Compliance Assistance Support for Services to the Regulated Community and Other Assistance Providers

To provide financial assistance to private nonprofit institutions, universities, and public agencies to develop projects to improve environmental compliance within an identified industrial/government sector or environmental topic.

In FY 2008, the funds are supporting web-based compliance assistance
tools utilizing industry and commercial communication channels to deliver the assistance tools.

Funding Priority - Fiscal Year 2008: An estimated $780,000 will be used to support the Centers Programs.

With this investment, the EPA plans to continue supporting 12 Centers and to expand and improve the Compliance Assistance Center Platform (Platform).

Platform activities will include (1) improving or expanding Platform tools and services; (2) supporting Platform-based Centers; and (3) developing and coordinating state regulatory compliance assistance material.

Examples of Funded Projects

Past projects include the development of sector-specific websites providing a wide range of compliance assistance tools and resources.

Tools developed include web sites, toll-free telephone assistance services, e-mail discussion groups, other interactive technologies, video/workbooks, satellite training, compliance audit checklists and guidebooks, and compliance fact sheets assistance in implementing pollution prevention activities.

The existing Center websites can be accessed at www.assistancecenters.net or www.epa.gov/compliance/assistance/centers/index.html.


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.



Program Accomplishments

Center site visit activity for FY 2007 increased 4 percent from FY 2006. In FY 2007, the Centers Websites were visited 1,958,000 times by their target audiences and the public, and experienced over 6.5 million requests for web pages and compliance assistance documents. Center survey respondents expressed a high degree of satisfaction with Center services: (1) 83 percent of the regulated community strongly agreed or agreed that the Centers helped them understand regulations that apply to a sector, local government, or federal facility (2)81% of the regulated entity respondents took one or more actions as a result of Center use. Actions ranged from contacting a regulatory agency, changing a process or practice to conducting a self audit; (3)73 percent of the assistance provider community respondents took one or more actions as a result of Center use. Actions included: providing fact sheets or compliance guides; helping clients identify pollution prevention opportunities; and helping clients change processes or practices; (4) 53 percent of the regulated community respondents and 46% of the assistance provider community respondents indicated an environmental improvement from actions taken as a result of using a Center. The EPA funded 12 Centers and Center Services under 10 cooperative agreements in FY 2007 and FY 2008. Each Center addresses real world issues in language that speaks to the regulated entities. Through internet Websites, telephone assistance lines, fax-back systems, and e-mail discussion groups, the Centers are helping businesses, local governments, and federal facilities understand and comply with federal environmental requirements and save money through pollution prevention techniques. In FY 2008, EPA awarded funding for the development of a Center for the food processing industry.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Funds are to be used to develop and communicate environmental compliance information applicable to the specific industrial/government sector or topic for which financial assistance is provided.

It is expected that common communications channels used by the industry/government would be used to quickly distribute information to the targeted audience.

EPA funding must be used only for activities specified in the approved scope of work; discretionary funding will not be provided.



Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Applicants must be nonprofit organizations as that term is defined in Section 4(6) of the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act of 1999, Public Law 96-107, 31 U.S.C.

6101 Note.

Colleges, universities, and community colleges are eligible to apply.

EPA will also accept applications from state, tribal and local governments.

However, nonprofit organizations described in Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code that engage in lobbying activities as defined in Section 3 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 are not eligible to apply.

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.

Additionally, for certain funding opportunities under this CFDA, applicants may have to demonstrate how they meet the following factors for threshold eligibility purposes: That they have an indirect cost rate that has been approved or is pending approval by a federal agency or has a cost allocation system that meets the requirements in the applicable OMB Circular; That they have had a previous working relationship(s) with experts and national organizations devoted to the relevant industrial, commercial or governmental sector, or intends to partner with an organization with such expertise; An understanding of the environmental needs of the relevant industrial, commercial or governmental sector through past activities, or intends to partner with an organization with such expertise; That they, or a partnering organization, has familiarity with applicable federal, State and local environmental regulations and experience in developing tools (e.g., training, plain-language guides, fact-sheets, Agency contact locators, etc.) to improve the audiences' understanding of their regulatory obligations; Previous experience (or intends to partner with an organization with experience) in developing and maintaining web-based services.

Beneficiary Eligibility

The primary beneficiaries are small businesses, local governments and colleges/universities that are being serviced by the grantees. Other beneficiaries include State, local, general public, and the regulated business community.

Credentials/Documentation

EPA may request that applicants document their nonprofit status. The Agency may also request that applicants demonstrate they have appropriate background, experience in the field, organizational capacity and necessary equipment to carry out projects.

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.

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

For competitive awards, deadlines will be specified in Request for Applications or Request for Initial Proposals. Please contact Headquarters for application deadlines.

Authorization

Clean Water Act of 1972, as amended, Section 104, Public Law 92-500, 33 U.S.C.A. 1254; Clean Air Act of 1970, as amended, Section 103, Public Law 91-604, 42 U.S.C.A. 7403; Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976, as amended, Section 8001, Public Law 94-580 42 U.S.C.A. 6981.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Approximately 60 days from the date of submission of the final proposal.

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

None. Generally, cooperative agreements will be awarded for a five year project period. EPA will partially fund each budget period and will consider funding the balance of budget requests contingent upon satisfactory progress as certified by the EPA Project Officer, the availability of funds, and EPA priorities.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

EPA's Appropriation Act requires that applicants submitting unsolicited research grant proposals share in the cost of conducting research. The amount of the cost share will be based on the mutuality of interest between the Government and the applicant. Applicants will be advised of other matching requirements, if any, in Requests for Applications or Requests for Initial Proposals. Although EPA may not require matching funds, applicants may be encouraged to provide information regarding resources (cash/in-kind services) that they would commit to manage a Compliance Assistance Center. This program has no statutory formula.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

EPA generally funds grants and cooperative agreements on a 12-month basis. However, EPA can negotiate the project period with each applicant based on project requirements. Incremental funding may be available. EPA generally limits project periods to 5 years. EPA will partially fund each budget period and will consider funding the balance of budget requests contingent upon satisfactory progress as certified by the EPA Project Officer, the availability of funds, and EPA priorities.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

Reporting requirements are identified at 40 CFR Parts 30 and 31.

EPA may include additional information regarding the content and frequency of reporting requirements in the terms and conditions of the agreements.

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) or 40 CFR Part 31 (governmental units) are applicable depending upon the identity of the recipient. 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 until expiration of three years from the date of submission of the final expenditure report. If questions still remain, such as those raised as a result of audit, related records must be retained until the matter is completely resolved.

Financial Information

Account Identification

68-0108-0-1-304.

Obigations

FY 07 $1,280,240; FY 08 $780,000; and FY 09 $0.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

$35,000/year - $140,000/year. An approximate average of the financial assistance awards that was made in the past and current fiscal years is $65,000.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Compliance Assistance Centers are subject to EPA's General Grant Regulations (40 CFR Part 30 and 40 CFR Part 31). Costs will be determined in accordance with OMB Circular No. A-87 for State and local governments and Indian Tribes, OMB Circular No. A-21 for educational institutions, OMB Circular No. A-122 for non-profit institutions, and FAR Part 31 for profit makers. Additional information pertinent to the Centers program can be found at www.assistancecenters.net. Centers brochures and/or fact-sheets can be obtained by calling the EPA Compliance Assistance Centers Team Leader at (202) 564-7076.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Not applicable.

Headquarters Office

Tracy Back, Compliance Assistance Centers Team Lead, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20460, Tele: (202) 564-7076, Fax: (202) 564-0037, email: back.tracy@epa.gov. Hans Scheifele, Transportation Center Lead, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20460, Tele: (202) 564-1459, Fax: (202) 564-0009, email: scheifele.hans@epa.gov. Hans Scheifele, Printed Wiring Board Center Lead, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20460, Tele: (202) 564-1459, Fax: (202) 564-0009, email: scheifele.hans@epa.gov. Hans Scheifele, Chemical Manufacturing Center Lead, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20460, Tele: (202) 564-1459, Fax: (202) 564-0009, email: scheifele.hans@epa.gov. Kenneth Harmon, Local Government Center Lead, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20460, Tele: (202) 564-7049, Fax: (202) 564-0037, email: harmon.kenneth@epa.gov. Kenneth Harmon, Education Sector Lead, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20460, Tele: (202) 564-7049, Fax: (202) 564-0037, email: harmon.kenneth@epa.gov. Hans Scheifele, Metal Finishing Center Lead, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20460, Tele: (202) 564-1459, Fax: (202) 564-0009, email: scheifele.hans@epa.gov. Hans Scheifele, Paints & Coatings Center Lead, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20460, Tele: (202) 564-1459, Fax: (202) 564-0009, email: scheifele.hans@epa.gov. Hans Scheifele, Printing Industry Center Lead, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20460, Tele: (202) 564-1459, Fax: (202) 564-0009, email: scheifele.hans@epa.gov. Hans Scheifele, Automotive Recycling Center Lead, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20460, Tele: (202) 564-1459, Fax: (202) 564-0009, email: scheifele.hans@epa.gov. Hans Scheifele, Construction Center Lead, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20460, Tele: (202) 564-1459, Fax: (202) 564-0009, email: scheifele.hans@epa.gov. John Mason, US/Mexico Border Environmental Issues Lead, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20460, Tele: (202) 564-7036, Fax: (202) 564-0037, mason.john@epa.gov. Tracy Back, Platform Development Lead, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20460, Tele: (202) 564-7076, Fax: (202) 564-0037, back.tracy@epa.gov. Joanne Berman, Food Processign Center Lead, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20460, Tele: (202) 564-7064, Fax: (202) 564-0037, berman.joanne@epa.gov.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

The evaluation and selection criteria for competitive awards under this CFDA description will be described in the competitive announcement. Non-competitive proposals are judged for (a) technical merit in terms of: (1) strengths and weaknesses of the project; (2) adequacy of overall project design; (3) competency of proposed staff; (4) suitability of applicant's available resources; (5) appropriateness of the proposed project period and budget; and (6) probability that the project will accomplish stated objectives; and, for (b) program interest in terms of: (1) the need for the proposed project; and (2) relationship to program objectives.



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