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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Research and Development
National Center for Environmental Research
Empact Metro Grants

CLOSED - FOR REFERENCES PURPOSES ONLY

Environmental Monitoring for Public Access and Community Tracking

OPENING DATE: DECEMBER 15, 1998
CLOSING DATE: April 8, 1999

1.0 INTRODUCTION
2.0 EMPACT
2.1 BACKGROUND
2.2 DESCRIPTION
2.3 PROJECT COMPONENTS
2.4 ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS
2.4.1 Community-based Approach
2.4.2 Partnerships and Consortium Building
2.4.3 Stakeholder Involvement
2.4.4 Project Management Plan
2.4.5 Information Management
3.0 Eligibility
4.0 Funding
5.0 INSTRUCTIONS FOR APPLICATION SUBMISSION
5.1 THE APPLICATION
5.2 HOW TO APPLY
5.3 WITHDRAWAL
6.0 REVIEW AND SELECTION
6.1 REVIEW PROCEDURES
6.2 CRITERIA AND CONSIDERATIONS
6.3 TIME LINE FOR APPLICATION PROCESS
6.4 PROPRIETARY INFORMATION
6.5 GRANT ADMINISTRATION
7.0 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
ATTACHMENTS
A. EMPACT Metropolitan Areas
B. Standard Form 424 and Instructions
C. Key Contacts Form
D. Example Abstract
E. Current and Pending Support Form
F. Itemized Budget (Example Format)
The required forms are available in MSWord and/or PDF format

PURPOSE OF NOTICE

The purpose of this notice is to solicit applications from eligible candidates under the Environmental Monitoring for Public Access and Community Tracking Grants Program, sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

1.0 INTRODUCTION

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announces its Fiscal Year (FY) 1999 competition for grants as part of the program called Environmental Monitoring for Public Access and Community Tracking (EMPACT). The ultimate goal of EMPACT is to
assist communities to provide sustainable public access to environmental monitoring data and information that are clearly-communicated, time-relevant (timely or real-time), useful, and accurate in the largest U.S. metropolitan areas. Environmental monitoring consists of the systematic measurement, evaluation, and communication of physical, chemical, and/or biological information intended to give insight into environmental conditions. EMPACT seeks to assist the American public in day-to-day decision-making about their health and the environment. Additional information about the EMPACT program and existing EMPACT projects is available at http://www.epa.gov/empact.

This solicitation will lead to grant awards which establish pilot programs in a limited number of eligible cities. The pilot programs (city pilots) will emphasize using advanced and
innovative technologies to (A) monitor environmental conditions and (B) provide and communicate environmental information to citizens. The pilots also require effective partnerships between local and state governments, research institutions,
non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the private sector, and/or the Federal Government to provide timely environmental information to the public. It is essential that data and information derived from EMPACT monitoring activities be disseminated using terminology and format that are clearly understandable, relevant, and credible to the lay public.

Proposed partnerships under this competition must be established with formal agreements (i.e., Memoranda of Understanding, contracts, sub-grants) which outline the roles
and responsibilities of individual partners in the EMPACT project. Proposed projects are encouraged to capitalize on existing activities or tools and capabilities that are commercially available or within the public domain.

GENERAL INFORMATION ON THE COMPETITION:

EMPACT Information Voice mailbox (1-800-490-9194). Your call will be returned within 24 hours. See Frequently Asked Questions, Section 7.0 of this solicitation

Dr. Barbara Karn
EPA National Center for Environmental Research
karn.barbara@epa.gov
voice (202) 564-6820

Dr. Charlotte Cottrill
EPA EMPACT program
cottrill.charlotte@epa.gov
voice (202) 564-6771

2.0 EMPACT

2.1 BACKGROUND

A 1997 Presidential initiative charged EPA and its partners (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and United States Geologic Survey (USGS)) with developing a program to improve the measurement, access, understanding and dissemination of key environmental information in the U.S. metropolitan areas. The EMPACT program emphasizes (1) applying innovative technologies that support time-relevant environmental monitoring, and (2) providing effective tools for managing and communicating the resulting environmental information. The goals of EMPACT are to:

  • Incorporate improved and updated technologies for time-relevant environmental measurement and monitoring;
  • Facilitate public access to comprehensive, easily understood environmental information;
  • Provide effective tools for communicating, interpreting, and applying environmental data and information;
  • Establish partnerships within metro areas to ensure that the information is useful and timely for families and communities;
  • Develop a management and data framework within which communities can work, but which will also provide the ability to aggregate information on a local, regional, and national scale.

2.2 DESCRIPTION

The EPA is seeking applications for assistance to establish EMPACT metro pilot projects that demonstrate innovative and effective ways to monitor, deliver, and communicate time-relevant, scientifically sound, environmental information to citizens. Proposed projects may address one or several time-relevant environmental parameters related to air quality water quality, ecosystem quality, or other important environmental conditions in places where citizens live, work, learn and recreate. A need for public access to this information in the EMPACT metropolitan area must be established in the project application. Time-relevant environmental data are those collected and communicated to the public in a time frame that is relevant to the temporal variability of the parameter measured. As a general rule, the sampling interval of measurement for environmental variables will be some interval less than the average time it takes for that variable to undergo a significant or relevant change. For example, the amount of UV radiation reaching the earth varies daily, while water quality in a small lake may change significantly on only a weekly or monthly basis. Provision of time-relevant information must incorporate the following elements:

    (1) TIME-RELEVANT MONITORING/MEASUREMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PARAMETERS;

    (2) TIME-RELEVANT INFORMATION MANAGEMENT, PROCESSING, AND DELIVERY; and

    (3) TIME-RELEVANT COMMUNICATION of information to citizens.

2.3 PROJECT COMPONENTS

All EMPACT project applications must address how the project will accomplish each of the project elements, as follows:

A. Application of new technology or existing innovative technology for time-relevant measurement/monitoring of environmental data involves insuring valid measurements of environmental parameters. Work on this component includes the application or augmentation of innovative technologies to measure and monitor time-relevant environmental data in an EMPACT metropolitan area where time-relevant environmental information was not previously available to the general public. The applicant should specify the environmental parameter, the sampling interval, and the spatial extent of the environmental parameter(s) to be monitored or measured. Applicable quality assurance and quality control procedures must be implemented and described to ensure that valid measurements are obtained.

B. Application of information management, processing, and delivery system technologies to the collection of time-relevant measurement/monitoring of environmental data. Work on this component requires the application of data management, processing, and delivery system technologies to handle time-relevant environmental data in an EMPACT metropolitan area, making the data available to the general public in as close to real time as possible. Applications should detail the hardware/software approaches that will be used for data telecommunication, data processing, and management systems. Applications should address data management responsibilities among collaborative partners to ensure data documentation, data standardization, and quality assurance in the project. Each application must include the provision for an Internet home page for describing their program and for posting their project's local environmental data.

C. Communication of time-relevant environmental information to the public involves presenting information in a timely manner to citizens in a format that is easily understood and will be useful to their day-to-day decision-making relative to their environment.

This component involves the development and implementation of effective communication to the public that will provide time-relevant information in a format that is easily understood and readily accessible (e.g. maps, graphics, modeling and trends analysis based on time-relevant information, explanatory material, or visualization via TV broadcasts, radio announcements, newspapers, Internet, etc.) and useful to their day-to-day decision-making about their health and the environment. Effective communication includes providing
information to help the user(s) understand the limitations of the data and the relevance of the data to environmental conditions.

2.4 ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS AND REQUIREMENTS

2.4.1 Community-based Approach

The goals of a community-based approach to environmental protection are to enhance the citizen's understanding of environmental issues, and to develop tools, information, and
data that will build the capacity for communities to address these issues. Community-based environmental protection considers the particular cultural, physical, ecological, socio-economic, or other characteristics with which people in a particular place identify or to which they assign value. A community-based approach is best suited for decision-making at
the local to state level.

2.4.2 Partnerships and Consortium Building

The most competitive applications under this solicitation will be developed by a consortium of organizations with a variety of expertise. The consortium might include, for example, several of the following entities: state or local governments, Tribal governments, community groups, universities, NGOs, private corporations, or the Federal Government. These entities would participate from inception (designing the project) to completion (analyzing and disseminating the results of the project). However, the grant awardee (principal investigating organization) must be a local government as defined in 40CFR
Part 31.3 representing one of the EMPACT metropolitan areas (which has not received a prior EMPACT award). (Tribal governments located in one of the EMPACT metropolitan areas are also eligible to apply.) The grant awardees may provide resources to non-Federal partners in the consortium through appropriate funding vehicles (e.g., sub-contract). Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) or Letters of Commitment detailing the roles and responsibilities of the partners and plans for coordination and cooperation must be provided as part of the application. (Each MOU should be limited to 2 pages).

Applications must have a specific geographic focus (must address an information need of one or more EMPACT metropolitan areas) but the outcomes and outputs must be ongoing, sustainable and transferable to other communities. Applications should specify sources and amounts of additional resources that will be provided to the project beyond the grant resources. Cost-sharing of at least 5% is required and additional leveraging of resources through matching funds or in-kind services provided by any or all of the project consortium members is encouraged and will be considered in final project selections (refer to Section 6.2D). EPA is interested in assisting local communities/cities to develop the infrastructure to monitor, manage and deliver time-relevant environmental information to citizens without continuing support under this grant program after the end of the grant award year(s).

2.4.3 Stakeholder Involvement

In addition to the partnerships created by the project consortium, the proposed project must be prepared to work with all relevant stakeholders. Stakeholders include any group or individual who is affected by or can affect the future of the project. Stakeholders might include, for example, community groups, local health care providers, chambers of commerce, industry, school district officials, city planning organizations, a park service, parents, etc.

2.4.4 Project Management Plan

Project applicants must provide Project Management Plans demonstrating their ability to manage this project. The plan should include information on the management of current and future available resources (dollars and personnel), the name of the individual who has overall management responsibility and authority, an organization chart that illustrates the relationship among partners, plans for assignment of responsibilities and any necessary arrangements to ensure a coordinated effort, and a time line (including phases of work
and milestones) for completing this project. The Project Management Plan should also describe a procedure for project evaluation at the end of this project (this should be limited
to 7 pages).

2.4.5 Information Management Plan

Each application must include a preliminary Information Management Plan. The need for a quality Information Management Plan is critical to ensure effective resource allocation in the development and delivery of EMPACT data and to assure that EMPACT project managers and subsequent data users understand the information in the collected and retrieved databases. All data collected must be made available on the Internet and
stored electronically. EMPACT has developed Information Management guidelines. At a minimum, these guidelines require data to be documented, be made available on the Internet, and include a statement of plans for coordinating with the national EMPACT Program. Once project awards are made, successful awardees will be expected to coordinate with EPA in order to develop an information management approach consistent with Federal information management standards and EMPACT information management guidelines and to ensure data can be exchanged and shared across all EMPACT projects. FY99 EMPACT Information Management guidelines are available at http://www.epa.gov/empact/guidance.

The Information Management Plan must include the following
elements:

A. Name(s) of the data owners (e.g., organization that collects or manages the data),

B. Description of the data flow process (i.e., from collection to storage to retrieval to delivery),

C. Description of the data collection methods, including applicable quality assurance, quality control, and data security procedures,

D. Description of the data storage and retrieval system, including associated hardware and software,

E. Description of the data delivery system, and

F. Budgetary information on the development, operations, and maintenance of the system.

(This should be limited to 6 pages).

3.0 ELIGIBILITY

Local governments, as defined by 40CFR Part 31.3, and the District of Columbia, located in one of the EMPACT metropolitan areas in the U.S. are eligible to apply for this program (see attached definition of metropolitan area and list of the 86 largest U.S. metropolitan areas.) NOTE: The eight metro areas with 1998 grants are not eligible to apply for new grants and are noted on the list. Tribal governments located within an EMPACT metropolitan area are also eligible to apply.

The principal investigator must be a current employee of the grantee. The local government will be the grant awardee although the most successful applications will be developed in
cooperation with a consortium of partners (refer to Section 2.4.2).

Partner organizations may receive funds through sub-contracts with the awardee institution. Where multiple organizations are involved, the application must be submitted by only one of them (i.e., local government organization). The role to be played by each of the members of the consortium must be described in the application which should also include information on the legal and managerial arrangements contemplated.

In accordance with Federal statutes and regulations and EPA policies, no person on grounds of race, color, age, sex, national origin, or disability shall be excluded from
participation in, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving financial assistance from the Environmental Protection Agency.

4.0 FUNDING

Approximately $3.4 million will be made available for this competition, with a projected award range from $250,000 to a maximum of $500,000 over the total life of the project, and a total project duration of 12 to 24 months. Awards are subject to the availability of funds.

5.0 INSTRUCTIONS FOR APPLICATION SUBMISSION

5.1 THE APPLICATION

The application is made through the submission of the materials described below. It is important that the application contain all the information requested and be submitted in the formats described.

Once an applicant is chosen for award (i.e., after external peer review and internal programmatic review), additional documentation and forms will be requested by the Project Officer.

All award documents, except standard forms, must be submitted on 8.5 X 11 inch paper using 12 point type with 1 inch margins.

    The application contains the following:

    A. Standard Form 424: The applicant must complete Standard Form 424 (see attached form and instructions). This form will act as a cover sheet for the application and should be its first page. Instructions for completion of the SF424 are included with the form. The form must contain the original signature of an authorized representative of the applying organization. Please note that both the Principal Investigator and an administrative contact should be identified in Section 5 of the SF424.

    B. Key Contacts: The applicant must complete the Key Contacts Form (attached) as the second page of the submitted application.

    C. Abstract: The abstract is a very important document. Prior to attending peer review panel meetings, some of the panelists may read only the abstract. Therefore, it is critical that the abstract accurately describe the project being proposed and convey all the essential components of the project. Also, in the event of an award, the abstracts will form the basis for an annual report of awards made under this program. The abstract should include the following information:

    1. Category and Sorting Code: The category is EMPACT. Use the correct code that corresponds to this RFA. The code for EMPACT is 99-NCERQA-K1.

    2. Title: Use the exact title as it appears in the rest of the application.

    3. Investigators: List the names and affiliations of each investigator who will significantly contribute to the project including the Principal Co-Investigators from each of the partner organizations in the project consortium. Start with the Principal Investigator from the local government.

    4. Organization: List the name and city/state of each participating applicant organization, in the same order as the list of investigators.

    5. Project Period: Provide the proposed project dates.

    6. Project Cost: Provide the total request to EPA for the entire project period.

    7. Project Summary: This should summarize: (a) the objectives of the project, (b) the approach to be used (which should give an accurate description of the project as described in the application), and (c) the expected results of the project and how they address the program needs identified in the solicitation.

    The abstract must not exceed one page (see attached).

    D. Project Description: This description is not to exceed fifteen (15) consecutively numbered pages (center bottom), exclusive of the references cited. The description must provide the following information:

    1. Objectives: List objective(s) of the proposed project and identify the EMPACT metropolitan area where the proposed project will be conducted. Include a statement on the context of the proposed project in relation to other environmental projects in the proposed EMPACT metropolitan area. Justify the general public's need for the project in the proposed EMPACT metropolitan area.

    2. Approach: Describe the parameter to be measured, methods, approaches, and techniques that you intend to employ in meeting the objectives stated above. Describe how the project will address the three required project components: (1) TIME-RELEVANT MONITORING/MEASUREMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PARAMETERS (2) TIME-RELEVANT INFORMATION MANAGEMENT, PROCESSING, AND DELIVERY, AND (3) TIME-RELEVANT COMMUNICATION.

    3. Expected Results or Benefits: Describe the results you expect to achieve during the project and the benefits of success as they relate to the project objectives and components.

    4. General Project Information: Discuss other information relevant to the potential success of the project. This should include facilities, personnel, project schedules, proposed management structure, interactions with stakeholders, etc.

    5. Important Attachments: Appendices, or other information unless listed in E-K below, must be included within the 15-page limit. References, Memoranda of Understanding between the partners within the metropolitan area consortium, the Project Management Plan, the Information Management Plan, resumes, Current and Pending Support, Budget, Budget Justification, and Quality Assurance/Quality Control Narrative Statement, may be in addition to the 15 page limit.

    E. Memoranda of Understanding: Each MOU (refer to Section 2.4.2) must be limited to two (2) pages.

    F. Project Management Plan: The Management Plan (refer to Section 2.4.4) must be limited to six (6) pages.

    G. Information Management Plan: The Information Management Plan (refer to Section 2.4.5) must be limited to six (6) pages.

    H. Resumes: The resumes of all principal investigators and key project personnel should be presented. Each resume must not exceed two consecutively numbered (bottom center) pages.

    I. Budget: A detailed, itemized budget for each year of the one or two year proposed project must be included. This budget must use the format shown in the example (see attached). Budget should include funds for travel to one annual meeting with OIRM to plan for coordinated information management and one annual program-wide meeting in Washington, D.C. These meetings at a minimum must involve the Principal Investigators from each metropolitan area project. At least 5% institutional cost sharing is required (refer to section 2.4.2). A statement concerning cost sharing should be added to the budget justification and should be specific to the budget categories to which it applies.

    J. Budget Justification: This section should describe the basis for calculating the personnel, fringe benefits, travel, equipment, supplies, contractual support, and other costs identified in the itemized budget. This should also include an explanation of how the indirect costs and charges were calculated. This justification should not exceed two consecutively numbered (bottom center) pages.

    K. Quality Assurance Narrative Statement: For any project involving data collection or processing, conducting surveys, environmental measurements, and/or modeling, provide a statement on how quality processes or products will be assured. This statement should not exceed two consecutively numbered, 8.5x11-inch pages of single-spaced standard 12-point type with 1-inch margins. This is in addition to the 15 pages permitted for the Project Description. The Quality Assurance Narrative Statement should, for each item listed below, either present the required information or provide a justification as to why the item does not apply to the proposed research. For awards that involve environmentally related measurements or data generation, a quality system that complies with the requirements of ANSI/ASQC E4, "Specifications and Guidelines for Quality Systems for Environmental Data Collection and Environmental Technology Programs," must be in place.

    1. The data collection activities to be performed (reference may be made to the specific page and paragraph number in the application where this information may be found); acceptance criteria for data quality (precision, accuracy, representativeness, completeness, comparability, time-relevancy).

    2. The study design, including sample type and location requirements and any statistical analyses that were used to estimate the types and numbers of samples required for physical samples or similar information for studies using survey and interview techniques.

    3. The procedures for the handling and custody of samples, including sample identification, preservation, transportation, and storage.

    4. The methods that will be used to analyze samples collected, including a description of the sampling and/or analytical instruments required.

    5. The procedures that will be used in the calibration and performance evaluation of the sampling and analytical methods used during the project.

    6. The procedures for data reduction and reporting, including a description of statistical analyses to be used and of any computer models to be designed or utilized with associated verification and validation techniques.

    7. The intended use of the data as they relate to the project objectives.

    8. The quantitative and or qualitative procedures that will be used to evaluate the success of the project.

    9. Any plans for peer or other reviews of the survey design or analytical methods prior to data collection.

    [ANSI/ASQC E4, "Specifications and Guidelines for Quality Systems for Environmental Data Collection and Environmental Technology Programs," is available for purchase from the American Society for Quality Control, 1-800-248-1946, item T55. Only in exceptional circumstances should it be necessary to consult this document. There are EPA requirements (R series) and guidance (G-series) documents available for potential applicants which address in detail how to comply with ANSI/ASQC E4. These may be found on the Internet at www.epa.gov/ncer/qa/qa_docs.html. R-5, "EPA Requirements for Quality Assurance Project Plans," and G-4, "Guidance for the Data Quality Objectives Process," are particularly pertinent to this RFA's QA requirements."]

    L. Postcard: The application must include a blank, self-addressed, stamped post card. This will be returned to the applicant to acknowledge that the application has been received.

5.2 HOW TO APPLY

The original and fifteen (15) copies of the fully developed application and five (5) additional copies of the abstract (20 in all), must be received by NCER no later than 4:00 P.M. EST on the closing date, April 8, 1999.

The application and abstract must be prepared in accordance with these instructions. Informal, incomplete, or unsigned applications will not be considered. The application should not be bound or stapled in any way, but secured with paper or binder clips. Completed applications should be sent via regular or express mail to:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Peer Review Division (8703R)
Sorting Code: 99-NCERQA-K1
401 M Street, SW
Washington, DC 20460
For express mail or courier-delivered applications, the following address must be used:
U. S. Environmental Protection Agency
Peer Review Division (8703R)
Sorting Code: 99-NCERQA-K1
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Room B-10105
Washington, DC 20004

The sorting code must be identified in the address (as shown above). Applications sent via express mail should have the following telephone number listed on the express mail label: (202) 564-6939.

5.3 WITHDRAWAL

Applications may be withdrawn by the applicant at any time. Applicants are requested to notify EPA if the project is funded by another organization or circumstances change which dictate termination of evaluation.

6.0 REVIEW AND SELECTION

6.1 REVIEW PROCEDURES

All grant applications may be initially screened by EPA to determine legal and administrative acceptability. Acceptable applications are then reviewed by an appropriate peer review group. This review is designed to evaluate each application based on the criteria and considerations outlined in Section 6.2. Each review group will be composed primarily of a multi-disciplinary team from universities, industry, non-government organizations (NGOs), and government (non-EPA) who are experts in their respective disciplines. The criteria described in Section 6.2 will be given equal consideration in the review process. Although multiple applications may be submitted from different local government
organizations from within a single metropolitan area, only one of the successful applications from a single metropolitan area will be selected for an award. The Agency's final decision will be based on the recommendations of the peer review and a consensus process through the EMPACT Steering Committee relating the recommended applications to the overall goals and objectives of the EMPACT
Program.

6.2 CRITERIA AND CONSIDERATIONS

A. Responsiveness to the RFA
(Refer to Sections 2.3 Project Components and 2.4 Additional Considerations)

In addressing the environmental parameter(s) that are the subject of this proposal, the overall project design collectively and adequately incorporates the following required project components:

  • Time-Relevant Monitoring/Measurement
  • Time-Relevant Information Management, Processing, and Delivery;
  • Time-Relevant Communication

B. Technical and Scientific Approach

The project approach demonstrates a technical and scientific
soundness to the three required project components (i.e., time-relevant monitoring and measurement; information management,
processing, and delivery; and communication of environmental
information to the public). Also, the Quality Assurance Narrative
Statement is adequate and appropriate.

C. Team Approach through a Consortium and Memoranda of
Understanding
(Refer to Section 2.4.2 Partnerships and Consortium
Building)

The consortium includes a variety of expertise (e.g.,monitoring, data management, and communication), representing varied interests in the community. The consortium has a signed Memorandum of Understanding (or other appropriate documentation) that details the roles and responsibilities of the various entities and includes a plan for cooperation and coordination between them.

D. Leveraging Additional Resources (Refer to Section 2.4.2
Partnerships and Consortium Building)

The additional resources provided through in-kind contributions, matching funds, or other additional resources (e.g., equipment)from partners demonstrate commitment to the project.

E. Adequacy of Project Management Plan (Refer to Section 2.4.4
Project Management Plan)

The Project Management Plan is adequate, appropriate, and clearly demonstrates the project team's or consortium's ability to manage this project.

F. Adequacy of Information Management Plan (Refer to Section
2.4.5 Information Management Plan)

The Information Management Plan adequately documents the project team's or consortium's plans for data collection, storage, retrieval, and delivery, as well as procedures for data quality control and security.

G. Feasibility of Project

It is feasible to conduct the project within the selected EMPACT metropolitan area and with the proposed resources, including the following.

1. Knowledge, experience, and expertise of the project team and other key personnel

The consortium/project team members and other key personnel
demonstrate a balance of technical knowledge, management expertise and experience that would ensure success of the proposed project, with expertise in the areas of environmental monitoring, data management, communication of environmental information, and other relevant areas.

2.    Adequacy of Facilities and Equipment

The facilities and equipment proposed for the project are available,adequate,and appropriate.

3. Adequacy of Budget

Although budget information is not used by the reviewers as the basis for evaluating the scientific/technical merit of the project, the reviewers are asked to provide their input on the appropriateness and/or adequacy of the proposed budget. Input will also be sought on the time commitment of all key personnel, and its implications on the potential success of the proposed project.

6.3 TIME LINE FOR APPLICATION PROCESS


April 8, 1999 Applications must be received by 4:00 p.m. EST

September 1999 Expected notification of awards

6.4 PROPRIETARY INFORMATION

By submitting an application in response to this solicitation, the applicant grants EPA permission to share the application with technical reviewers both within and outside the Agency. Applications containing proprietary or other types of confidential information will not be reviewed.

6.5 GRANT ADMINISTRATION

The funding mechanism for all awards issued under this solicitation will consist of an assistance agreement between EPA and the recipient. In accordance with Public Law 95-224, assistance agreements are used to accomplish a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by Federal statute rather than acquisition for the direct benefit of the Agency. In using a grant agreement, EPA anticipates that there will be no substantial involvement during the course of the grant between the recipient and the Agency. EPA grants awarded as a result of this announcement will be administered in accordance with 40 CFR Part 31 and 40. EPA provides awards for research in the sciences and engineering related to environmental protection. The awardee is solely responsible for the conduct of such activities and preparation of results for publication. EPA, therefore, does not assume responsibility for such findings or their interpretation.

7.0 Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is there a hotline for EMPACT information?

    There is not a hotline, but you may leave a request in a voice mailbox (1-800-490-9194), and your call will be returned within 24 hours.

2. I need a copy of the full announcement and forms. How do I get one?

    Go to http://www.epa.gov/empact. If you do not have the necessary computer access, you may request a faxed copy through 1-800-490-9194 (press 4 for the EMPACT RFA and leave your fax number). If you don't have a fax, request a hard copy to be mailed by calling the same number and leaving a voice mail message.

3. How can I find out if I am eligible to apply?

    Only local governments (including the District of Columbia) within the listed areas (appendix A) are eligible.

4. How were these local governments chosen?

    The 75 largest standard metropolitan statistical areas in the United States comprised the original list. The largest cities in the 10 states which were not represented in this first list were added. Inclusion of Puerto Rico then brought the list to a total of 86 metropolitan areas. Note: Metro areas with 1998 EMPACT grants (indicated by ** in the Attachment to this announcement) are ineligible to apply for this solicitation.

5. I heard that there are local governments in my area that have received EMPACT grants. If so, how does this effect my chances of receiving an award this year?

    The eight local governments which received EMPACT metro pilot grants for 1998 are NOT eligible to apply again. However, in some EPA Regions, grants were given to local governments as part of other EMPACT activities led by EPA Regional Offices. These grants do not affect this year's competition.

6. In last year's announcement, letters of intent were requested. Do I need to send one in this year?

    No, last year's letters of intent were used by EPA for planning purposes only, since EMPACT was a new program.

7. We want to see if it's worthwhile to form a partnership with other local governments in our area. Can we get a list of organizations which applied last year?

    Applicants are kept confidential for each RFA.

8. I am a consultant who can offer help to local governments. Can we get a list of last year's applicants?

    See #7 above.

9. We are in the process of writing our proposal. Can we call you to discuss our ideas?

    Because this is an open competition, we cannot discuss individual proposals with their preparers. The announcement clearly lays out the types of proposals we are interested in. The announcement also gives the criteria upon which these will be judged. We recommend that you use the announcement as the basis for your proposal.

10. When will we learn if we have been awarded a grant?

    Decisions will be announced at the time the grants for the successful proposals are awarded. We expect the announcements to occur in September, 1999.

11. I am in a large metropolitan area that has several government units that may want to apply for EMPACT. Would our proposal be stronger if there were several government entities in the application? Would we have a better chance if there were only one proposal from our region?

    The proposals will be reviewed according to the criteria listed in the announcement. We're looking for the highest quality proposals, whether they come from large regional groups or from smaller metropolitan entities. If you feel that pairing with other organizations in your area will strengthen the proposal with respect to its quality, then please do so. However, large does not necessarily mean high-quality or manageability.

12. I don't think I can finish my proposal by April 8th. Can I get an extension on the deadline?

    April 8th is a firm deadline. We will not accept proposals after that date. We suggest that you aim for a deadline a couple days ahead of time in order to be sure that your proposal is received on time. Refer to the announcement, Section 5.2 "How To Apply," for details on submitting.

13. I am puzzled about the quality assurance narrative statement. Where can I get help on this?

    More details on the quality assurance narrative statement may be found at http://www.epa.gov/ncer/qanar.html.

14. Some of the application forms say "STAR" program. Is this correct?

    Although EMPACT is not one of the STAR programs, the STAR forms are used for all of NCER's grants. STAR stands for "Science to Achieve Results" and is the blanket program for external research grants.

15. How much detail is required in the MOUs?

    MOUs need not be as detailed as the proposal itself, but they need to clearly state who does which tasks in which timeframe under the management plan. Only what is written in your application will be judged against the review criteria. Peer reviewers will not make assumptions about what is not clearly stated.

16. It states in the Announcement that MOUs are limited to 2 pages. Does this mean total pages for all MOUs or 2 pages for each MOU?

    You can use 2 pages for each MOU you negotiate for your proposal.

17. We have many partners for our EMPACT proposal. Will it strengthen the proposal if we include letters of support from these partners?

    No. In fact, the excess verbiage created by such letters may weaken the proposal, because letters of support will be covered by the page limitation. If the partners are part of the proposal, their part in the project and their support will be documented in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). If the partners have merely been part of the planning process but have no active role in the project itself, they could be named in the proposal introduction or background.

18. We are budgeting for equipment purchases in our proposed EMPACT project. If we were awarded the grant, do we have ownership of the equipment after the grant period ends?

    In the case of grants, the equipment (>$5000) usually remains the property of the grantee. Because the first EMPACT grants are for local pilot projects, it is expected that equipment will continue to be used for continuing the project after the EMPACT grant is finished. However, if there is no plan or resource for continuation, and the equipment would be useable in another pilot project, EPA retains the right to back the equipment. Guidance on this matter may be found in 40CFR31.32

19. Can we form a partnership now with a private firm, or do we have to go out for bids after the grant is received?

    Procurements by local governments funded by EMPACT may follow local rules set up by the eligible local government. General guidance is provided by 40CFR31.36 under procurements.

20. On the "Application for Federal Assistance" (Standard Form 424), question 16 asks, "Is application subject to review by State Executive Order 12372 Process?" How do we find out if we are subject to this process?

    Click here for a list of states that require the process. If your state participates in the process, you should contact them immediately, since not following this process where required can delay funding if your application is chosen for an award.

    Also, some states have a similar review process under the Model Cities Act where the planning boards review grant proposals. You should check with your local planning board.

    ATTACHMENTS
    
    
    
    A. EMPACT Metropolitan Areas
    
    Metropolitan Area: A metropolitan area includes at least one city
    
    with 50,000 or more inhabitants, or a Census Bureau-defined
    
    urbanized area (of at least 50,000 inhabitants) and a total
    
    metropolitan population of at least 100,000 (75,000 in New
    
    England).  Under this standard, the county (or counties) that
    
    contains the largest city becomes the "central county" (counties),
    
    along with any adjacent counties that have at least 50 percent of
    
    their population in the urbanized area surrounding the largest
    
    city.  Additional "outlying counties" are included in the
    
    metropolitan area if they meet specified requirements of commuting
    
    to the central counties and other selected requirements of
    
    metropolitan character (such as population density and percent
    
    urban).  In New England, the metropolitan areas are defined in
    
    terms of cities and towns rather than counties.
    
    
    
    The following is a list of the EMPACT Metropolitan Areas:
    Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY
    
    Albuquerque, NM
    
    Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA
    
    Anchorage, AK
    
    Atlanta, GA
    
    Austin-San Marcos, TX
    
    Bakersfield, CA
    
    Billings, MT
    
    Birmingham, AL
    
    Boise, ID
    
    **Boston, MA-NH
    
    Bridgeport, CT
    
    Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY
    
    **Burlington, VT
    
    Charleston, WV
    
    Charleston-North Charleston, SC
    
    Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, NC-SC
    
    Cheyenne, WY
    
    Chicago-Gary-Kenosha, IL-IN-WI
    
    Cincinnati-Hamilton, OH-KY-IN
    
    Cleveland-Akron, OH
    
    Columbus, OH
    
    **Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
    
    **Dayton-Springfield, OH
    
    **Denver-Boulder-Greeley, CO
    
    Detroit-Ann Arbor-Flint, MI
    
    El Paso, TX
    
    Fargo-Moorhead, ND-MN
    
    Fresno, CA
    
    Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland, MI
    
    Greensboro-Winston Salem-High Point, NC
    
    Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson, SC
    
    Harrisburg-Lebanon-Carlisle, PA
    
    Hartford, CT
    
    Honolulu, HI
    
    Houston-Galveston-Brazoria, TX
    
    Indianapolis, IN
    
    Jackson, MS
    
    Jacksonville, FL
    
    Kansas City, MO-KS
    
    Knoxville, TN
    
    Las Vegas,  NV-AZ
    
    Little Rock-North Little Rock, AR
    
    Los Angeles-Riverside-Orange County, CA
    
    Louisville, KY-IN
    
    Memphis, TN-AR-MS
    
    Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL
    
    **Milwaukee-Racine, WI
    
    **Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
    
    Nashville, TN
    
    New Orleans, LA
    
    New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-CT-PA
    
    Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News, VA-NC
    
    Oklahoma City, OK
    
    Omaha, NE-IA
    
    Orlando, FL
    
    Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City, PA-NJ-DE-MD
    
    Phoenix-Mesa, AZ
    
    Pittsburgh, PA
    
    Portland, ME
    
    Portland-Salem, OR-WA
    
    Providence-Fall River-Warwick, RI-MA
    
    Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC
    
    Richmond-Petersburg, VA
    
    Rochester, NY
    
    Sacramento-Yolo, CA
    
    Salt Lake City-Ogden, UT
    
    San Diego, CA
    
    San Antonio, TX
    
    San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA
    
    San Juan, PR
    
    Scranton-Wilkes-Barre-Hazleton, PA
    
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton, WA
    
    Sioux Falls, SD
    
    Springfield, MA
    
    St. Louis-E. St. Louis, MO-IL
    
    Stockton-Lodi, CA
    
    Syracuse, NY
    
    Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL
    
    Toledo, OH
    
    **Tucson, AZ
    
    Tulsa, OK
    
    Washington-Baltimore, DC-MD-VA-WV
    
    West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, FL
    
    Wichita, KS
    
    Youngstown-Warren, OH
    
    
    
    **   Metropolitan areas with 1998 EMPACT grants, not eligible
    
    for grants under this solicitation.



End of file

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