|From:||Lenny Siegel <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
|Date:||23 Sep 2002 18:44:24 -0000|
|Subject:||[CPEO-BIF] Summary of Proposed Grant Guidelines|
Last week we announced the availability of U.S. EPA's "Proposed Guidelines for Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grants" at http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/pdf/0902jt0.pdf. EPA is taking comments on the proposed guidelines through Thursday (September 26, 2002), when it is holding two public meetings on the subject at it DC headquarters. EPA plans to finalize the Guidelines in October, but I believe that in its current form the document provides a road map that potential applications should be prepared to follow, given the November 27, 2002 proposed deadline for the submission of Initial Proposals. This message contains my summary of key provisions of the draft, as well as brief CPEO comments on the Community Involvement criterion for Final Proposals. Lenny *** The Proposed Guidelines appear to implement, in a fair, comprehensive, and clear manner, the Brownfields Law enacted in January, 2002. The document also draws upon EPA's several years of experience in providing Brownfields cooperate agreements. As the title of the document states, it covers grants for assessment (modeled after the original pilots), revolving loans, and direct cleanup. Grants for training, conferences, and research will be addressed separately. Potential grant recipients include local governments, tribes, and states. As provided by the legislation, nonprofit organizations, including universities, are eligible to apply for funds to clean property that they own. For the first time, low-risk petroleum sites - essentially those not be funded through other programs - may be addressed with Brownfields funding. In fact, one quarter of the assessment funds have been set aside for petroleum sites. Assessment Grant applicants may request up to $200,000 to address hazardous substance sites plus another $200,000 to address petroleum sites. With a waiver those amounts may rise to $350,000 each. Applicants may seek up to $1,000,000 each for Revolving Loan Fund grants, and eligible entities may pool their funds. Petroleum sites may be addressed with these funds. Recipients must match EPA funds with a 20% cost share in the form of money, labor, material, or services. Applicants may request Cleanup Grants of up to $200,000 per property, for up to five sites each. As with the revolving loan fund, they must provide a 20% cost share. EPA proposes a two-step competitive selection process, covering all three programs. Applicants are to submit Initial Proposals by November 27, 2002. Eligible applicants may apply for all three programs at once. Regional panels will first evaluate the proposals against relatively simple threshold criteria such as applicant eligibility and community notification. For assessment and cleanup grants, the applicant should describe the contamination and the relationship of the applicant to the property. For assessment grants, if the applicant has not identified specific sites, it must describe its site selection process. Applications that satisfy the threshold criteria will then be ranked by the Regional panels. Panels will award up to 40 points for Community Need, 40 Points for Leveraging of Additional Resources, and 20 points for Ability to Manage Grants. In addition, Revolving Loan Program applicants may receive up to 40 points for describing the Target Market for Loans and Subgrants. I consider the Community Need ranking especially important. Congress made it clear that public funds are not simply being provided to enable commercial property deals, but also to serve the public interest. The proposed criterion for Community Need, for all three programs, reads: "1. Provide a detailed description of the target community that the project(s) will benefit. Include demographic information and indicators, such as the poverty rate, unemployment rate, special community situations (e.g., population size), or other environmental justice factors that support community need relating directly to this project (e.g., low-income and/or minority communities; sensitive populations, such as children and pregnant women; or communities disproportionately impacted by environmental factors). "2. Characterize the impact of brownfields on your community (or communities) by describing the extent of brownfields (e.g., size, number, location) and the economic, health, and/or environmental impacts of the brownfields." For each program and region, those applicants ranking highest will be invited to submit Final Proposals by March 5, 2003. (The guidelines don't appear to promise that EPA will send out invitation by any specific date.) Awards "will be made by EPA senior management based upon the evaluation and ranking of Final Proposals by National Evaluation Panels." In selecting grantees, EPA may consider other factors, such as geographic distribution. Proposals under all three programs will be ranked under the following criteria: * Sustainable Reuse of Brownfields/Development Potential (15 points). This criterion goes beyond economic development metrics, such as jobs, investment, and tax base, to include the applicant's vision for "preventing the creation of future brownfields." * Reduction of Threats to Human Health and the Environment (20 points). This criterion includes a description of sensitive populations and plans for coordination with the local public health department. * Reuse of Existing Infrastructure (15 points). * Greenspace/Open Space (15 points). This criterion acknowledges the growing realization, among most stakeholders, that economic growth (on brownfield properties) is not the sole goal of Brownfields revitalization. * Community Involvement (20 points). Applicants are asked to explain how the local community was engaged in the development of the proposal, and EPA warns that it may conduct "reference checks" with listed community contacts. Applicants are also asked to discuss their plans for involving the community in cleanup decisions and reuse planning, and to describe their plans for communicating project progress - including the use of indigenous languages. In addition, Revolving Loan Program applicants will be asked to submit a Business Plan worth up to 20 points. Appendix 3 of the Proposed Guidelines clarifies the eligibility of properties for funding under the three programs. It provides a detailed explanation of which petroleum-contaminated sites are now covered. Mine-scarred lands, for both coal and other mines, are also now covered, as are properties, including residences, contaminated by former illegal drug laboratories. In general, properties funded under other federal cleanup programs are still not eligible for Brownfields funding. "Superfund" National Priorities List sites and federal facilities remain excluded. However, privately owned sites part of the Defense Department's Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) program and the Energy Department's Formerly Used Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) may be eligible. In those cases, "the eligibility for brownfields funding does not alter a private owner's ability to cost recover from the federal government in cases where the previous federal government owner remains liable for environmental damages." *** CPEO believes that EPA has done an excellent job of creating a transparent process for selecting grantees under the three Brownfields programs covered by the proposed guidelines. We believe, however, that the Community Involvement sections' Final Proposal Criteria could be strengthened by stating that it is EPA's intent that community involvement in Brownfields projects be "early, often, and continuing." Based upon reports from community groups in some localities, community feedback should go beyond EPA's use of reference checks during the proposal submission process. EPA should be prepared to determine whether the community involvement plans and promises included in the proposals are in fact implemented. -- Lenny Siegel Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight c/o PSC, 278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041 Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545 Fax: 650/961-8918 <email@example.com> http://www.cpeo.org ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ To read CPEO's archived Brownfields messages visit http://www.cpeo.org/lists/brownfields If this email has been forwarded to you and you'd like to subscribe, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ==^================================================================ This email was sent to: email@example.com EASY UNSUBSCRIBE click here: http://igc.topica.com/u/?aVxieR.a3Z0sy Or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org T O P I C A -- Register now to manage your mail! http://www.topica.com/partner/tag02/register ==^================================================================
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