputes relating to matters other than the competitive selection of recipients will be resolved under 40 CFR 30.63 or 40 CFR 31.70, as applicable.

Renewals

Annually subject to the budget and project periods specified in the awards.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

This program does not have a statutory or regulatory formula or matching requirement. The Agency may, as a matter of policy, require cost sharing when such a requirement is specified in the announcement of the competitive funding opportunity.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

EPA normally funds grants and cooperative agreements on a 12-month basis. However, EPA can negotiate the project period with each applicant based on project requirements. The project period for the grants or cooperative agreements may range up to seven years. EPA will provide incremental funding for the cooperative agreements each fiscal year (on a 12-month basis) over the duration of the grants or cooperative agreements.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

EPA includes reporting requirements for grants and cooperative agreements in the terms and conditions of the agreements.

Specific reporting requirements are also identified in the Grant Regulations Part 30 and Part 31.

Organizations awarded EFC grants will be required to submit quarterly or semi annual progress reports to the Project Officer for the duration of the grant period.

Final reports must be submitted to the Project Officer upon completion of the project.

The Project Officers will determine if additional reports are appropriate and necessary.

Audits

Grants and cooperative agreements are subject to inspections and audits by the Comptroller General of the United States, the EPA Office of Inspector General, other EPA staff, or any authorized representative of the Federal government. Reviews by the EPA Project Officer and the Grants Specialist may occur each year. In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," non-federal entities that expend $500,000 or more in a year in Federal awards shall have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-federal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in OMB Circular No. A-133.

Records

The record retention requirements of 40 CFR Part 30 (nonprofits and universities) apply. Financial records, including all documents to support entries on accounting records and to substantiate changes to each grant must be kept available to personnel authorized to examine EPA grant accounts. All records must be maintained for three years from the date of submission of the final expenditure report. If questions still remain, such as those brought up in an audit, related records must be retained until the matter is completely resolved.

Financial Information

Account Identification

68-0108-0-1-304.

Obigations

FY 07 $2,000,000; FY 08 $2,000,000; FY 09 est $2,000,000.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Approximately $222,000 per award per fiscal year.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

These grants and cooperative agreements are subject to EPA's General Grant regulations (40 CFR Part 30, "Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education"). Costs for educational institutions will be determined in accordance with 2 CFR Part 220 (OMB Circular No. A-21). Information pertinent to the EFC program can be found at www.epa.gov/efinpage/efcn.htm. Written materials on the program can be obtained by calling the EFC National Coordinator at (202) 564-5001.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

EPA encourages potential applicants to communicate with the appropriate EPA Regional Office listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog and the Headquarters program contacts listed below.

Headquarters Office

For information on grants applications and procedures, contact: Environmental Protection Agency, Grants and Interagency Agreements Management Division, 3903R, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20460. For program information, contact: Vera Hannigan, Telephone: (202) 564-5001; Fax: (202) 564-2587; hannigan.vera@epa.gov.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

The evaluation and selection criteria for competitive awards under this CFDA description will be described in the announcement of the competitive funding opportunity.



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