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EPA’s Superfund Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) Program Pipeline Safety Trust Conference Freya Margand National TAG Program Manager Contact:

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Presentation on theme: "EPA’s Superfund Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) Program Pipeline Safety Trust Conference Freya Margand National TAG Program Manager Contact:"— Presentation transcript:

1 EPA’s Superfund Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) Program Pipeline Safety Trust Conference Freya Margand National TAG Program Manager Contact:

2 EPA 2 TAG Background CERCLA (sect. 117(e)) as amended by SARA (1986) –For independent technical assistance in interpreting information –To a groups of individuals affected by the site –From initial investigation through operation and maintenance –Initial award of up to $50,000 –20% match required TAG regulations finalized (40 CFR Part 35). –October 2, last revision of regulations. EPA policies Regional staff – program implementation Headquarters – policy issues, national publications, coordination and consistency among regions.

3 EPA 3 Use of TAG funds Most of the funds for procuring a technical advisor to: –explain site related technical information –make site visits to learn about activities –travel to meetings/hearings about site –evaluate site plans for reuse –interpret & explain health-related information Limited amount of funds for grant management and administrative expenses

4 EPA 4 Not Allowed No lobbying No travel for group members No lawsuits or legal assistance/actions No social activities, fundraising or entertaining No tuition or training (one-time health & safety for TA excepted) No reopening or challenging final decisions.

5 EPA 5 Eligibility Requirements Only one TAG at a time at a site Listed on National Priorities List, or proposed with CERCLA action underway. Group of individuals affected by site Group is incorporated as nonprofit Minimum federal grant administrative & managements met Must include 20% cost share in project budget

6 EPA 6 Ineligible Entities No groups affiliated with national organizations No academic institutions No political subdivisions No PRPs, or groups representing or receiving money from PRPs No groups established by or sustained by any of the above

7 EPA 7 “Competition” Process Interested group submits letter of intent (LOI) to regional EPA office EPA notifies broader community of LOI in local newspaper(s) 30 days for coalition-building or other LOIs 30 days to complete application 90 days to revise/clarify application per EPA comments

8 EPA 8 Criteria for Selection Meets all minimum eligibility requirements Ranking based on three equally-weighted criteria: –Membership is representative of broader community interests –plan to use the technical advisor –plan and ability to inform the rest of the community

9 EPA 9 Funding Initial award of up to $50,000 (by Statute) Additional (non-competed) funding based on specific criteria: –Groups grant management track record –Site characteristics meet 3 out of 10 under 40 CFR § TAG funding is cost recoverable in final settlement EPA can use site-specific accounts to fund TAGs

10 EPA 10 TAGs Can Help build trust lend credibility to EPA information create dialogue foster more engaged community community better articulate concerns/views create better and more appropriate Agency decisions

11 EPA 11 Lessons Learned (EPA) EPA must inform community and maintain open two- way communication Clearly communicate what is and is not on the table for discussion (manage expectations) Communicated with community directly, not through the TA Recognize TAG group does not speak for the whole community Must be prepared to provide a lot of support

12 EPA 12 Lessons Learned (Community) Group must be well organized and well connected with broader community Most success when group takes a “problem-solving” approach w/ TA Group must be open to receiving information contrary to original views Organization w/ identity built on mistrust and conflict → unable to meaningfully engage broader community Federal grant requirements can be burdensome Can be difficult to find qualified technical advisors

13 EPA 13 Lessons Learned (TA) Best if truly independent, not an advocate for a particular viewpoint Qualities – excellent communicator and approachable Needs to communicate what is reasonable to expect from the cleanup process and their services Should be based within a reasonable distance from community

14 EPA 14 For More Information EPA TAG website at


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