USTfields Qs & As: Other Questions
Q1: The state has not factored into its budget LUST staff time for reviewing USTfields Pilot proposals. The USTfields Pilot proposal guidelines state that administrative costs are an ineligible cost for the applicant. How is the state going to account for the LUST state staff time in reviewing these proposals?
A: If there is an existing cooperative agreement with the state, the costs could be charged to that agreement as an indirect cost, as stated in Q4 under Contents of USTfields Pilot Proposals above. A state's proposal preparation costs are allowable under OMB Circular A-87, Attachment B, Item 34, as indirect costs. However, EPA will not approve the charging of proposal preparation costs directly to either current grants or USTfields awards.
Q2: How does the state hire a contractor for the assessment and cleanup work? Can the state use its existing Brownfields contractor? Will the state have to put out a Request for Proposal (RFP), or can the state sign on with the city's contractor?
A: In accordance with 40 CFR 31.36(a), when a state enters into a contract for work supported by an USTFields cooperative agreement, the state follows the same procedures it uses for non- federal funds.
Q3: You are just using LUST Trust funds for this USTfields Pilot program-which is no different than our usual cleanups. So what is "pilot" about the program?
A: The USTfields Pilot program involves a lot more than the assessment and cleanup of a site, although that is what the USTfields LUST Trust Funds will be used for. The USTfields Initiative is a new way of fostering resource coordination and planning for advancing petroleum site cleanups to subsequent reuse. It involves various public and private parties in the cleanup. It calls for longer-term planning and for the states to work with their local areas to accomplish projects that will not only protect human health and the environment but also enhance communities. These are pilots because they will show how a contaminated property can be recycled and reused (not just cleaned up) for the benefit of the local area. Hopefully, we will identify implementation impediments and options for surmounting those impediments and share "lessons learned" from these pilots that will benefit other non-pilot communities who would like to undertake the same type of work. We hope the pilots will also show the creative ways that contaminated LUST sites can be reused.
Q4: The state doesn't need to ask the city for money?
A: EPA is not imposing such a requirement. The state is the applicant. It has the discretion to decide how it selects its proposals and how a pilot will be implemented, provided the pilot is implemented consistently with the scope of work EPA approves and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. States can condition their inclusion of a city in a pilot application on a financial contribution by the city if the state so chooses.
Q5: Who will do the cleanup in the state? Will the state contract this out directly?
A: It is up to the state implementing agency to decide how to manage the cleanup. If the state chooses to contract for the work directly, it must comply with 40 CFR 31.36(a). However, if a state makes a subgrant to a pilot partner, then the regulations applicable to the subgrantee will apply to the subgrantee's contracting. For example, 40 CFR 31.36(b) through (i) is applicable to procurement by local government subgrantees. Contracting by nonprofit subgrantees is subject to 40 CFR 30.40 through 30.48.
Q6: How are you (EPA) getting the word about this competition out to the local areas?
A: On the day of the Federal Register notice (August 23), EPA implemented a notification plan that included e-mail messages with USTfields website information to many local government organizations and newsletters. For instance, an e-mail with the USTfields website was sent to the National Association of Local Government Officials, National Association of Towns and Townships, U.S. Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities, National Association of Black Mayors, International City Management Association, National Association of County Officials, National Association of State Development Officials, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Council of State Community Development Agencies, National Association of Counties, National Association of Development Organizations, National Center for Small Communities, Rural Community Assistance Program-and more. We have also conducted conference calls and information sessions with all EPA Brownfields coordinators. However, EPA encourages state implementing agencies to do all within their power to make sure their local areas are aware of these pilots.
Q7: Has there been certain money set aside for Indian Lands?
A: No specific funds have been set aside. However, as indicated in the proposal guidelines, EPA does have geographic preferences and anticipates an award of at least one USTfields Pilot to a proposal submitted by a tribal or intertribal consortium applicant.
Q8: Once the pilots are selected by EPA, will there be a press release then?
A: That has not been determined yet, but OUST expects that the new pilot awards will be announced just like the first ten pilot awards were, and that announcement included a press release.
More USTfields Questions and Answers
- Eligibility Requirements
- Selection Process
- Contents of USTfields Pilot Proposals
- Evaluation Criteria