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Questions and Answers on State Innovation Grants Solicitation

Q?- Can the font size in footnotes used in the Narrative be less than 11-point (for instance, 10-point), or do the footnotes also have to be the 11-point font size used in the general text?

A! - If the footnotes are not extensive (e.g., page numbers, or a reference citation) you may use 10 point font. If they are extensive text (e.g., a full sentence or more) , they should be kept in 11 point font.

Q? - Has NCEI participated in any meetings with States during the competition period regarding ERP projects?

A! - Yes, on December 8 and 9, 2003, EPA participated in an Environmental Results Program (ERP) workshop hosted by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Other State participants included Wisconsin, Ohio, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Florida. The Agenda prepared by Michigan DEQ appears as attachment 1 to this answer. The purpose of this workshop was to promote a state-to-state information exchange on ERPs in the autobody sector .

At that meeting, Dr. Greg Ondich, from NCEI made an introductory presentation on EPA’s behalf that provided an overview of ERP concepts and identified a number of existing EPA-State ERP collaborations. Dr. Ondich’s presentation slides appear as attachment 2 to this answer.

Some of the points that came up in the group discussion included the following:

Q? - If universities and colleges within a State wanted to develop Environmental Management Systems (EMS), could they collectively write a proposal for a State Innovation Grant?

A? - Only the principal environmental regulatory agency in each State is eligible to submit a pre-proposal under this solicitation. However, if the State environmental regulatory agency wanted to partner with colleges and universities within the State to develop a sector-based EMS program, then the State Regulatory Agency could work with the colleges and universities and submit a pre-proposal on behalf of that team. It is also worth noting that because that type of a relationship is a collaboration with other State Agencies (in the case of State-run Universities and Colleges), it would allow the State to submit a second, non-partnering pre-proposal, as well, under the rules for this competition.

Q? - We noticed that on the "www.Fedgrants.gov" website, the eligible applicants list is very broad, but in the body of the solicitation it says that only State environmental regulatory Agencies can apply! Which is correct?

A! - Only the principal environmental regulatory agency from each State, the District of Columbia, and the four Territories may apply for this competition. Because of the nature of this current solicitation ("innovation in environmental permitting") we have restricted the eligibility list to the State Agency from each State that runs these permitting programs. We apologize for the confusion in the "FedGrants.gov" announcement.

Q? - How much funding was provided for each of the projects funded in the 2002 Competition?

A! - We selected seven projects from that competition last fall even though we only had enough FY 02 money to award the first 3. Because of delays in the approval of EPA's FY03 budget we announced the last 4 awards at the end of October, 2003 - to be funded with carry-over FY03 money. The final awards on these 4 are still pending because those 4 states are preparing their final proposals and application packages. Those awards will be made when the satisfactory final applications are received - hopefully within a month. The individual awards are as follows:

Massachusetts - $100K
Delaware - $116.5K
Arizona - $ 79K
Illinois - $97K (award pending)
Texas - $75K (award pending)
Colorado - $150K (award pending)
Oregon - $120K (award pending)

When all of the awards are completed that will be $737,500 for 7
projects (approximate average award = $105,400) funded with FY02 and
FY03 funds. Awards ranged from $75K to $150K.

Q? - Will proposals that address EMS and permitting, or ERP, which are described in the solicitation be scored higher in evaluation than a proposal that addresses other elements of the national Innovation Strategy?

A! - In general, yes. For proposals of equal quality, a proposal for an EMS or ERP-based project would receive a higher evaluation score under the evaluation criteria described in Section 5.2.1 of the solicitation. It would still be possible for a non-EMS or non-ERP-based project to score better than an EMS or ERP proposal based upon how well the other evaluation criteria are addressed in each proposal.

Q? - I understand that there is approximately $1 million to fund approximately 20 awards. Have any of these estimations changed?

A! - In the solicitation we say that there may be "in excess of $1,000,000
available" and that we may make "up to 20" awards. It is largely contingent upon the funding we receive in the FY 04 budget that has not yet been passed. The President's FY 04 budget submittal asked for this level of funding and we know that some additional funds are available to us in FY 03 carry-over funding both from our own resources and from the Office of Solid Waste. The final level of funding is contingent upon what Congress approves in the budget. "Up to 20" projects is an optimistic upper limit, assuming full funding, and the level of
funding requested in any combination of awards.

Q? - Also, I understand that there are no match funds required, however
it is strongly encouraged to provide one. Does your agency prefer cash
or in-kind contributions?

A! - No match is required. States may provide "leverage" support in cash or
in-kind (e.g., personnel time). States that provide leverage resources of either type will be evaluated higher under the evaluation criteria identified in the solicitation.

Q! - Has this program been solicited before and if so, what was the total
funding amount and the number of grants awarded?

A! - The State Innovation Grant program was piloted with a solicitation in 2002 that resulted in 7 awards, identified on the website http://www.epa.gov/innovation/stategrants/sig2002.htm). The final four
of those awards were announced in September 2003. Those last four awards were
delayed because we were waiting for FY 03 budget resolution. Once the final four agreements are signed (hopefully some time in December) the final funding total for the 2002 solicitation will be $750,000 -averaging a little more than $100,000 per award.

Q! - How was this solicitation announced?

A! - We announced the release of the solicitation through several different mechanisms:

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