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BoRit Questions & Answers - Technical Assistance for Communities

BoRit Questions & Answers Main Page

  1. What is the business relationship between the EPA and Ecology and Economics, Inc (E²)? (8-13-2009)

  2. Is Ecology and Economics, Inc (E²) a non-profit 501C company? (8-13-2009)

  3. Did Ecology and Economics, Inc (E²) participate in a bid for a contract with the EPA for the BoRit Site? (8-13-2009)

  4. Did Ecology and Economics, Inc (E²) apply for a Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) of $50,000 for the BoRit Site? If so, what is the actual amount of the contract? If not, what is the nature and scope of the contract and the amount? (8-13-2009)

  5. Did Ecology and Economics, Inc (E²) apply for a Technical Assistance Services for Communities (TASC) grant? If so, what is the actual amount of the contract for the site? (8-13-2009)

  6. What benefits would a Historically Underutilized Business Zone firm (HUBZone) certified woman owned small business (WOSB) receive when bidding for EPA contracts? (8-13-2009)

  7. What rights does Ecology and Economics, Inc (E²) have regarding the approval and selection process for specialists? (8-13-2009)

  8. Can Ecology and Economics, Inc (E²) deny a request from the Community Advisory Group (CAG)? (8-13-2009)

  9. How is Ecology and Economics, Inc (E²)  helping the BoRit Community Advisory Group (CAG) develop a website and what have been some of the impediments? (8-13-2009)

  10. Does a designated representative of the EPA have to approve each entry onto the website? Will they delegate that responsibility to Ecology and Economics, Inc (E²) or can the Community Advisory Group (CAG) assume responsibility? (8-13-2009)

  11. Why does Ecology and Economics, Inc (E²) get to choose the designer and the type of website? (8-13-2009)

  12. What is the amount of allowable expenses for the BoRit Community Advisory Group (CAG)? (8-13-2009)

  13. Does this amount renew yearly? (8-13-2009)

  14. How much money has the BoRit Community Advisory Group (CAG) spent to date? (8-13-2009)

  15. Can the Community Advisory Group (CAG) get a technical assistance grant (TAG)? (1-2008)

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  1. What is the business relationship between the EPA and Ecology and Economics, Inc (E²)? (8-13-2009)

    E² is an Environmental Consulting firm that conducts business primarily under contracts with the federal government. In accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulations, EPA's Office of Acquisition Management, Headquarters Contract Service Center, conducted a competitive procurement resulting in an award of a contract for Technical Assistance Services for Communities to E² of Charlottesville, VA, in July 2007.

    Under the terms of the contract, E² provides independent technical services primarily to communities that are affected by hazardous waste sites regulated under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). Under the contract, technical assistance may also be provided to communities throughout the United States and its territories impacted by Resource Conservation and Recovery Act or Federal facilities or dealing with air or water problems.

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  2. Is Ecology and Economics, Inc (E²) a non-profit 501C company? (8-13-2009)

    E², an environmental consulting firm based in Charlottesville, VA, is not a non-profit. According to the Small Business Administration, E² is considered a Woman-Owned Small Business and an Historically Underutilized Business Zone firm.

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  3. Did Ecology and Economics, Inc (E²) participate in a bid for a contract with the EPA for the BoRit Site? (8-13-2009)

    No. EPA does not have a contract specifically for support at the BoRit Site. The Technical Assistance Services for Communities (TASC) contract covers multiple TASC activities at numerous sites across the country.

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  4. Did Ecology and Economics, Inc (E²) apply for a Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) of $50,000 for the BoRit Site? If so, what is the actual amount of the contract? If not, what is the nature and scope of the contract and the amount? (8-13-2009)

    No. E² is ineligible to apply for a TAG for the BoRit Site, because E² is not considered a community group affected by a Superfund site. E² is an Environmental Consulting firm that conducts business primarily under contracts with the federal government.

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  5. Did Ecology and Economics, Inc (E²) apply for a Technical Assistance Services for Communities (TASC) grant? If so, what is the actual amount of the contract for the site? (8-13-2009)

    No. The TASC program is not a grant program. The TASC program is administered through a contract. E² successfully competed for the TASC contract.

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  6. What benefits would a Historically Underutilized Business Zone firm (HUBZone) certified woman owned small business (WOSB) receive when bidding for EPA contracts? (8-13-2009)

    Per the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) Part 19 (see 19.1305 & 19.1306, at www.acquisition.gov/far/), the Government may conduct a HUBZone set-aside competition, restricting the competition to HUBZone firms. The Government may also award a sole source contract to a HUBZone firm, provided that only one HUBZone firm can satisfy the requirement, with several other criteria met, including dollar thresholds. See FAR 19.1305 and FAR 19.1306 for the set-aside and sole source requirements.

    The Technical Assistance Services for Communities contract was procured through a competitive HUBZone set-aside process, meaning that only HUB Zone firms were eligible to compete for the award. It was not a sole source procurement, and as a result of the competition, EPA awarded a contract to Ecology and Economics, Inc (E²).

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  7. What rights does Ecology and Economics, Inc (E²) have regarding the approval and selection process for specialists? (8-13-2009)

    In choosing subcontractors, E² may select qualified subcontractors according to the terms and conditions of its contract with EPA and its own corporate policies.  EPA has privity of contract with E², not any subcontractors or consultants hired by E². Thus, E² is responsible for all the work products of its subcontractors or consultants.

    E²’s website provides information to contractors interested in applying for consideration as subcontractors on any of E²’s projects (not limited to Technical Assistance Services for Communities). When EPA issues a new technical directive to E², the company looks, first, to its own employees for the needed expertise. If the expertise is not available in-house, E² turns to its subcontractors.

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  8. Can Ecology and Economics, Inc (E²) deny a request from the Community Advisory Group (CAG)? (8-13-2009)

    If this question means to ask if E² can refuse to use a specialist that the CAG asks them to use, the answer is "Yes." E² has an extensive staff and established relationships with qualified subcontractors. They are under no obligation to incur the additional expenses that would be required to confirm the qualifications of persons referred to them by CAGs or others.

    Technical Assistance Services for Communities (TASC) is a contract between EPA and E². EPA receives requests from communities for technical assistance support, and in turn, EPA tasks E² with providing support. EPA seeks to satisfy all valid community requests, but at times, may not be able to meet requests if they fall outside the scope of work for the contract or if it will require greater resources than EPA has budgeted. EPA evaluates the communities' requests for assistance, and if they fall within the TASC contract scope of work, EPA can task E² to provide the assistance. Some examples of technical assistance provided under TASC include:

    Providing a basic education on the scientific, engineering or economic concepts underlying an environmental problem and its solution.

    Reviewing and explaining reports and data sets generated as part of an environmental investigation.        

    Explaining and understanding the health risk, economic, and environmental components of hazardous contamination; and

    Outlining the different reuse/redevelopment options for contaminated land.

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  9. How is Ecology and Economics, Inc (E²)  helping the BoRit Community Advisory Group (CAG) develop a website and what have been some of the impediments? (8-13-2009)

    EPA is providing Technical Assistance Services for Communities (TASC) services so that E² can assist the CAG to develop a website. E² has been working with the BoRit CAG's Communications Work Group to create a website for the CAG.
    E² is waiting for EPA to determine what additional TASC services can be provided to the BoRit CAG regarding its website. E², under contract with EPA, must comply with EPA policies for web site production and also must ensure that the BoRit CAG's website complies with relevant EPA policies regarding information technology, information management, and content.

    EPA HQ has established requirements for EPA websites and for EPA-funded websites. The requirements vary according to the funding mechanisms involved. The EPA Region 3 TASC Work Assignment Manager (WAM) and Coordinator researched the existing requirements because the BoRit CAG's website is the first website developed under the national TASC contract and the first website on which the Region 3 TASC staff worked.

    EPA Region 3 must ensure it is not overlooking any established requirements or setting national precedent without careful consideration. It is also important that EPA HQ personnel who monitor website compliance understand the nature of the BoRit CAG's website so that the website is not subjected to inappropriate requirements. For example, HQ has to determine whether or not the website can be considered "EPA ­funded," if the website is turned over to the CAG to operate and maintain without EPA or E² assistance when the design is completed and the website is made available to the public.

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  10. Does a designated representative of the EPA have to approve each entry onto the website? Will they delegate that responsibility to Ecology and Economics, Inc (E²) or can the Community Advisory Group (CAG) assume responsibility? (8-13-2009)

    If a CAG purchases its own URL, neither EPA nor E² will be involved in reviewing or approving the website content. The CAG will assume the responsibility of establishing procedures to ensure that its website reflects the opinions of the entire CAG and not the opinions of a single work group or an individual member. If a CAG does not want to purchase its own URL and asks EPA to host a CAG website, EPA will control the website content, which would be limited in scope to such materials as meeting notes and events calendars.

    EPA believes that most CAGs would prefer to control their own websites. To that end, EPA will provide Technical Assistance Services for Communities services to help CAGs develop and test their websites and will train CAG members to operate and maintain them when they "go live." However, to control their websites, CAGs must own their URL addresses. URL addresses may be purchased from commercially available hosts. URL fees are estimated to cost approximately $140, or less, annually. Thus a member of a 25-member CAG would incur costs of less than $6 per year, if the members paid for a URL from their own pockets.
     
    In addition to requiring CAGs to purchase their URLs, EPA also requires that CAG­ controlled websites carry prominently displayed disclaimers on every page to ensure that website visitors do not misunderstand whose information and opinions they have accessed. The disclaimers must also carry links to EPA's own official site-related websites.

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  11. Why does Ecology and Economics, Inc (E²) get to choose the designer and the type of website? (8-13-2009)

    E² has a contract with EPA to provide technical assistance services. It also possesses a qualified staff of technical experts. One criterion for awarding the Technical Assistance Services for Communities contract to E² was its technical expertise, and it is E²’s responsibility to determine which of its staff or subcontractor personnel can best render the required services. The initial content and design of websites is developed collaboratively between E² and the Community Advisory Groups.

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  12. What is the amount of allowable expenses for the BoRit Community Advisory Group (CAG)? (8-13-2009)

    It is important to keep in mind that Technical Assistance Services for Communities (TASC) resources are shared by all eligible organizations that request TASC support. TASC does not "earmark" funds for specific sites. Therefore, no "allowable" expense has been established for the BoRit CAG. The amount of funds provided for a specific community group depend on the level of technical assistance requested or needed by a group and the availability of resources at the time requests are received. EPA does its best to fill requests, as long as they are appropriate and funds are available.

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  13. Does this amount renew yearly? (8-13-2009)

    New funds are authorized for Technical Assistance Services for Communities annually. Because funding is not allocated to specific sites, new funds are not set aside for the BoRit Community Advisory Group (CAG) - or any CAG - ­annually.

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  14. How much money has the BoRit Community Advisory Group (CAG) spent to date? (8-13-2009)

    As of March 31, 2009, approximately $69,000 had been spent to support the BoRit Technical Assistance Services for Communities (TASC) project.

    The TASC program receives funding from the Superfund budget each year. To date, the dollar amount has varied each year, based on changes to the Agency's overall budget. TASC money is allocated roughly equally among the 10 EPA regions. There is flexibility to shift funds among the regions, as needed so that funds not being used in one region may be used by another region that is experiencing a greater demand for TASC services. Each region has discretion regarding how TASC money is spent within the region.

    The BoRit CAG has requested specific services through TASC based on their needs. The CAG decides and agrees collectively as to which services would most benefit them as a group. Since the BoRit CAG was formed in 2007, they have requested the following TASC support:

    Assistance to conduct a needs assessment.
    Independent expertise in stream bank and asbestos remediation.
    Expertise in land reuse and revitalization.
    Assistance to develop a website.
    Independent research into asbestos remediation technologies.

    EPA did decline to provide TASC support to conduct independent research into asbestos remediation technologies (#5) for the following reason:

    TASC resources are not designed to duplicate EPA's investigative work but to help communities understand our work so that they are able to ask informed questions and provide input into our decision-making process. EPA has communicated this reasoning to the CAG.

    As part of our Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS), EPA will be researching asbestos remediation technologies and we will share that information with the CAG. At that time, the CAG will have the benefit of the full range of remediation technologies to evaluate, including any new technologies that may emerge between now and when our investigation is completed several years from now. Additionally, in order to perform a meaningful search of technologies that might be applicable to the BoRit Site, site-specific data will need to be collected. Such data will not be available until EPA's investigation is completed. TASC support will be available to assist the CAG to evaluate EPA's efforts, findings, and recommendations throughout the RI/FS, if they choose to use the TASC resource.

    In response to Ms. McCormick's concern that TASC has only provided "communication people" and not technical experts, we have provided you with a factual summary of each TASC technical expert that the BoRit CAG has accessed through Ecology and Economics, Inc (E²), their qualifications, and the services they have provided to the CAG to date.

    Summary of TASC Expertise and Activities Provided to the BoRit CAG to Date:

    All of the technical expertise provided to the CAG is coordinated through Mr. Michael
    J. Lythcott, E² Senior Associate and Work Assignment Manager for the TASC contract. He worked with the CAG to develop the requested Technical Assistance Needs Assessment which was delivered to the CAG and EPA on May 28, 2008. Mr. Lythcott holds a B.A. in Politics and International Affairs and is the former Vice-Chair of the Waste and Facility Siting Subcommittee of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) and Chairman of the Brownfields/Superfund/Black Land Loss Committee of the National Black Environmental Justice Network (NBEJN). Mr. Lythcott has provided numerous training, facilitation, policy and curriculum development, and relocation consulting services to industry, academia, government entities, labor unions and grass roots organizations, domestically and abroad.

    Ms. Melinda Holland,
    who facilitated the formation of the BoRit CAG as an independent consultant and subcontractor to SRI, is now an employee of E². She is currently working with the BoRit CAG to assess the dynamics of the CAG and determine what will be required to help the CAG develop more productive patterns of interaction.  Based on her findings, Ms. Holland is authorized to offer CAG members collaboration skills training and offer the CAG co-chairs and work group chairs training to strengthen their meeting facilitation abilities. Ms. Holland holds a B.S. in Microbiology from the University of South Florida and a J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law. She has 20 years of experience managing and facilitating environmental consensus-building processes involving multiple stake holders. She has 13 years experience as a scientist and an attorney working for state and local environmental agencies in hazardous waste, water, wetlands, waste-water, and other environmental programs. Ms. Holland has been a member of the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution's "National Roster of Environmental Conflict Resolution and Consensus-Building Professionals" since its inception.

    Mr. Douglas Streaker, PE (Professional Engineer), is a Water Resources Engineer, e
    mployed by Biohabitats, Inc, a subcontractor to E². He is the independent adviser to the CAG who is providing oversight on the current stream bank restoration project. Among other experience, he has performed geomorphic assessments of numerous degraded streams, has designed and prepared construction documents and specifications, and coordinated permitting for many stream restoration projects. On September 2, 2008, Mr. Streaker presented his "Summary of Stream Bank Stabilization" to EPA and the CAG. He attended numerous EPA and CAG meetings before and after completing the summary, and he was provided a site tour of EPA's stream bank remediation project on January 12, 2009. He subsequently, submitted a memo report of his observations and recommendations to EPA and the CAG.

    Ms. Michele P. Benchouk is an environmental consultant employed by Booz, Allen, Hamilton and is a subcontractor to E². She is providing independent remediation expertise to the BoRit CAG. Ms Benchouk holds a B.S. in Environmental Engineering Technology and is currently pursuing an M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from Johns Hopkins University. She has over 18 years of environmental consulting experience and her areas of expertise include hazardous and solid waste management under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liabilities Act (CERCLA aka Superfund), and other regulatory programs. While Ms. Benchouk is not specifically an asbestos remediation expert, she has some experience in asbestos remediation and this information was discussed openly with the CAG before Ms. Benchouk was assigned to the project.

    Ms. Miranda Maupin is the manager of E²’s Community Planning and Design Team. Ms Maupin worked with the BoRit CAG’s Future Uses Work Group to assess current land use and infrastructure needs and develop viable reuse scenarios for the BoRit Site. Ms. Maupin presented her findings and report to the CAG and EPA in May 2009. She holds an MLA (Masters in Landscape Architecture) from the University of Washington and is the recipient of the "Excellence in Government" Award from Harvard Business School. Ms Maupin has 11 years of public-sector planning, policy development, urban redevelopment, and stakeholder involvement experience in land use and planning for Superfund and Brownfields-impacted communities. Prior to joining E², Ms Maupin was Senior Strategic Advisor for the City of Seattle, Washington. She's lead several multidisciplinary teams to initiate sustainable redevelopment projects. One of these projects was featured in a PBS series, "Eden Lost and Found", as a national example of sustainability.

    Alisa Hefner assisted Ms. Maupin to develop the reuse scenarios report for the BoRit CAG. Ms. Hefner is an Associate Designer on E²’s Community Planning and Design Team. Her experience is in community-based projects such as "rails to trails" initiatives and photo-realistic simulations of alternative development scenarios demonstrating watershed protection. Prior to joining E², Ms. Hefner worked in historic preservation. Her work focused on cultural landscape assessment and treatment recommendations to protect historic resources. Ms. Hefner has a Masters in Landscape Architecture with a minor in ecological restoration from North Carolina State University.
     
    Ms. Krissy Russel-Hedstrom holds a Ph.D. and an M.S. in Environmental Sciences from the University of Virginia and a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Delaware. She assisted the CAG in designing their website. She is an environmental scientist and educator and has taught chemistry and environmental science at the Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale, Colorado, where she chaired the science department. Her graduate research on wet and dry nitrogen deposition to sensitive water bodies on the mid-Atlantic coast has been published in several research journals.

    Ms. Johnny Zimmerman-Ward is a Mission Support Associate with E². Her projects include web site management, conference support, and brochure development. Ms Zimmerman-Ward holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Virginia.

    Ms Allison Frost has a BA in Social Justice from the University of Washington. She joined E² in March 2009. The majority of her work, to date, involves web site design and management and graphic design.

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  15. Can the Community Advisory Group (CAG) get a technical assistance grant (TAG)? (1-2008)

    No. TAG's are specifically limited to Remedial sites by law. However, the new Technical Assistance Services for Communities program is being offered to the CAG as an educational and assistance tool.

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