[Federal Register Volume 69, Number 197 (Wednesday, October 13, 2004)]
[Notices]
[Pages 60861-60863]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 04-22958]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

[FRL-7827-4]


State Innovation Grant Program, Preliminary Notice and Request 
for Input on the Development of a Solicitation for Proposals for 2004/
2005 Awards

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Policy, 
Economics and Innovation (OPEI) is giving a preliminary notice of its 
intention to solicit proposals for a 2004/2005 grant program to support 
innovation by state environmental regulatory agencies--the ``State 
Innovation Grant Program.'' The Agency is also seeking input from State 
Environmental Regulatory Agencies on the topic areas for the 
solicitation. In addition, EPA is asking each State Environmental 
Regulatory Agency to designate a point of contact at the management 
level (in addition to the Commissioner or Cabinet Secretary level) who 
should receive further communication about the upcoming solicitation. 
EPA anticipates publication of a Federal Register notice to announce 
the availability of the next solicitation within 75 days.

DATES: State Environmental Regulatory Agencies will have 30 days from 
the date of this pre-announcement notice in the Federal Register 
publication until November 12, 2004, to respond with: (1) Suggestions 
for specific topics that should be included under the general subject 
area of ``Innovation in Environmental Permitting Programs'' (e.g., 
topics with 1-2 paragraphs description) for the next solicitation; and 
(2) point of contact information (name, title, mailing address, 
telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail address) for the person within 
the State Environmental Regulatory Agency (in addition to Commissioner 
or Cabinet Secretaries) who should receive future notices about the 
State Innovation Grants. We will automatically transmit notice of 
availability of the solicitation to people in State agencies identified 
for previous solicitations.

ADDRESSES: Information should be sent to: State Innovation Grant 
Program; Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation; U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency (1807T); 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 
20460. Responses may also be sent by fax to (202-566-2220), addressed 
to the ``State Innovation Grant Program,'' or by e-mail to: 
Innovation--State--Grants@EPA.gov. We encourage e-mail responses. If 
you have questions about responding to this notice, please contact EPA 
at this e-mail address or fax number, or you may call Sherri Walker at 
202-566-2186. For point of contact information, please provide: name, 
title, department and agency, street or Post Office address, city, 
State, zip code, telephone, fax, and e-mail address. EPA will 
acknowledge all responses it receives to this notice.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
    Background: In April 2002, EPA issued its plan for future 
innovation efforts, published as Innovating for Better Environmental 
Results: A Strategy to Guide the Next Generation of Innovation at EPA 
(EPA 100-R-02-002; http://www.epa.gov/innovation/strategy/). The 
Agency's Innovation Strategy presents a framework for environmental 
innovation consisting of four major elements:
    (1) Strengthen EPA's innovation partnerships with States;
    (2) Focus on priority environmental issues;
    (3) Diversify environmental protection tools and approaches;
    (4) Foster a more ``innovation-friendly'' organizational culture 
and systems. This assistance program strengthens EPA's partnership with 
the States by supporting State innovation compatible with the 
Innovation Strategy. EPA would like to help States build on previous 
experience and undertake strategic innovation projects that promote 
larger-scale models for ``next generation'' environmental protection 
and promise better environmental results. EPA is interested in funding 
projects that go beyond a single facility experiment and obtain better 
results from a program, process, or sector-wide innovation. EPA is 
particularly interested in innovation that promotes integrated (cross-
media) environmental management and is transferable to other States.
    In 2002, EPA initiated the State Innovation Grants Program with a 
competition that asked for State project proposals that would create 
innovation in environmental permitting programs related to one of the 
Innovation Strategy's four priority environmental issues: reducing 
greenhouse gases, reducing smog, improving water quality, and ensuring 
the long-term integrity of the nations's water infrastructure. In 
addition, the solicitation encouraged projects that test incentives 
that motivate ``beyond-compliance'' environmental performance, or move 
whole sectors toward improved environmental performance. The 2002 
competition resulted in six state innovation project awards. In October 
2003, the EPA National Center for Environmental Innovation (NCEI) 
opened the 2003/2004 competition for projects to be funded in 2004. On 
April 16, 2004, EPA announced the ten projects that have been selected 
from this new competition. EPA is currently completing awards to States 
selected in that competition. For more information on last year's 
solicitation, the proposals received, and the 2003-04 award decisions, 
please see the Web site at: http://www.epa.gov/innovation/stategrants.
    Request for Input on Solicitation Topics and Priorities: Like the 
prior two solicitations, the 2004/2005 State Innovation Grant Program 
competition will seek to strengthen EPA's innovation partnership with 
States by providing a source of funding to facilitate State efforts to 
test new models for ``next generation'' environmental protection that 
will provide better environmental results, consistent with the goals of 
EPA's Innovation Strategy.
    EPA proposes to retain ``innovation in permitting'' as the general 
subject area of the upcoming solicitation as well as

[[Page 60862]]

the two specific topics under that theme from last year: (1) Support 
for development of state Environmental Results Programs (ERP); and (2) 
projects which explore the relationship between Environmental 
Management Systems (EMS) and permitting (see EPA's Strategy for 
Determining the Role of EMS in Regulatory Programs at http://
www.epa.gov/ems or http://www.epa.gov/ems/policy/EMS_and_the_Reg_
Structure_41204F.pdf). EPA believes the general subject of 
``innovation in permitting'' with specific topics of focus makes sense: 
the prior two solicitations have evidenced a great deal of innovation 
taking place in state permitting programs; and focusing on a small 
number of topics within this subject area effectively concentrates the 
limited resources available for greater strategic impact. EPA proposes 
to add a third specific topic this year to enhance the focus of 
eligible projects under the permitting subject area: development and 
implementation of incentives for environmental performance that goes 
beyond compliance as part of State leadership and recognition programs. 
These incentives and their implementation should be transferable to 
other State performance-based programs and/or the National 
Environmental Performance Track Program. In addition, EPA may 
contemplate a very small number of projects otherwise related to the 
theme of permitting. EPA is asking for State Environmental Regulatory 
Agencies and other interested parties to provide brief (about 1 
paragraph) suggestions about additional innovation topics within the 
subject of innovation in permitting for possible inclusion in the 
upcoming solicitation. EPA will continue to encourage project proposals 
that address the four priority environmental areas identified above 
(i.e., reducing greenhouse gases; reducing smog; restoring and 
maintaining water quality; reducing the cost of water and wastewater 
infrastructure) and use tools (i.e., incentives, information, 
performance measurement, etc.) highlighted in the Innovation Strategy. 
State Environmental Regulatory Agency respondents should send their 
suggestions to EPA by mail, e-mail, or fax as described in the 
ADDRESSES section above.


    Note: These grants will not be applied to the development or 
demonstration of new environmental technologies, nor will NCEI be 
looking to fund projects that have as a primary focus the upgrading 
of information technology systems. Projects would be much less 
likely to be funded through this State Innovation Grant if agency 
resources are already available through another agency program.


    Competition Limited to the State Environmental Regulatory Agency: 
The competition will be limited to the principal Environmental 
Regulatory Agency within each State, although these agencies are 
encouraged to partner with other agencies within the State that have 
environmental mandates (e.g., natural resources management, 
transportation, public health, energy). EPA will accept only one 
proposal from an individual State and it must be submitted by the 
principal Environmental Regulatory Agency from that State. States are 
also encouraged to partner with neighboring States to address cross-
boundary issues, to create networks for peer-mentoring, and States are 
particularly encouraged to consider partnering with Tribal governments 
in developing projects and proposals. A multi-state or State-Tribal 
proposal will be accepted in addition to an individual State proposal, 
but a State may appear in no more than one multi-State or State-Tribal 
proposal in addition to its individual State proposal.
    Request for State to Designate a Primary Point of Contact: EPA asks 
that each State Environmental Regulatory Agency designate as a primary 
point-of-contact, a manager who we will add to the EPA notification 
list for further announcements about the State Innovation Grant 
Program. We are asking that this name be submitted with the approval of 
the highest levels of management within an Agency (Secretary, 
Commissioner, or their deputies) within 30 days after publication of 
this notice in the FR November 12, 2004. Please submit this information 
to EPA as described in the ADDRESSES section above.
    Open Dialogue: Between now and the completion and release of the 
solicitation, States are encouraged to discuss potential projects with 
their EPA Regional contact to ascertain whether the scope of a 
potential project is suitable for funding under this program. Feel free 
to contact the appropriate Regional contact and the EPA HQ National 
Center for Environmental Innovation:

Regional Contacts

George Frantz, U.S. EPA Region I, 1 Congress Street, Suite 1100, 
Boston, MA 02114-2023, (617) 918-1883, frantz.george@epa.gov, States: 
ME, NH, VT, MA, CT, RI.
Jennifer Thatcher, U.S. EPA Region 2, 290 Broadway, 26th Floor, New 
York, NY 10007-1866, (212) 637-3593, thatcher.jennifer@epa.gov, States 
& Territories: NY, NJ, PR, VI.
Marie Holman, U.S. EPA Region 3, 1650 Arch Street (3EA40), 
Philadelphia, PA 19103, (215) 814-5463, holman.marie@epa.gov, States: 
DE, DC, MD, PA, VA, WV.
Melissa Heath, U.S. EPA Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street, SW., Atlanta, GA 
30303, (404) 562-8381, heath.melissa@epa.gov, States: AL, FL, GA, KY, 
MS, NC, SC, TN.
Marilou Martin, U.S. EPA Region 5, B-19J, 77 West Jackson Blvd., 
Chicago, IL 60604-3507, (312) 353-9660, martin.marilou@epa.gov, States: 
MN, WI, MI, IL, IN, OH.
David Bond, U.S. EPA Region 6, Fountain Place, Suite 1200, 1445 Ross 
Avenue, Dallas, TX 75202-2733, (214) 665-6431, bond.david@epa.gov, 
States: AR, LA, NM, OK, TX.
David Erickson, U.S. EPA Region 7, 901 N. 5th Street, Kansas City, KS 
66101, (913) 551-7162, erickson.david@epa.gov, States: KS, MO, NE, IA.
Whitney Trulove-Cranor, U.S. EPA Region 8 (8P-SA), 999 18th Street, 
Suite 300, Denver, CO 80202-2466, (303) 312-6099, trulove-
cranor.whitney@epa.gov, States: CO, MT, ND, SD, UT, WY.
Julie Anderson, U.S. EPA Region 9, 75 Hawthorne Street (SPE-1), San 
Francisco, CA 94105, (415) 947-4260, anderson.julie@epa.gov, States & 
Territories: CA, NV, AZ, HI, AS, GU.
Bill Glasser, U.S. EPA Region 10, 1200 Sixth Avenue (ENF-T), Seattle, 
WA 98101, 206-553-7215, glasser.william@epa.gov, States: AK, ID, OR, 
WA.

Headquarters Office

State Innovation Grants Program, National Center for Environmental 
Innovation, Office of the Administrator, U.S. EPA (MC 1807T), 1200 
Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460, (202) 566-2186, (202) 
566-2220 FAX, Innovation--State--Grants@epa.gov.

    For courier delivery only: Sherri Walker, U.S. EPA, EPA West 
Building, room 4214D, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC 
20005.
    Opportunity for Focused Pre-Competition Workshop: In addition, 
prior to this year's solicitation, we are planning to host a series of 
five ``cluster'' phone calls with sets of two EPA Regions and all of 
their States. These conference calls will enable us to offer a two-hour 
streamlined proposal development workshop to all States prior to our 
solicitation, and will allow us to answer any questions that the States 
have prior to the competition, in

[[Page 60863]]

keeping with Federal requirements that we afford assistance fairly in a 
competition process. Specific conference call logistics and grant 
resource information will be provided to each Region and the States as 
well as being posted on our Web site at http://www.epa.gov/innovation/
stategrants. We will probably conduct one conference call (workshop) 
per week, for five weeks in October, through early November 2004. 
Workshop summaries, and all other resource materials will be posted on 
the Web site at http://www.epa.gov/innovation/stategrants. Through this 
effort, we are hoping to encourage individual States (and/or State-led 
teams) to submit well-developed pre-proposals that effectively describe 
in particular how their project will achieve measurable environmental 
results.

    Dated: October 6, 2004.
Elizabeth Shaw,
Director, Office of Environmental Policy Innovation.
[FR Doc. 04-22958 Filed 10-12-04; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P