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Fiscal Year 2009 Request for Proposals to Coordinate Regional Pollution Prevention Information Network Centers

Federal Agency: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances

Funding Opportunity Title: Fiscal Year 2009 Request for Proposals to Coordinate Regional Pollution Prevention Information Network Centers

Action: Request for Proposals (RFP)

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 66.717

Funding Opportunity Number: EPA-HQ-OPPT-09-05

SUBMISSION DATE: Proposals may be submitted in hard copy or by e-mail format. All hard copies of proposal packages must be postmarked by June 12, 2009, in order to be considered for funding. E-mail submissions must be received by P2program@epa.gov by June 12, 2009 at 5:00 pm EST. Proposals postmarked or received by email after the closing date and time will not be considered for funding. To allow for efficient management of the competitive process, EPA requests submittal of an informal notice of an "Intent to Apply" to Beth Anderson (email: anderson.beth@epa.gov) by May 29, 2009. Submission of intent to apply is optional. It is a process management tool that will allow EPA to better anticipate the total staff time required for efficient review, evaluation, and selection of submitted proposals.

SUMMARY: Under this RFP, EPA expects to fund one proposal for the coordination of a national network of eight regional pollution prevention information centers (referred to as Regional centers in this document), which are collectively known as the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx). Under CFDA 66.717 grant may be awarded to support pollution prevention/source reduction and/or resource conservation projects that help to eliminate pollution at the source. The Regional centers collaborate with State and local technical assistance providers to share pollution prevention (P2) information and training nationwide. The coordinator shall be able to provide leadership in the following areas: 1) measurement and evaluation of center activities and outcomes, 2) promoting efficiency and supporting information technology among the centers, and 3) assisting centers in marketing their services. Documenting the effectiveness of the Regional centers will be crucial in the next two years, to respond to recommendations from the 2008 evaluation of the program.

FUNDING/AWARDS: EPA anticipates awarding one cooperative agreement under this announcement. Expected funding under this competition is approximately $115,000 available in fiscal year 2010, and an additional $115,000 funding in fiscal year 2011, for an approximate total of $230,000 for both years, subject to the availability of funds, satisfactory performance and the quality of proposals received.

ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS: Eligible applicants include the fifty States, the District of Columbia, the United States Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, any territory or possession of the United States, local governments, city or township governments, independent school districts, incorporated non-profit organizations (other than institutions of higher education), public and private institutions of higher education, community-based grassroots organizations, and Federally-recognized Indian Tribes.

Individuals, for-profit businesses and non-profit organizations described in Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code that engage in lobbying activities as defined in Section 3 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 are ineligible to apply for funding.

Note: Eligible non-profit organizations must be able to demonstrate their non-profit status with appropriate documentation by the time of award.

This Request for Proposals (RFP) includes the following information:

Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
Section II. Award Information
Section III. Eligibility Information
Section IV. Application and Submission Information
Section V. Application Review Information
Section VI. Award Administration
Section VII. Agency Contact
Section VIII. Other Information

I. FUNDING OPPORTUNITY DESCRIPTION

A. Program History.

Since 1997, EPA has funded a network of regional pollution prevention (P2) information centers under the Pollution Prevention Information Network (PPIN) grants program. EPA started supporting a coordinator for the regional centers under CFDA 66.717 in 1999. The Regional centers coordinate with State and local technical assistance providers to share P2 information and minimize duplication of effort in developing and distributing P2 information. While it is not required, in the past, coordinators have always been associated with one of the regional centers because the experience and expertise of working in a technical assistance program contributes to a better understanding of the variety of services a Regional center may provide.

In 2007-2008 an evaluation of the PPIN grant program was conducted to assess the effectiveness of this program in promoting the adoption of P2 practices. The complete evaluation report titled "Evaluating the Effectiveness of the EPA Pollution Prevention Information Network Grant Program" is posted at: www.epa.gov/evaluate/pdf/PPIN-EvalReport.pdf (204 pp, 1.54M, About PDF). The report concludes that the Regional centers are meeting the P2 information needs of technical assistance providers (TAPs) and end users. The report includes these comments about the PPIN program which funds the Regional centers:

Given the Regional centers' success in working with their target audiences, it is important for the center coordinator to understand how each of the regional centers operates. Each center has a distinct approach to their work. The coordinator will assist the centers in communication, building consensus and the adoption of standard procedures.

B. Program Initiatives for FY 2010.

There are three important areas the applicant must address in their proposal: 1) measurement of outcomes that demonstrate the effectiveness of Regional center activities; 2) promoting efficiency and collaboration and supporting information technology (IT) among the centers; and 3) assisting centers in marketing their services. Successful execution of these tasks will require that the coordinator possess excellent communication and consensus-building skills. Proposals that fail to address these three areas will not be reviewed.

  1. Support Centers' Measurement of Outcomes.
    The evaluation recommended that the centers implement uniform means of assessing customer needs and documenting the effectiveness of center activities. Figure 1-1 in the evaluation report (www.epa.gov/evaluate/pdf/PPIN-EvalReport.pdf (204 pp, 1.54M, About PDF)) provides a generic P2 Regional centers information dissemination logic model. The logic model illustrates the activities, outputs and outcomes for P2 information dissemination and suggests short-term and intermediate outcomes.

    The coordinator will assist Regional centers in identifying and utilizing measurements that document the centers' outcomes, based on the generic P2 Regional centers information dissemination logic model. Regional centers need a consistent approach to document customer needs and demonstrate that their activities meet those needs.

    Documenting the effectiveness of activities can be a challenge. While audience responses at trainings or conferences can be documented, the impact of information retrieved from a web site is more difficult to document. The center coordinator should understand web site design and user measurements. Centers need to develop consistent and uniform approaches to document the effectiveness of all their activities across all Regions. This will provide a basis for future evaluation of the program.

  2. Promote Efficiency and Collaboration Among Centers.
    Communication and sharing expertise is important to promote an efficient national network. The coordinator encourages and creates opportunities for collaboration through communication and facilitation among the centers. The coordinator supports regular communication, discussion, and resolution of issues among the centers through routine responsibilities such as: drafting agendas, facilitating conference calls, and recording discussions, conclusions and action items. The coordinator should work with the out-going coordinator (previous grantee) to allow a smooth transition of services.

    Improving efficiency and effectiveness of the national network may involve comparing practices among centers. Each Regional center has unique capabilities, resources and expertise. The coordinator should be objective in recommending best practices for the network. The group may identify tasks that can be centralized into one center or into the coordinator's role, rather than several centers performing the same activity. The center coordinator supports Information Technology innovations and centralized web-based databases used by all of the centers. The coordinator must understand new Internet technologies and (web 2.0) developments that could allow the centers to approach their work in new ways.

    Currently the centers face a challenge in maintaining the number of activities they perform. The coordinator will assist the centers in discussing and selecting activities that will sustain the national network. In FY 2010 the centers' activities will emphasize priority sector focus areas that appeal to TAPs within and outside their Region. The coordinator will assist the centers in identifying their unique contribution to the national network and opportunities to promote P2 in priority sector focus areas.

  3. Assist Centers in Marketing Their Services.
    The evaluation recommended that the centers promote and market their resources and services in a greater variety of forums. The coordinator must develop a marketing plan that identifies new forums to advertise the national network and new ways of reaching and involving the user community. The coordinator must assist the centers in marketing their services. Over the years a number of marketing materials have been developed by the centers, such as: pamphlets, one-page descriptions of P2 in specific sectors, and a calendar. In the past, the coordinator has attended one or two national meetings that are attended by P2Rx customers and regional P2 roundtables.

    The coordinator shall work the Regional centers to improve communication and facilitate outreach by the Regional centers. Outreach could involve hardcopy or electronic, web-based innovations. Outreach will require regular communication with EPA staff and State TAPs as well as the regional centers. However, EPA will not provide direction to the coordinator. The coordinator, in consultation with the Regional centers, will make the final decisions on outreach activities.

C. EPA Grant Requirements.

  1. Statutory Authority.
    Grants under CFDA 66.717 (including this center coordinator grant) will be awarded using the following statutory authorities as appropriate: Clean Air Act, Section 103(b), as amended; Clean Water Act, Section 104(b)(3), as amended; Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, Section 20, as amended; Safe Drinking Water Act, Section 1442 (a)(1) and (c), as amended; Solid Waste Disposal Act, Section 8001(a), as amended; and Toxic Substances Control Act, Section 10, as amended. Projects must consist of activities within the statutory terms of these EPA grant authorities. These statutes authorize grants for the following activities: "research, investigations, experiments, training, and demonstration of new or innovative techniques, surveys and studies." These activities relate generally to the gathering or transferring of information or advancing awareness.

  2. What is Pollution Prevention (P2)?
    For the purposes of this grant program, pollution prevention is defined as any practice which reduces or eliminates the creation of pollutants through: increased efficiency in the use of raw materials, energy, water, or other resources, or protection of natural resources by conservation activities.

  3. Linkage to EPA Strategic Plan.
    Proposals under this RFP must support the Pollution Prevention program's goals in the Agency's 2006-2011 Strategic Plan as expressed in Goal 5: Objective 5.2: Improve Environmental Performance Through Pollution Prevention and Other Stewardship, Sub-Objective 5.2.1: Prevent Pollution and Promote Environmental Stewardship. For more information, go to http://www.epa.gov/cfo/plan/2006/entire_report.pdf. The specific environmental outcomes for this sub-objective include: reductions in pounds of hazardous waste materials; reduction, conservation or offset of British Thermal Units (BTUs); reductions in gallons of water used; and dollars saved through pollution prevention improvements in businesses, and as of FY 2009, reductions in green house gases. Proposals shall describe how the activities and outputs are linked to these outcomes.

  4. Anticipated Outcomes and Outputs are Required in all Proposals.
    Pursuant to Section 6a of EPA Order 5700.7, "Environmental Results under EPA Assistance Agreements," EPA requires that grant applicants and recipients adequately describe environmental outputs and environmental outcomes to be achieved under assistance agreements (see EPA Order 5700.7, Environmental Results Under Assistance Agreements (PDF) (29 pp, 180K, About PDF) ).

    Outputs and outcomes differ both in their nature and in how they are measured. A generic P2 Regional centers' information dissemination logic model can be found in Figure 1-1 of EPA's May 2008 report (www.epa.gov/evaluate/pdf/PPIN-EvalReport.pdf (204 pp, 1.5M, About PDF)). Applicants must identify the relevant environmental outputs and environmental outcomes of their projects.

    1. Environmental Outputs. The term "output" means an activity, effort and/or associated work product related to an environmental goal or objective that will be produced or provided over a period of time or by a specified date. Some examples of outputs for the agreement to be awarded under this RFP include, but are not limited to: creation of standard procedures for demonstrating effectiveness of center services; producing marketing materials; conference presentations; meeting minutes and reports summarizing Regional center activities.

    2. Environmental Outcomes. The term "outcome" means the result, effect, or consequence that will occur from carrying out an activity that is related to an environmental or programmatic goal or objective. Outcomes may be knowledge or attitude-based, behavioral, health-related, or environmental in nature, and ultimately reflect improvements in environmental or environmentally-based health-risk conditions. Examples of outcomes include, but are not limited to: changes in environmental conditions or reductions in pollutant releases. Outcomes may not necessarily be fully achievable within an assistance agreement funding period, but they should be quantifiable.

      1. Short-term outcomes.
        These outcomes reflect changes in learning, knowledge, attitude, skills, or understanding. Examples of short-term outcomes from the agreement to be awarded under this RFP include, but are not limited to: increased access to or awareness of P2 information resulting from outreach activities and Regional centers demonstrate understanding of evaluation procedures. These short-term outcomes should be reported during the project period.

      2. Intermediate outcomes.
        These outcomes reflect changes in behavior, practice, or decisions, which are the foundations of pollution prevention and environmental stewardship. Intermediate outcomes under the agreement include are expected to lead to beneficial long-term outcomes. Intermediate outcomes for the center coordinator could be, but are not limited to: Regional centers use new standardized procedures to report new measures, improved sharing of P2 information, and Regional centers increase the documentation of their effectiveness. Some of these intermediate outcomes may be reported during the project period and some may occur after the end of the project period.

      3. Long-term outcomes.
        These outcomes reflect changes in environmental conditions. These long-term outcomes are the desired end or ultimate results of a project or program. They represent results that lead to environmental or public health improvement. A long-term outcome under the agreement of center coordinator activities could be a reduction in hazardous waste or conservation of water resources. These long-term outcomes will most likely result from program activities outside of a given project period.

II. AWARD INFORMATION

A. What Is the Amount of Funding Available?

The total estimated funding expected to be available for award under this RFP is approximately $115,000 in FY 2010 and an additional $115,000 in FY 2011. This amount is subject to the availability of funds, satisfactory performance, and the quality of proposals received.

B. How Many Agreements Will EPA Award in this Competition?

One cooperative assistance agreement will be awarded. EPA reserves the right to reject all proposals and make no awards under this competition.

C. Partial Funding.

In appropriate circumstances, EPA reserves the right to partially fund proposals by funding discrete portions or phases of proposed projects. If EPA decides to partially fund a proposal, it will do so in a manner that does not prejudice any applicants or affect the basis upon which the proposal or portion thereof was evaluated and selected for award, and therefore maintains the integrity of the competition and selection process.

To be considered for partial funding, the applicant's work plan must have clearly delineated tasks that include separate budget estimates for each task or phase of the project. The completed proposal package must include a budget that estimates the costs for labor (by labor category), fringe benefits, travel, equipment, supplies, contractors, and for other direct costs and indirect costs. The budget must itemize these costs under each task identified in the work plan as well as for the entire proposed project.

D. What Is the Project Period for Awards Resulting from this Solicitation?

The project period for this award is two years (24 months). The award will be made in early FY 2010, depending on Congressional appropriations for this program and the quality of proposals received and other applicable considerations.

E. Funding Type.

EPA will issue the award for the center coordinator in the form of a cooperative agreement. A cooperative agreement permits substantial involvement between the EPA Project Officer and the selected applicant. EPA will negotiate precise terms and conditions relating to substantial involvement as part of the award process. Substantial Federal involvement for this project could include: monitoring of performance, collaborating in aspects of the work plan such as reviewing agendas for meetings and conference calls, approving qualifications of key personnel personnel (EPA will not select employees or contractors employed by the award recipient), and commenting on reports prepared under the cooperative agreement (the final decision on the content of reports rests with the recipient). Award of funding through this year's competition is not a guarantee of future funding.

F. Funding Restrictions.

EPA assistance agreement funds may only be used for the purposes set forth in the assistance agreement and must be consistent with the designated statutory authorities of CFDA 66.717. Assistance agreement funds may not be used for matching funds for other Federal grants, lobbying, or intervention in Federal regulatory or adjudicatory proceedings. In addition, Federal funds may not be used to sue the Federal government or any other government entity. All costs identified in the budget must conform to applicable Federal cost principles contained in OMB Circular A-87; A-122; and A-21, as appropriate. EPA will subtract proposed ineligible costs from the final approved budget if a grant is awarded.

G. Amending This Solicitation.

EPA reserves the right to amend this solicitation as necessary. Amendments could be administrative (such as changes in dates), technical (such as a change in requirements), or fiscal. If this need occurs, EPA will post the amended solicitation at the same location as this announcement and the amendment will also be posted on www.grants.gov and www.epa.gov/p2/pubs/grants/index.htm.

III. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

A. Eligible Applicants.

Eligible applicants include the fifty States, the District of Columbia, the United States Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, any territory or possession of the United States, local governments, city or township governments, independent school districts, incorporated non-profit organizations (other than institutions of higher education), public and private institutions of higher education, community-based grassroots organizations, and Federally-recognized Indian Tribes that meet the requirement for treatment in a manner similar to a State in 40 CFR 35.663 and Intertribal Consortia that meet the requirements in 40 CFR 35.504.

Note: Eligible non-profit organizations must be able to demonstrate their non-profit status with appropriate documentation by the time of award.

Individuals, for-profit businesses and non-profit organizations described in Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code that engage in lobbying activities as defined in Section 3 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 are ineligible to apply for funding.

B. Cost Sharing and Matching Requirements.

EPA requires the applicant to provide a minimum 5% match, as part of the total allowable project cost. For example, the Federal government will provide 95% of the total allowable cost of the project and the recipient will provide the remaining 5%. The match may be issued in the form of cash and/or in-kind contributions, e.g., donated services, charges for real property and equipment or the value of goods and services directly benefiting the EPA funded project. Applicants must demonstrate in their proposal how they will meet the match requirement and providing the match is a condition for award.

C. Threshold Requirements for Proposals.

Proposals must meet the following requirements by the time of submission or they will be eliminated from consideration for funding. Only proposals that meet all of these criteria will be evaluated against the ranking factors in Section V of this announcement. Applicants deemed ineligible for funding consideration as a result of the threshold eligibility review will be notified within 15 calendar days.

  1. Proposals must be from eligible entities as identified in section III.A above and must demonstrate how the applicant will meet the required cost share in section III.B above.

    1. Proposals must consist of activities under the statutory authorities identified in Section I.C.1. These statutes authorize grants for: "research, investigations, experiments, training, and demonstration of new or innovative techniques, surveys and studies." These activities relate generally to the gathering or transferring of information or advancing awareness.

    2. Proposals must meet EPA's definition of pollution prevention provided in Section I.C.2.

    3. Proposals must specify outputs and outcomes as described in Section I.C.4 and link these outcomes to Goal 5 of EPA's Strategic Plan, Sub-objective 5.2.1 "prevent pollution and promote environmental stewardship" as noted in Section I.C.3.

  2. EPA will reject proposals that have a project period longer than 24 months. Proposals may not seek more than a total of $230,000 in Federal funding (Section II.A).

  3. Proposals that do not address the program initiatives for FY 2010 as listed in section I.B. will be rejected.

    1. Proposals must substantially comply with the proposal submission instructions and requirements set forth in Section IV of this announcement or they will be rejected. If the project narrative exceeds the page limit expressed in Section IV, pages in excess of the page limitation will not be reviewed.

    2. Proposals must be submitted for delivery, postmarked, or received via email on or before the proposal submission deadline published in Section IV of this announcement. Proposals submitted for delivery, postmarked, or received electronically after the submission deadline and time will be considered late and returned to the sender without further consideration unless the applicant can clearly demonstrate that it was late due to EPA mishandling. For hard copy or emailed submissions, where Section IV requires the proposal receipt by a specific person by the submission deadline, receipt by the Agency mailroom is not sufficient. Applicants should confirm receipt of their proposal as soon as possible after the submission deadline. Failure to confirm receipt may result in your proposal not being reviewed.

IV. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

The following section describes how to submit a grant proposal, including submission dates, proposal submission methods, and proposal content. Applicants are advised to carefully read through these instructions.

A. How to Obtain Proposal Package.

Applicants may download individual grant proposal forms from EPA's Office of Grants and Debarment website at: www.epa.gov/ogd/grants/how_to_apply.htm. To obtain a hard copy of materials, please send an email or written request to the Agency contact listed in Section VII of this announcement.

B. Submission Dates and Times.

All hard copies of proposals packages must be postmarked by June 12, 2009, in order to be considered for funding. Email submissions must be received by P2program@epa.gov by June 12, 2009, 5:00 pm EST. Proposals received after the closing date and time will not be considered for funding.

C. How to Submit Proposals.

Applicants have the option to submit their proposals in one of two ways: 1) Hard copy by express delivery service or the US postal service, or 2) electronically through email to P2program@epa.gov. All proposals must be prepared, and include the information as described in Section D below, regardless of mode of transmission.

1. Hard Copy Submission.
Because of the unique situation involving U.S. mail screening, EPA highly recommends that applicants use an express mail option to submit their proposal packages. If submitting a hardcopy proposal through an express delivery service, the package must show it was postmarked (e.g. picked up for delivery) by June 12, 2009. If submitting by hard copy, you should also send an email alerting EPA to expect the proposal to: anderson.beth@epa.gov Please provide one original of the proposal package (including signed and completed SF 424 and SF 424A forms) and one copy of it (preferably double-sided)--no binders or spiral binding--to:

Express Delivery Address (FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc.)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1201 Constitution Ave. NW
EPA-East 5213
Attention: Beth Anderson (Mail Code 7409M)
Washington, DC 20004
Phone: (202) 546-8833 or (202) 564-8800

United States Postal Service Address

U.S, Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, Pollution Prevention Division
Attention: Beth Anderson (Mail Code 7409M)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20460-0001

If submitting a hardcopy proposal through the US Postal Service, the package must be postmarked by June 12, 2009, and an email alerting EPA to expect the proposal should be sent to: anderson.beth@epa.gov

2. Email Submission.

E-mail submissions must be submitted to P2program@epa.gov and be received by the submission deadline stated in Section IV.B of this announcement. All required documents listed in Section IV.E of the announcement must be attached to the e-mail as separate Adobe PDF files. Please note that if you choose to submit your materials via e-mail, you are accepting all risks attendant to e-mail submission including server delays and transmission difficulties. E-mail submissions exceeding 15MB will experience transmission delays which will affect when they are received by the Agency. For these size submissions, applicants should submit their proposal materials via hardcopy because if they are sent via e-mail they may be received late and not considered for funding. Applicants submitting their proposal materials through e-mail should confirm receipt of the materials with Anderson.beth@epa.gov as soon as possible after submission.

D. Proposal Length and Format.

The project narrative, as described below must be no longer than 20 pages using 8 ½" x 11" paper and single spaced. The Federal forms and appendices, such as resumes, letters of support, and indirect cost agreement will not count toward the 20 page limit. Electronic files must be readable in Adobe Acrobat PDF, MS Word or Word Perfect WP6/7/8 for Windows in English. Full application packages should not be submitted at this time. Following EPA's evaluation of proposals, all applicants will be notified regarding their status. Final applications and forms will be requested, as necessary, from those eligible entities whose proposal has been successfully evaluated and preliminary recommended for award. Those entities will be provided with instructions and a due date for submittal of final application package.

E. Proposal Package Content.

All proposal submissions, regardless of mode of transmission, must contain a completed and signed SF-424, Proposal for Federal Assistance, a completed SF-424A, Budget Information-Non-Construction Programs, a completed EPA Key Contacts Form 5700-54, and a Project narrative (as described below).
Forms can be found at: www.epa.gov/ogd/AppKit/

1. Proposal for Federal Assistance (SF-424)
2. Budget Information for Non-Construction Programs (SF-424A)
3. EPA Key Contacts (Form 5700-54)
4. Project Proposal Narrative – subject to 20 page limit
5. Other attachments: Budget Narrative, Letters of Support, Indirect Cost Rate Agreement, and Resumes

  1. Standard Form (SF) 424, Proposal for Federal Assistance.
    Complete the form. There are no attachments. Please note that the organizational Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number must be included on the SF-424. Organizations may obtain a DUNS number at no cost by calling the toll-free DUNS number request line at 1-866-705-5711 or visit the web site at www.dnb.comExit EPA Disclaimer. Instructions for obtaining a DUNS number may also be found at the following website: www.Grants.Gov/GetStarted.

  2. SF-424A, Budget Information for Non-Construction Programs.
    Complete the form. There are no attachments. If indirect costs are included, the amount of indirect costs should be entered on line 6(j). The indirect cost rate (i.e., a percentage), the base (e.g., personnel costs and fringe benefits), and the amount should also be indicated on line 22. If indirect costs are requested, a copy of the Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement must be submitted as part of the proposal package.

  3. EPA Form 5700-54, Key Contacts Form.
    Complete the form. There are no attachments.

  4. The Project Narrative must include the following two components as further described below:

    1. A description of how the proposed project meets the requirements and objectives set forth in Section I of the RFP and
    2. A work plan describing programmatic capability and past performance environmental results (outputs and outcomes for each task), and work plan tasks.
    1. Description of How The Proposed Project Meets Section I Requirements. The proposed activities must address the requirements and objectives in Section I of the RFP including those in Sections I.B and I.C. The outcomes of the proposals must support EPA's 2006-2011 Strategic Plan's Goal 5: Objective 5.2: Improve Environmental Performance Through Pollution Prevention and Other Stewardship, Sub-Objective 5.2.1: Prevent Pollution and Promote Environmental Stewardship. The proposal must describe environmental outcomes related to the proposed activities and outputs.

    2. The Work Plan. The work plan must provide information for the following:

      1. Programmatic Capability and Past Performance.
        Submit a list of federally funded assistance agreements (assistance agreements include Federal grants and cooperative agreements but not Federal contracts) similar in size, scope and relevance to the proposed project that your organization performed within the last three years (no more than 5 agreements, and preferably EPA agreements) and describe (i) whether, and how, you were able to successfully complete and manage those agreements and (ii) your history of meeting the reporting requirements under those agreements including whether you adequately and timely reported on your progress towards achieving the expected outputs and outcomes of those agreements (and if not, explain why not) and whether you submitted acceptable final technical reports under the agreements. In evaluating applicants under these factors in Section V, EPA will consider the information provided by the applicant and may also consider relevant information from other sources, including information from EPA files and from current/prior grantors (e.g., to verify and/or supplement the information provided by the applicant). If you do not have any relevant or available past performance or reporting information, please indicate this in the proposal and you will receive a neutral score for these factors (a neutral score is half of the total points available in a subset of possible points). If you do not provide any response for these items, you may receive a score of 0 for these factors.

        In addition, provide information on: (iii) your organizational experience and plan for timely and successfully achieving the objectives of the proposed project, and (iv) your staff expertise/qualifications, staff knowledge, and resources or the ability to obtain them, to successfully achieve the goals of the proposed project.

      2. Environmental Results: Outputs and Outcomes.
        Proposals shall demonstrate the effectiveness of center coordinator activities and center services (Section I.C.4) based on work plan products or services (outputs) and changes in client awareness or behavior (outcomes). Proposals must describe the applicant's plan for tracking and measuring it progress towards achieving the expected projects outcomes and outputs.

      3. Work Plan Tasks.
        The applicant must demonstrate how it will accomplish the following tasks:

        • Support centers' measurement of outcomes to demonstrate the effectiveness of centers' activities,

        • Promote efficiency, collaboration and support of information technology among the centers,

        • Assist centers in marketing their services, and

        • Reporting activities and effectiveness of the regional centers.

  5. Other Attachments. The following information should be included with the proposal package as appendices and will not count against the 20 page limit for the project narrative.

    1. Budget Narrative. The proposal shall include a detailed budget which outlines at least the following areas: personnel, fringe benefits, travel, equipment, supplies, contracts, other costs, income, total direct costs and total indirect costs. The budget should show separate columns for EPA funds and non-Federal matching funds. The proposal shall provide an approximation of the percentage or dollar amount and FTE designated for each work plan task. The budget will be evaluated to determine the adequacy of the funding for the proposed task.

      Management Fees. When formulating budgets for proposals, applicants must not include management fees or similar charges in excess of the direct costs and indirect costs at the rate approved by the applicant's audit agency, or at the rate provided for by the terms of the agreement negotiated with EPA. The term "management fees or similar charges" refers to expenses added to the direct costs in order to accumulate and reserve funds for ongoing business expenses, unforeseen liabilities, or for other similar costs that are not allowable under EPA assistance agreements. Management fees or similar charges may not be used to improve or expand the project funded under this agreement, except to the extent authorized as a direct cost of carrying out the scope of work.

      Compensation for Consultants. The use of EPA financial assistance funds as compensation for consultants is limited to the daily equivalent of the rate paid to Federal employees at the ES-IV level (see 40 CFR Sections 30.27(b) or 31.36(j), as applicable).

    2. Letters of Support.
      A Letter of Support clearly states approval and support for the applicant's work plan. It should provide an explanation of an individual's or an association's involvement in the project and reasons for support of the work plan. The letter does NOT have to state a cash amount or level of in-kind services. These letters allow the current regional centers to support specific approaches to the center coordinator position. The letters will be viewed as appendices to the grant proposal package and will not count toward the page limit requirement.

    3. Indirect Cost Rate Agreement, if applicable. You must submit a copy of your organization's Indirect Cost Rate Agreement as part of the proposal package if your proposed budget includes indirect costs.

    4. Resumes for the Project Manager(s). Attach a copy of the biographical sketch or resume for each project manager for the proposed project. Please limit the length of a resume to one page and attach a maximum of three resumes. Each resume should outline the education, work history, and knowledge/expertise of the individual that relate to managing the proposed project.

F. Intergovernmental Review.

This program may be eligible for coverage under Executive Order 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs" and 40 CFR Part 29. An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review. If the State has not selected the program for review or the State does not have a single point of contact, applicants must coordinate directly with affected State, area-wide, regional, and local entities. If the applicant does not know who their single point of contact is, they are advised to call the EPA Headquarters Grant Policy Information and Training Branch at 202-564-5325 or refer to the State Single Point of Contact web site at www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants/spoc.html. Federally-recognized Tribal governments are not required to comply with this procedure.

G. Other Submission Requirements.

  1. Pre-proposal/Proposal Communications and Assistance.
    In accordance with EPA's Competition Policy of January 11, 2005, (EPA Order 5700.5A1; www.epa.gov/ogd/competition/5700_5A1.pdf (37 pp, 161.4K, About PDF)). EPA staff will not meet with individual applicants to discuss draft proposals, provide informal comments on draft proposals, or provide advice to applicants on how to respond to ranking criteria. Applicants are responsible for the contents of their proposals. EPA will respond to questions in writing (to anderson.beth@epa.gov) from individual applicants regarding threshold eligibility criteria, administrative issues related to the submission of the proposal, and requests for clarification about the announcement. Please type "Center coordinator question" in the subject line of your email.

  2. Confidential Business Information.
    In accordance with 40 CFR 2.203, applicants may claim all or a portion of their proposal as confidential business information. EPA will evaluate confidential claims in accordance with 40 CFR Part 2. Applicants must clearly mark proposals or portions of proposals they claim as confidential. If no claim of confidentiality is made, EPA is not required to make the inquiry to the applicant otherwise required by 40 CFR 2.204 (c)(2) prior to disclosure. If no claim of confidentiality is made, EPA is not required to make the inquiry to the applicant otherwise required by 40 CFR 2.204 (c)(2) prior to disclosure. However, competitive proposals/proposals are considered confidential and protected from disclosure prior to the completion of the competitive selection process.

  3. Can funding be used for the applicant to make subawards, acquire contract services, or fund partnerships?

    EPA awards funds to one eligible applicant as the recipient even if other eligible applicants are named as partners or co-applicants or members of a coalition or consortium. The recipient is accountable to EPA for the proper expenditure of funds.

    Funding may be used to provide subgrants or subawards of financial assistance, which includes using subawards or subgrants to fund partnerships , provided the recipient complies with applicable requirements for subawards or subgrants including those contained in 40 CFR Parts 30 or 31, as appropriate. Applicants must compete contracts for services and products, including consultant contracts, and conduct cost and price analyses, to the extent required by the procurement provisions of the regulations at 40 CFR Parts 30 or 31, as appropriate. The regulations also contain limitations on consultant compensation. Applicants are not required to identify subawardees/subgrantees and/or contractors (including consultants) in their proposal/proposal. However, if they do, the fact that an applicant selected for award has named a specific subawardee/subgrantee, contractor, or consultant in the proposal/proposal EPA selects for funding does not relieve the applicant of its obligations to comply with subaward/subgrant and/or competitive procurement requirements as appropriate. Please note that applicants may not award sole source contracts to consulting, engineering or other firms assisting applicants with the proposal solely based on the firm's role in preparing the proposal/proposal.

    Successful applicants cannot use subgrants or subawards to avoid requirements in EPA grant regulations for competitive procurement by using these instruments to acquire commercial services or products from for-profit organizations to carry out its assistance agreement. The nature of the transaction between the recipient and the subawardee or subgrantee must be consistent with the standards for distinguishing between vendor transactions and subrecipient assistance under Subpart B Section .210 of OMB Circular A-133 , and the definitions of subaward at 40 CFR 30.2(ff) or subgrant at 40 CFR 31.3, as applicable. EPA will not be a party to these transactions. Applicants acquiring commercial goods or services must comply with the competitive procurement standards in 40 CFR Part 30 or 40 CFR Part 31.36 and cannot use a subaward/subgrant as the funding mechanism.

  4. How Will an Applicant's Proposed Subawardees/Subgrantees and Contractors be Considered During the Evaluation Process Described in Section V of the Announcement?
    Section V of the announcement describes the evaluation criteria and evaluation process that will be used by EPA to make selections under this announcement. During this evaluation, except for those criteria that relate to the applicant's own qualifications, past performance, and reporting history, the review panel will consider, if appropriate and relevant, the qualifications, expertise, and experience of:

    1. An Applicant's Named Subawardees/Subgrantees identified in the proposal/proposal if the applicant demonstrates in the proposal/proposal that if it receives an award that the subaward/subgrant will be properly awarded consistent with the applicable regulations in 40 CFR Parts 30 or 31. For example, applicants must not use subawards/subgrants to obtain commercial services or products from for-profit firms or individual consultants.

    2. An Applicant's Named Contractor(s), including consultants, identified in the proposal/proposal if the applicant demonstrates in its proposal/proposal that the contractor(s) was selected in compliance with the competitive Procurement Standards in 40 CFR Part 30 or 40 CFR 31.36 as appropriate. For example, an applicant must demonstrate that it selected the contractor(s) competitively or that a proper non-competitive sole-source award consistent with the regulations will be made to the contractor(s), that efforts were made to provide small and disadvantaged businesses with opportunities to compete, and that some form of cost or price analysis was conducted. EPA may not accept sole source justifications for contracts for services or products that are otherwise readily available in the commercial marketplace.

      EPA will not consider the qualifications, experience, and expertise of named subawardees/subgrantees and/or named contractor(s) during the proposal/proposal evaluation process unless the applicant complies with these requirements.

V. PROPOSAL REVIEW INFORMATION

A. Evaluation Criteria.

Only the proposals meeting the threshold eligibility criteria in Section III will be evaluated against the criteria below presented in this section. Proposals will be evaluated based on the criteria below. Applicants should directly and explicitly address these criteria as part of their proposal submittal. Proposals can receive a maximum score of 100. Each criterion includes a cross-reference to the section of this announcement that is relevant to that criterion:

  1. Programmatic Capability and Past Performance (20 Points) – each subfactor is worth 5 points
    Under this criterion, applicants will be evaluated based on their ability to successfully complete and manage the proposed project taking into account the applicant's:

    (a) past performance in successfully completing and managing the assistance agreements identified in the project narrative as described in Section IV.E of the announcement, (b) history of meeting the reporting requirements under the assistance agreements identified in the project narrative as described in Section IV.E of the announcement including whether the applicant submitted acceptable final technical reports under those agreements and the extent to which the applicant adequately and timely reported on their progress towards achieving the expected outputs and outcomes under those agreements and if such progress was not being made whether the applicant adequately reported why not, (c) organizational experience and plan for timely and successfully achieving the objectives of the proposed project, and (d) staff expertise/qualifications, staff knowledge, and resources or the ability to obtain them, to successfully achieve the goals of the proposed project.

    Note: In evaluating applicants under this criterion, the Agency will consider the information provided by the applicant and may also consider relevant information from other sources including agency files and prior/current grantors (e.g., to verify and/or supplement the information supplied by the applicant). If you do not have any relevant or available past performance or reporting information, please indicate this in the proposal and you will receive a neutral score for subfactors a and b. A neutral score is half of the total points available for subfactors a and b. If you do not provide any response for these items, you may receive a score of 0 for these factors.

  2. Environmental Results: Outputs and Outcomes (25 Points)
    Under this criterion, the Agency will evaluate the following:

    1. (0-10 points) The quality of work plan tasks and their outputs for each type of audience targeted. A logic model should be used to show the relationship between activities, outputs and outcomes.

    2. (0-10 points) The quality of work plan tasks and their environmental outcomes.

    3. (0-5 points) The quality of the plan to track and measure progress towards achieving the expected outputs and outcomes.

  3. Work Plan Tasks (30 points)
    Under this criterion, the Agency will evaluate the following:

    1. (0-10 points) The quality and extent of the proposed approach to support consistent and uniform measurement of outcomes, customer needs and effectiveness of activities among the regional centers.

    2. (0-10 points) The quality and extent of the proposed approach to promoting communication, collaboration, supporting information technology and efficient P2 information sharing among centers in the national network.

    3. (0-10 points) The quality and innovation in the approach to assisting centers in marketing national network services and supporting outreach and communication among centers, EPA and State TAPs.

  4. Letters of Support (15 points)
    Under this criterion, the Agency will evaluate the extent to which the proposal is supported by the eight regional P2 information centers in the national network

  5. Detailed Budget and Narrative (10 points)
    Under this criterion, the Agency will evaluate the quality and reasonableness of the budget narrative which must outline: personnel, fringe benefits, travel, equipment, supplies, contracts, other expenses, income, total direct costs, total indirect costs and indicate Federal and non-Federal matching funds in separate columns.

    1. (0-5 points) The extent to which the detailed budget presents estimated costs (or percent of total budget) and funding source for each work plan task.

    2. (0-5 points) The extent to which the costs are reasonable and necessary to accomplish the proposed outputs and outcomes.

B. Review and Selection Process.

Proposals will first be evaluated against threshold factors listed in Section III. Only those proposals which meet all the threshold factors will be evaluated using the criteria listed above. Each proposal will be given a numerical score and will be rank-ordered according to the numerical score. Preliminary funding recommendations will be provided to the Approving Official based on this ranking.

Final funding decisions will be made by the Approving Official, based on the rankings and preliminary recommendation of the EPA evaluation team. In making the final funding decisions, the Approving Official may also consider programmatic priorities (reducing greenhouse gases emissions, reducing or eliminating the use of toxic and/or hazardous materials, and resource conservation), availability of funds, and duplication of effort with other ongoing projects. Once final decisions have been made, a funding recommendation will be developed and forwarded to the EPA Award Official.

VI. Award Administration Information

A. Award Notices.

Following EPA's evaluation of proposals, all applicants will be notified regarding their status. A final application will be requested from the eligible entity whose proposal has been successfully evaluated and preliminarily recommended for award. The entity will be provided with instructions and a due date for submittal of their final application package.

  1. EPA Anticipates Notification to the Successful Applicant will be made, via telephone, electronic or postal mail within 180 days from the date proposals are due. The notification will advise the applicant that its proposal has been successfully evaluated and recommended for award. The notification will be sent to the original signer of the Standard Form (SF) 424, Proposal for Federal Assistance.

    This notification, which advises that the applicant's proposal has been recommended for award, is not an authorization to begin performance. The award notice signed by the EPA grants officer is the authorizing document and will be provided through postal mail. At a minimum, this process can take at least 90 days from the date of recommendation.

  2. EPA Anticipates Notification to Unsuccessful Applicant(s) will be made via electronic or postal mail within 180 days from the date proposals are due. The notification will be sent to the original signer of the SF 424, Proposal for Federal Assistance.

B. Dispute Resolution Process.

Assistance agreement competition-related disputes will be resolved in accordance with the dispute resolution procedures published in 70 FR (Federal Register) 3629, 3630 (January 26, 2005 that can be found at www.epa.gov/ogd/competition/resolution.htm. Copies of these procedures may also be requested by contacting: anderson.beth@epa.gov.

C. Administrative Requirements.

  1. EPA Regulations.
    A listing and description of general EPA regulations applicable to the award of assistance agreements may be viewed at: www.epa.gov/ogd/AppKit/applicable_epa_regulations_and_description.htm.

  2. Reimbursement Limitation.
    If the recipient expends more than the amount of funding in its EPA approved budget in anticipation of receiving additional funds from EPA, it does so at its own risk. EPA is not legally obligated to reimburse the recipient for costs incurred in excess of the EPA approved budget.

  3. Audits.
    Periodic audits should be made as part of the recipient's system of financial management and internal control to meet the terms and conditions of grants and other assistance agreements. In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A 133, State agencies that receive less than $500,000 within the State's fiscal year shall have an audit made in accordance with Federal laws and regulations governing the programs in which they participate.

  4. Records.
    Financial records, including all documents to support entries on accounting records to substantiate charges to each assistance agreement, must be kept available to personnel authorized to examine EPA assistance agreement accounts. All records must be maintained for three years from the date of submission of the annual financial status report. If questions still remain, such as those posed as a result of an audit, related records should be retained until the matter is completely resolved.

  5. Computers.
    Recipients who use grant funds to purchase desktop computers, or notebook computers must specify that such equipment be an Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT)-registered product with a rating of "bronze" or better. Information about EPEAT-rated products can be found at www.epeat.net/ Exit EPA Disclaimer. This specification requirement is consistent with EPA's role in the Federal Electronics Challenge; see www.epa.gov/fec.

  6. Exchange Network.
    Applicants should be aware that EPA, States, Tribes and territories are working together to develop the National Environmental Information Exchange Network, a secure, Internet and standards-based way to support electronic data reporting, sharing, and integration of both regulatory and non-regulatory environmental data. States, Tribes and territories that exchange data with each other or with EPA, should make the Exchange Network and the Agency's connection to it, the Central Data Exchange (CDX), the standard way they exchange data and should phase out any legacy methods they used previously. More information on the Exchange Network is available at www.exchangenetwork.net Exit EPA Disclaimer.

  7. Reporting.
    Funding recipients must complete quarterly and annual reports, as well as provide a final report at the end of the grant period. Reports must address the status of all activities in the proposal (including measures) and a statement of impacts and expenses. The final report shall be completed within 90 calendar days of the completion of the period of performance. The final report should encompass a complete overview/summary of all of the activities conducted within the grant project period. Specific financial, technical and other reporting requirements to measure the grant recipient's progress will be identified in the EPA grant award agreement. Reporting must be consistent with the requirements of 40 CFR 35.107, 35.115, and 35.515. Grant recipients should send all reports and final products to the grant project officer. Final reports should include the project's environmental output and outcome results.

  8. Non-Profit Organizations.
    Non-profit applicants that are recommended for funding under this announcement are subject to pre-award administrative capability reviews consistent with Section 8b, 8c and 9d of EPA Order 5700.8 - Policy on Assessing Capabilities of Non-Profit Applicants for Managing Assistance Awards (PDF) (10 pp, 42.4K, About PDF). In addition, non-profit applicants that qualify for funding may, depending on the size of the award, be required to fill out and submit to the Grants Management Office the Administrative Capabilities Form with supporting documents contained in Appendix A of EPA Order 5700.8.

  9. Use of Grant Funds for Surveys.
    Surveys of 10 or more persons (and using the same questions) conducted using funds provided under cooperative agreements are subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act (5 CFR 1320). EPA staff will work with recipients of such funding to obtain Office of Management and Budget (OMB) clearance for customer satisfaction surveys. Any surveys conducted under PPIN cooperative agreement or where EPA appears to be conducting or sponsoring the collection of information, are subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act.

    Grantees may carry out their own survey or documentation without EPA grant funding. Grantees can also collect: facts or opinions submitted in response to general solicitations of comments, provided that no person is required to supply specific information pertaining to the commenter, other than that necessary for self-identification; examinations designed to test aptitude, abilities or knowledge; and information necessary to identify a respondent, such as web site registration (See 5 CFR 1320.3(h)).

  10. Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QA/QC).
    Certain quality assurance and/or quality control (QA/QC) and peer review requirements are applicable to the collection of environmental data. Environmental data are any measurements or information that describe environmental processes, location, or condition; ecological or health effects and consequences; or the performance of environmental technology. Environmental data also include information collected directly from measurements, produced from models, and obtained from other sources such as data bases or published literature. Regulations pertaining to QA/QC requirements can be found in 40 CFR Parts 30.54 and 31.45. According to 40 CFR 30.54, projects that involve environmentally-related measurements or data generation must develop and implement quality assurance practices to meet the projects objectives. Additional guidance can be found at www.epa.gov/quality/qa_docs.html#noeparqt.

    Applicants should allow sufficient time and resources for this process in their proposed projects. If your organization does not have a Quality Management System in place, one will need to be developed. A project-specific Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) or functional equivalent will need to be submitted and approved by EPA. All projects reporting environmental data, including any outcome measurements, require quality assurance documentation.

VII. Agency Contact

Beth Anderson, Pollution Prevention Division (MC-7409M), USEPA Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20460-0001, telephone number: (202) 564-8833; fax number: (202) 564-8899; e-mail address: Anderson.Beth@epa.gov.

VIII. Other Information

The EPA Award Official is the only official that can bind the Agency to the expenditure of funds for selected projects resulting from this announcement. Information about the current P2 information network grant program may be viewed at: www.epa.gov/p2/pubs/grants/ppin/ppin.htm. Information about the current P2Rx centers may be viewed at www.p2rx.org Exit EPA Disclaimer.

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