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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
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National Center for Environmental Research

CLOSED - FOR REFERENCES PURPOSES ONLY

Environmental Monitoring for Public Access and Community Tracking (EMPACT)

Opening Date: October 30, 2000
Closing Date: February 21, 2001

Introduction
Background
Description
Project Components
Funding
Eligibility
Instructions for Application Submission
How to Apply
Review and Selection
Additional Information
Frequently Asked Questions
EMPACT Metropolitan Areas

Get Required Forms

The purpose of this announcement 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.

INTRODUCTION

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announces its Fiscal Year (FY) 2001 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 in real-time (or timely), 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.  This announcement, and additional information about the EMPACT program and existing EMPACT projects, are available at http://www.epa.gov/empact.

This solicitation will lead to grant awards which establish pilot projects in a limited number of eligible communities.  The pilot projects 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. Data and information derived from EMPACT monitoring activities must 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 proposed EMPACT project.  In addition to developing new approaches, applicants are encouraged to capitalize on existing activities or tools and capabilities that are commercially available or within the public domain.

BACKGROUND

The EMPACT program is an interagency program established in 1997 to improve the measurement, access, understanding and dissemination of key environmental information in communities across the  United States.  The EMPACT program emphasizes (1) applying innovative technologies that support real-time (or timely) 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 real-time (or timely) environmental measurement and monitoring;

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  • Facilitate public access to comprehensive, easily understood environmental information;

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  • Provide effective tools for communication, interpretation, and application of real-time (or timely) environmental data and information;

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  • Establish effective partnerships to ensure that the information is useful and timely for families and communities;

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  • 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.
DESCRIPTION

The EPA is seeking applications for assistance to establish EMPACT projects that develop and demonstrate innovative and effective ways to monitor, deliver, and communicate real-time (or timely) relevant, scientifically sound, environmental information to citizens.  Proposed projects may address one or several 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.  Real-time (or timely) 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.

Provision of real-time (or timely) environmental information must incorporate the following components:

(1) New and innovative technologies for real-time monitoring/measurement of environmental parameters;

(2) Appropriate information management, processing, and delivery; and

(3) Real-time (or timely) communication of information to the public.

The purpose of this solicitation is to encourage accurate data-gathering using innovative monitoring technologies and dissemination of these data in a manner to be useful to the public in making decisions.  Proposals advocating a certain position on environmental questions  or leading the public to take political action are not solicited.

PROJECT COMPONENTS

All EMPACT applications must explain how the project will accomplish each of the project components, as described below.  It is important that applications emphasize innovative technologies and approaches consistent with funding through a research grant, in each element.  Applications that do not include a strong research component will not be competitive.

(1)   Application of new or innovative technology for real-time measurement/monitoring of environmental data involves insuring valid measurements of environmental parameters.

Work on this component includes development or identification of new or innovative technologies to measure and monitor environmental data in real-time.  Monitoring is limited to communities 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.  Proposals must contain a significant measurement and monitoring effort or use data meeting the above criteria from an existing program.  Applicable quality assurance and quality control procedures must be implemented and described to ensure that valid measurements are obtained or that data from an existing program are appropriate for their intended use.  The development, application, and use of innovative technologies is a critical part of and must be included in these projects.
(2)  Application of information management, processing, and delivery system technologies to the collection and management of real-time measurement/monitoring of environmental data.
Work on this component requires the application of data management, processing, and delivery system technologies to handle real-time 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 provision for a geospatially enabled Internet home page for describing its program and for posting its project’s local environmental data.
(3)  Communication of real-time (or timely) 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 real-time 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.
ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS AND REQUIREMENTS

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.

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 40 CFR Part 31.3 representing one of the  EMPACT metropolitan areas.  Federally recognized Native American Tribes - located anywhere in the United States - are also eligible to apply for an EMPACT Metro Grant.  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 10% 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.  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.

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 groups, etc.

Sustainability

Projects must be designed and developed to ensure that the monitoring and communication systems developed and established can be sustained over the long term.  This means that the results of the grant can be used within the metropolitan area to continue providing environmental information to the public after EMPACT funding ends.  This could include purchase of equipment funded through the grant, space on computer servers, and establishment of long-term maintenance resources.  Sustainability also requires active local participation, stakeholder commitment, and clear communication to ensure continuance of the project.

Project Transferability

Each project must state how the project could be packaged and transferred to other metropolitan areas after it has demonstrated its own success.

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.

Information Management Plan

Each application must include a preliminary Information Management Plan.  The need for an excellent 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.  Data collected must be made available - in a geospatially enabled format - 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 - in a geospatially enabled format - 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.  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.

FUNDING

Approximately $4 million will be made available for this competition, with a potential award value of up to $400,000 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.

All projects funded in FY2001 will be funded at the beginning of the project for the entire project period.  Applicants should not expect further funding beyond the period of performance of this grant.  All funds required to complete the proposed work should be budgeted in the proposal.

ELIGIBILITY

Local governments, as defined by 40 CFR Part 31.3, located in one of the EMPACT metropolitan areas in the U.S., and the District of Columbia, are eligible to apply for this program (see attached definition of metropolitan area and list of the 150 largest U.S. metropolitan areas).  Federally recognized Native American Tribes - located anywhere in the United States - are also eligible to apply for an EMPACT Metro Grant.

The Project Manager (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 (see above in Partnerships and Consortium Building section).

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, managerial, and budgetary 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.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR APPLICATION SUBMISSION

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 EPA 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 (click here for required forms).  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 Project Manager (Principal Investigator) and an administrative contact should be identified in Item 5 of the SF424.

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  • Please indicate which EMPACT Metro area the grant is supporting in Item 12 of the SF 424 (see Attachment A for a complete listing of EMPACT Metro Areas).
B. Key Contacts:  The applicant must complete the Key Contacts Form (click here for required forms) 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 must not exceed two pages (click here for required forms).  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 2001-NCER-J1.

2. Title: Use the exact title as it appears in the rest of the application, particularly in item 11 of SF424.  The title of the application must be brief, yet represent the major thrust of the project.  Because the title will be used by those not familiar with the project, avoid highly technical words or phraseology.

3. Investigators: List the name and affiliation of the Project Manager (Principal Investigator) and each major project leader and affiliations within the partner organizations in the project consortium.

4. Project Period: Provide the proposed project dates.

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

6. Project Summary: This should summarize: (a) the objectives of the project including the type(s) of environmental parameter(s) being monitored, (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.

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 environmental parameter(s) 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) new and innovative technologies for real-time monitoring/ measurement of environmental parameters; (2) appropriate information management, processing, and delivery, and (3) real-time (or timely) communication of information to the public.

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.  This section should also include specific latitude and longitude or UTM coordinates for individual sampling locations.

5. Important Attachments: Appendices, or other information other than those 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, are in addition to the 15 page limit.

The following sections are in addition to the 15-page Project Description.

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

F. Project Management Plan: The Management Plan must be limited to seven (7) pages.

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

H. Resumes: The resumes of the Project Manager (Principal Investigator) and other 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 (click here for require forms).  Sub-contracts and cost-sharing budgets should use the same format.   The budget should include funds for travel to two annual national EMPACT Program meetings (assume at least one of these meetings will be held in Washington, DC; the other would be planned for an EPA Regional office location).  These meetings at a minimum must involve the Project Managers from each metropolitan area project.  At least 10% institutional cost sharing is required.  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 Statement:  For any project involving data collection or processing, conducting surveys, environmental measurements, and/or modeling, or the development of environmental technology (whether hardware-based or via new techniques) for pollution control and waste treatment, provide a statement on quality processes that will be used to assure that results of the research satisfy the intended project objectives.  The statement must describe 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," and must not exceed two pages.  This Statement should, for each item listed below, present the required information, reference the relevant portion of the project description containing the information, or provide a justification as to why the item does not apply to the proposed research.

1. Discuss the activities to be performed or hypothesis to be tested and  criteria for determining acceptable data quality.  (Note: Such criteria may be expressed in terms of precision, accuracy, representativeness, completeness, and comparability or in terms of data quality objectives or acceptance criteria.  Furthermore, these criteria must also be applied to determine the acceptability of existing or secondary data to be used in the project.  In this context secondary data may be defined as data previously collected for other purposes or from other sources, including the literature, compilations from computerized data bases, or results from models of environmental processes and conditions.)

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

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

4. Describe the procedures that will be used in the calibration and performance evaluation of the sampling and analytical methods and equipment to be used during the project.

5. Discuss the procedures for data reduction and reporting, including a description of all statistical methods, with reference to any statistical software to be used, to make inferences and conclusions; discuss any computer models to be designed or utilized with associated verification and validation techniques.

6. Describe the quantitative and/or qualitative procedures that will be used to evaluate the success of the project, including any plans for peer or other reviews of the study design or analytical methods prior to data collection.

 After awards are made, more detailed quality assurance statements may be required.

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, phone 1-800-248-1946, item T55.  Only in exceptional circumstances should it be necessary to consult this document. An EPA guidance document, Guidance on Satisfying EPA Quality System Requirements for STAR Grants (EPA  QA/G-1STAR) is available for potential applicants which addresses in detail how to comply with ANSI/ASQC E4 for STAR grants.  This may be found on the Internet at http://www.epa.gov/ncerqa.

L.  Postcard: The application must include a blank, self-addressed, stamped post card.  This will be used to acknowledge receipt of the application and to transmit other important information to the applicant.  If the applicant does not receive an acknowledgment within 60 days of the submission deadline, contact the project officer listed under “General Information.”

HOW TO APPLY

The original and ten (10) copies of the fully developed application (11 in all) and one (1) additional copy of the abstract, must be received by NCER no later than 4:00 P.M. ET on the closing date, February 21, 2001.

The application and abstract must be prepared in accordance with these instructions.  Informal, incomplete, or unsigned proposals will not be considered.  The original, signature copy of the application should not be bound or stapled in any way.  The required number of copies of the application should be secured with paper or binder clips.

Completed applications should be sent via regular mail to:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Peer Review Division (8703R)
Sorting Code: 2001-NCER-J1
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington DC  20460

For express mail-delivered applications, the following address must be used:

U. S. Environmental Protection Agency
Peer Review Division (8703R)
Sorting Code: 2001-NCER-J1
Room B-10105
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20004

Phone: (202) 564-6939 (for express mail applications)

Courier- or personally-delivered applications must be brought to the Ronald Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20004.  The courier must come to the EPA Visitors Lobby (see map), tell the security guard that he/she has a delivery for the EPA mail room.  The courier will be required to sign a visitor’s log, and will be directed to the EPA mail room.  The mail room is open 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. weekdays, exclusive of Federal holidays.  If the applicant requires a receipt for the delivery, you will need to provide a form which the mail room personnel will sign.


 

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.

REVIEW AND SELECTION

Review Procedures

All grant applications are reviewed by an appropriate external peer review group.  This review is designed to evaluate each application based on the criteria and considerations outlined in Sections A through G below.  Each review group will be composed 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 below will be given equal consideration in the review process.

The Agency’s final decision will be based on the recommendations of the peer review panel and an EPA internal programmatic review process by the EMPACT Steering Committee.

Peer Review Criteria and Considerations

A. Responsiveness to the RFA

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:

 (1) Time-Relevant Monitoring/Measurement
 (2) Time-Relevant Information Management, Processing, and Delivery;
 (3) Time-Relevant Communication
B. Technical and Scientific Approach

The project approach demonstrates a technical and scientific soundness to the three required project components (A1, 2, and 3, noted above).  The proposal develops and demonstrates innovative technologies and approaches.  Also, the Quality Assurance Statement is adequate and appropriate.

C. Team Approach through a Consortium and Memoranda of Understanding

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

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

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

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.
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.

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 Parts 31 and 40.

EPA provides grants 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.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

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

Further information, if needed, may be obtained from the EPA officials indicated below.  EMail inquiries are preferred.

Dr. Barbara Karn
National Center for Environmental Research, Office of Research and Development
karn.barbara@epa.gov
voice (202) 564-6820

Dr. Charlotte Cottrill
EMPACT Program, Office of Environmental Information
cottrill.charlotte@epa.gov
voice (202) 564-6771


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1.  Is there a hotline for EMPACT information?

There is not a hot line, 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 .  Push 1 (for grants), follow the menu to EMPACT, 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) and federally recognized Native American Tribes 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.  For FY 2001, the list was expanded to include the largest 150 Metro Areas and Native American Tribes.

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

In the past, local governments in an EMPACT Metro area which had previously received EMPACT Metro grant funding were precluded from applying for additional Metro grants.  That restriction is no longer in effect, and all Metro areas are eligible to apply for the FY 2001 Metro grants, even if there is an existing EMPACT Metro Grant in the same Metro Area.

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

No,  letters of intent were used by EPA for initial 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?

The identities of applicants are kept confidential for each RFA.  However, information on past and current awardees may be found at http://www.epa.gov/empact.

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 May 2001.

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 the closing date.  Can I get an extension on the deadline?

February 21, 2001, 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, “How To Apply,” for details on submitting.

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

More details on the quality assurance statement may be found in EPA QA/G-1STAR, which is referred to under “Quality Assurance Statement” in the announcement.

15. 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 grant managed by NCER.   STAR stands for “Science to Achieve Results” and is the ORD's program for external research grants.

16.  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 time frame 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.




ATTACHMENT 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
Appelton-Oshkosh-Neeha, WI
Atlanta, GA
Augusta-Aiken, GA-SC
Austin-San Marcos, TX
Bakersfield, CA
Baton Rouge, LA
Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX
Billings, MT
Biloxi-Gulfsport-Pascagoula, MS
Binghamton, NY
Birmingham, AL
Boise City, ID
Boston-Worcester-Lawrence-MA-NH-ME-CT
Brownsville-Harlingen-San Benito, TX
Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY
Burlington, VT
Canton-Massillon, OH
Charleston-North Charleston, SC
Charleston, WV
Charlotte-Gatsonia-Rock Hill, NC-SC
Chattanooga, TN-GA
Cheyenne, WY
Chicago-Gary-Kenosha, IL-IN-WI
Cincinnati-Hamilton, OH-KY-IN
Cleveland, Akron, OH
Colorado Springs, CO
Columbia, SC
Columbus, GA-AL
Columbus, OH
Corpus, Christie, TX
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL
Dayton-Springfield, OH
Daytona Beach, FL
Denver-Boulder-Greeley, CO
Des Moines, IA
Detroit-Ann Arbor-Flint, MI
Duluth-Superior, MN-WI
El Paso, TX
Erie, PA
Eugene-Springfield, OR
Evansville-Henderson, IN-KY
Fargo-Moorhead, ND-MN
Fayetteville, NC
Fayetteville-Springfield-Rogers, AR
Fort Collins-Loveland, CO
Fort Myers-Cape Coral, FL
Fort Pierce-Port St. Lucie, FL
Fort Wayne, IN
Fresno, CA
Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland, MI
Greensboro-Winston-Salem-High Point, NC
Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson, SC
Harrisburg-Lebanon-Carlisle, PA
Hartford, CT
Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir, NC
Honolulu, HI
Houston-Galveston-Brazoria, TX
Huntington-Ahsland, WV-KY-OH
Huntsville, AL
Indianapolis, IN
Jackson, MS
Jacksonville, FL
Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol, TN-VA
Johnston, PA
Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, MI
Kansas City, MO-KS
Killeen-Temple, TX
Knoxville, TN
Lafayette, LA
Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL
Lancaster, PA
Lansing- East Lansing, MI
Las Vegas, NV-AZ
Lexington, KY
Lincoln, NE
Little Rock-North Little Rock, AR
Los Angeles-Riverside-Orange County, CA
Louisville, KY-IN
Lubbock, TX
Macon, GA
Madison, WI
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX
Melbourne-Titusville-Palm Bay, FL
Memphis, TN-AR-MS
Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL
Milwaukee-Racine, WI
Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN-WI
Mobile, AL
Modesto, CA
Montgomery, AL
Nashville, TN
New London-Norwich, CT-RI
New Orleans, LA
New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-CT-PA
Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News, VA-NC
Ocala, FL
Odessa-Midland, TX
Oklahoma City, OK
Omaha, NE-IA
Orlando, FL
Pensacola, FL
Peoria-Pekin, IL
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
Provo-Orem, UT
Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC
Reading, PA
Reno, NV
Richmond-Petersburg, VA
Roanoke, VA
Rochester, NY
Rockford, IL
Sacramento-Yolo, CA
Saginaw-Bay City-Midland, MI
St. Louis, MO-IL
Salinas, CA
Salt Lake City-Ogden, UT
San Antonio, TX
San Diego, CA
San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA
San Juan-Caguas-Arecibo, PR
San Luis Obispo-Atascadero-Paso Robles, CA
Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Lompoc, CA
Sarasota-Bradenton, FL
Savannah, GA
Scranton-Wilkes Barre-Hazleton, PA
Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton, WA
Shreveport-Bossier City, LA
Sioux Falls, SD
South Bend, IN
Spokane, WA
Springfield, MA
Springfield, MO
Stockton-Lodi, CA
Syracuse, NY
Tallahassee, FL
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL
Toledo, OH
Tucson, AZ
Tulsa, OK
Utica-Rome, NY
Visalia-Tulare-Porterville, CA
Washington-Baltimore, DC-MD-VA-WV
West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, FL
Wichita, KS
York, PA
Youngstown-Warren, OH

In addition, federally recognized Native American Tribes - regardless of location in the United States - are eligible to apply.

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