[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 134 (Wednesday, July 13, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 41293-41297]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-17604]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Indian Affairs


Solicitation of Proposals for Technical Assistance Funding From 
the Native American Business Development Institute

AGENCY: Bureau of Indian Affairs, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development (IEED), 
through its Native American Business Development Institute (NABDI), is 
soliciting proposals from federally recognized American Indian tribes 
for technical assistance funding to hire consultants to perform 
feasibility studies of economic development opportunities or long-term, 
strategic, reservation-wide economic development plans. These 
feasibility studies will empower American Indian tribes and tribal 
businesses to make informed decisions regarding their economic futures. 
Feasibility studies may concern the viability of an economic 
development project or business or the practicality of a technology a 
tribe may choose to pursue. The IEED will use a competitive evaluation 
process to select several proposed projects to receive an award.

DATES: Submit grant proposals on or before August 12, 2011. We will not 
consider grant proposals received after this date.

ADDRESSES: Mail or hand-carry grant proposals to the Department of the 
Interior, Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development, Attention: 
Victor Christiansen, 1951 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 
20245, or e-mail at Victor.Christiansen@bia.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Victor Christiansen (202) 219-0739.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

A. Background
B. Items to Consider Before Preparing an Application for NABDI 
Technical Assistance Funding.
C. How to Prepare an Application for NABDI Technical Assistance 
Funding
D. Submission of Application in Digital Format
E. Application Evaluation and Administrative Information
F. When to Submit
G. Where to Submit
H. Transfer of Funds
I. Reporting Requirements for Award Recipients
J. Requests for IEED Assistance

A. Background

    The IEED established NABDI to provide technical assistance funding 
on a competitive basis to federally recognized American Indian tribes 
seeking to retain consultants to perform feasibility studies of 
economic development opportunities or long-term, strategic, 
reservation-wide economic development plans. Consultants may include 
universities and colleges, private consulting firms, non-academic/non-
profit entities, or others. The feasibility studies will empower 
American Indian tribes and tribal businesses to make informed decisions 
regarding their economic futures. Feasibility studies may concern the 
viability of an economic development project or business or the 
practicality of a technology a tribe may choose to pursue.
    This is an annual program whose primary objective is to create jobs 
and foster economic activity within tribal communities. When funding is 
available, IEED will solicit proposals for feasibility studies and 
reservation-wide economic development plans. To receive these funds, 
tribes may use the contracting mechanism established by Public Law 93-
638, the Indian Self-Determination Act or may obtain adjustments to 
their funding from the Office of Self-Governance. See 25 U.S.C. 450 et 
seq.
    The NABDI program is funded under the non-recurring appropriation 
of the Bureau of Indian Affairs' (BIA) budget. Congress appropriates 
funds on a year-to-year basis. Thus, while some projects may extend 
over several years, funding for successive years depends on each fiscal 
year's appropriations.
    The information collection requirements contained in this notice 
have been reviewed and approved by the Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3504(h). The OMB 
control number is 1076-0178. The authorization expires on July 31, 
2014. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and you are not required to 
respond to, any information collection that does not display a 
currently valid OMB Control Number.

B. Items To Consider Before Preparing an Application for NABDI 
Technical Assistance Funding

1. Trust Land Status

    The NABDI technical assistance funding can only be made available 
to tribes whose lands are held in trust or restricted fee by the 
Federal government.

2. Tribes' Compliance History

    The EED will monitor all NABDI technical assistance funding for 
statutory and regulatory compliance to assure that awarded funds are 
correctly applied to approved projects. Tribes that expend funds on 
unapproved functions may forfeit remaining funds in that proposal year, 
and possibly for any future NABDI technical assistance funding. 
Consequently, IEED may request a tribe to provide a summary of any 
funds it has received in past years through other projects approved by 
IEED, and IEED may conduct a review of prior award expenditures before 
making a decision on current year proposals.

3. BIA Sanction List

    Tribes that are currently under BIA sanction resulting from non-
compliance with the Single Audit Act may be ineligible from being 
considered for an award.

4. Completion of Previous NABDI Technical Assistance Projects

    Generally, the IEED will not support nor recommend additional 
funding for a

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project until all project functions scheduled for completion the 
previous year have been documented by the tribe and reviewed by the 
IEED.
    Under some circumstances, delays encountered in performing the 
project that are beyond the control of the tribe or their consultant 
will be taken into consideration when making decisions on future year 
NABDI technical assistance awards. Such acceptable delays may include 
late delivery of funding awards to the tribal project, difficulty in 
finding appropriate contractors to perform project functions, 
permitting issues, and weather delays.

5. Multiple Projects

    The IEED will accept more than one application from a tribe for 
projects, even if the project concerns the same economic development 
project, business, or technology. For example, a tribe is interested in 
building and developing a business park on their trust lands could 
apply for a feasibility study of the business potential the park might 
generate as well as a business plan on how to market the park. In this 
situation, two separate proposals can be submitted. The IEED will apply 
the same objective ranking criteria to each proposal.

6. Multi-Year Projects

    The IEED cannot award multi-year funding for a project. Funding 
available for the NABDI technical assistance is subject to annual 
appropriations by Congress and therefore, IEED can only consider 
single-year funded projects. Generally, the feasibility studies of 
economic development opportunities or long-term, strategic, 
reservation-wide economic development plans for which NABDI technical 
assistance funding is available are designed to be completed in one 
year. It is acceptable that a project may require more than one year to 
complete due to circumstances such as weather, availability of the 
consultant, or scope of the project.
    The IEED projects requiring funding beyond one-year intervals 
should be grouped into discrete, single-year units of operation, and 
then submitted as individual proposals for consideration of IEED award 
funding. Tribes must be aware, however, that there is no guarantee of 
NABDI technical assistance awards being available for future years of a 
multi-year project due to the discretionary nature of NABDI technical 
assistance funding.

7. Use of Existing Data

    The IEED maintains a comprehensive set of tribal data and 
information. The IEED has spent considerable time and expense in 
collecting digital land grids, geographic information system data and 
imagery data for many reservations. Monthly well status and production 
data, geophysical data (such as seismic data), geology and engineering 
data, etc. are all stored at IEED's offices. All of these data sets 
particular to that tribe are available to a tribe to reduce the cost of 
its investigations.
    Budget line items will not be allowed for data or products that 
reside at IEED. The tribe or the tribe's consultant must first check 
with IEED for availability of these data sets on the reservation they 
are investigating. If IEED does not have a particular data set, then 
NABDI technical assistance funds may be used to acquire such data.
    When a proposal includes the acquisition of new data, the tribe 
should thoroughly search for preexisting data to ensure there is no 
duplication. If older data does exist, it may have considerable value. 
It may be updated or improved upon, either by IEED or by the tribe's 
consultant.

8. Using Technical Services at IEED

    The IEED has many in-house technical capabilities and services that 
the tribes may wish to use. All services provided by IEED are without 
charge to the tribes. Tribes can obtain maximum benefit from 
feasibility studies of economic development opportunities or long-term, 
strategic, reservation-wide economic development plans by first using 
IEED 's services, or by using IEED services in conjunction with the 
outside consultants. Services available at IEED include:
     Marketing studies.

9. What the NABDI Technical Assistance Funding Cannot Fund

    As stated above, these funds are specifically for technical 
assistance for only the following: feasibility studies of economic 
development opportunities or long-term, strategic, reservation-wide 
economic development plans. Examples of elements that cannot be funded 
include:
     Establishing or operating a tribal office, and/or purchase 
of office equipment not specific to the assessment project. Tribal 
salaries may be included only if the personnel are directly involved in 
the project and only for the duration of the project;
     Indirect costs and overhead as defined by the Federal 
Acquisition Regulation;
     Purchase of equipment that is used to develop the 
feasibility studies or economic development plans, such as computers, 
vehicles, field gear, etc. (however, the leasing of this type of 
equipment for the purpose of developing feasibility studies or economic 
development plans is allowed);
     Legal fees;
     Application fees associated with permitting;
     Research and development of unproved technologies;
     Training;
     Contracted negotiation fees;
     Purchase of data that is available through IEED; and
     Any other activities not authorized by the tribal 
resolution or by the award letter.

10. Who performs feasibility studies or economic plans?

    The tribe determines who they wish to perform the feasibility 
studies or economic development plans. A tribe has several choices in 
who to retain, including but not limited to the following:
     Universities and colleges;
     Private consulting firms; or
     Non-academic, non-profit entities.
    There are no requirements or restrictions on how the tribe performs 
their contracting function for the consultant. The tribe is free to 
issue the contract through a sole source selection or through 
competitive bidding. This determination will depend on the tribe's own 
policies for contracting procedures. However, IEED may weigh the 
technical qualifications of the consultant(s) chosen by a tribal 
applicant in determining, on a competitive basis, whether funding will 
be provided.

C. How To Prepare an Application for NABDI Technical Assistance Funding

    Each tribe's application must meet the criteria in this notice. A 
complete NABDI funding request must contain the following three 
components:
     A current tribal resolution requesting funding;
     A statement of work describing the project for which the 
feasibility study is requested or the scope of the plan anticipated;
     A budget indicating the funding amount requested and how 
it will be spent; and
     A description of the consultant(s) the Tribe wishes to 
retain including the consultant's technical expertise, training, 
qualifications, and suitability to undertake the feasibility study or 
prepare a long-term, reservation-wide economic development plan.
    The IEED will consider any funding request that does not contain 
all of the mandatory components to be incomplete and will return it to 
the tribe with an explanation. The tribe will then

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be allowed to correct all deficiencies and resubmit the proposal for 
consideration on or before the deadline.
    A detailed description of each of the required components follows.

1. Mandatory Component 1: Tribal Resolution

    The tribal resolution must be current, and must be signed. It must 
authorize the tribal request for NABDI technical assistance funding in 
the same fiscal year as that of the statement of work and must 
explicitly refer to the statement of work being submitted. The tribal 
resolution must also include:
    (a) A description of the feasibility studies or economic 
development plan to be developed;
    (b) A statement that the tribe is willing to consider implementing 
the economic opportunities or economic development plan developed using 
the technical assistance funding;
    (c) A statement describing how the tribe plans to retain 
consultants;
    (d) A statement that the tribe will consider public release of 
information obtained from the feasibility studies or economic 
development plan. (Public release is meant to include publications, a 
poster session, attending a property fair, or giving an oral 
presentation at industry or Federal meetings and conferences. It does 
not mean providing copies of the data or reports to any individual, 
private company or other government agency without express written 
permission from the tribal government.)

    Note: Any information in the possession of IEED or submitted to 
IEED throughout the NABDI funding process constitutes government 
records and may be subject to disclosure to third parties under the 
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552, and the Department 
of the Interior's FOIA regulations at 43 CFR Part 2, unless a FOIA 
exemption or exception applies or other provisions of law protect 
the information. A tribe may, but is not required to, designate 
information it submits as confidential commercially or financially 
sensitive information, as applicable, in any submissions it makes 
throughout the NABDI funding process. If IEED receives a FOIA 
request for this information, it will follow the procedures in 43 
CFR Part 2.

2. Mandatory Component 2: Statement of Work

    A tribe may present the statement of work in any form they wish, so 
long as the statement of work describes the project for which the 
feasibility study is requested or the scope of the plan anticipated 
within the fiscal year for which funding is being requested. The 
statement of work should be well organized, contain as much detail as 
possible, yet be presented succinctly to allow a quick and thorough 
understanding of the proposal by the IEED ranking team.
    Many tribes utilize the services of a private consultant to prepare 
the technical part of the statement of work. However, some tribes may 
not have these resources and therefore, are urged to seek IEED's 
assistance in preparing their statement of work. Tribes who want 
assistance from IEED should make this request in writing to the address 
provided in the ADDRESSES section of this notice. The request should be 
made as early as possible to give IEED time to provide the assistance.
    The statement of work should include the following sections:
    (a) Overview and Technical Summary of the Work: Prepare a short 
summary overview of the work to be contracted for that includes the 
following:

--Elements of the proposed study or plan;
--Reasons why the proposed study or plan is needed;
--Total anticipated funding; and
--A tribal point of contact for the project and contact information.

    (b) Technical Summary of Project: Provide a technical description 
of the project area, if sufficient information exists. Give examples of 
a typical economic opportunity to be examined under the proposal. If 
possible, include criteria applicable to these types of resource 
occurrences.
     Existing Information: Acknowledge any existing economic 
development information and provide references. The proposed new study 
should not duplicate previous work.
     Environmental or Cultural Sensitive Areas: Describe and 
verify if the resources are located in an archeological, 
environmentally or culturally sensitive area of the reservation. The 
tribe must also assist IEED with the Environmental Assessment phase of 
the proposed project.
    (c) Project Objective, Goals and Scope of Work: Describe why the 
tribe needs the work to be contracted for. Examples may include:
     Discussion of the short and long term benefits to the 
tribe.
     Identification of an economic opportunity for possible 
development.
     Additional information regarding the economic opportunity 
required for tribal decisionmaking commitments.
     Description of the location of the reservation and focused 
areas for economic development, if any. Include relevant page size maps 
and graphs.
    (d) Deliverable Products: Describe all deliverable products that 
the consultant is expected to generate, including interim deliverables, 
such as status reports and technical data to be obtained, and final 
deliverables, such as the feasibility study or economic development 
plan. Describe any maps to be generated, including their types, 
proposed scales, and how they will help define economic opportunities.
    (e) Resumes of Key Personnel: If available, provide the resumes of 
key consultants to be retained. The resumes should provide information 
on each individual's expertise. If subcontractors are used, these 
should also be disclosed.

3. Mandatory Component 3: Detailed Budget Estimate

    A detailed budget estimate is required for the funding level 
requested. The detail not only provides the tribe with an estimate of 
costs, but it also provides IEED with the means of evaluating the cost-
benefit of each project. This line-by-line budget must fully detail all 
projected and anticipated expenditures under the NABDI technical 
assistance proposal. The ranking committee reviews each budget estimate 
to determine whether the budget is reasonable and can produce the 
results outlined under the proposal.
    Each proposed project function should have a separate budget. The 
budget should break out contract and consulting fees, fieldwork, lab 
and testing fees, travel and all other relevant project expenses. 
Preparation of the budget portion of a NABDI proposal should be 
considered a top priority. NABDI proposals that include sound budget 
projections will receive a more favorable ranking over those proposals 
that fail to provide appropriate budget projections.
    The budget page(s) should provide a comprehensive breakdown for 
those project line items that involve several components, or contain 
numerous sub-functions.
    (a) Contracted Personnel Costs. This includes all contracted 
personnel and consultants, their respective positions and time (staff-
hour) allocations for the proposed functions of a project.
     Personnel funded under the Public Law 93-638 NABDI program 
must have documented professional qualifications necessary to perform 
the work. Position descriptions or resumes should be attached to the 
budget estimate.
     If a consultant is to be hired for a fixed fee, the 
consultant's expenses should be itemized as part of the project budget.
     Consultant fees must be accompanied by documentation that 
clearly identifies the qualifications of the proposed consultants, how 
the

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consultant(s) are to be used, and a line item breakdown of costs 
associated with each consultant activity.
    (b) Travel Estimates. Estimates should be itemized by airfare, 
vehicle rental, lodging, and per diem, based on the current federal 
government per diem schedule.
    (c) Data Collection and Analysis Costs. These costs should be 
itemized in sufficient detail for the reviewer to evaluate the charges.
    (d) Other Expenses. Include computer rental, report generation, 
drafting, and advertising costs for a proposed project.

D. Submission of Application in Digital Format

    Submit the application, including the budget pages, in digital 
form. IEED will return proposals that are submitted without the digital 
components.
    Acceptable formats are Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat PDF on 
compact disks (CDs) or floppy disks. The budget must be submitted in a 
Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.
    Each file must be saved with a filename that clearly identifies the 
file being submitted. File name extensions must clearly indicate the 
software application used in preparing the documents (e.g., doc, .pdf).
    Documents that require an original signature, such as cover 
letters, tribal resolutions, and other letters of tribal authorization 
can be submitted in hard copy (paper) form.
    If you have any additional questions concerning the NABDI program 
proposal submission process, please contact Victor Christiansen at 202-
219-0739.

E. Application Evaluation and Administrative Information

1. Administrative Review

    Upon receiving an application, IEED will determine whether it 
contains the mandatory components listed above and does not duplicate 
or overlap previous or current funded NABDI technical assistance 
projects.
    IEED staff may return an application that does not include all 
information and documentation required within this notice. During the 
review of a proposal, IEED may request the submission of additional 
information.

2. Ranking Criteria

    Proposals will be formally evaluated by a Review and Ranking Panel 
using the six criteria listed below. Each criterion provides a 
percentage of the total maximum rating of 100 points.
    (a) Economic Opportunity Potential; 10 points. If the economic 
opportunity is patently not feasible, then the proposal will be 
rejected. The panel will base their scoring on both the information 
provided by the tribe and databases maintained by IEED. It is critical 
that the tribe attempt to provide all pertinent information in their 
proposal in order to ensure that an accurate review of the proposal is 
accomplished.
    (b) Marketability of the Opportunity; 20 points. Reviewers will 
base their scoring on both the short- and long-term market conditions 
of the economic opportunity. Reviewers are aware that marketability 
depends upon existing and emerging market conditions. Reviewers are 
aware of pitfalls surrounding long-term market forecasts, so the 
proposal should address this element fully. The potential for improving 
markets may be suggested by market indicators. Examples of market 
indicators include price history, prices from the futures markets, 
fundamental factors like supply shortages, and changes in technology.
    (c) Economic Benefits Produced by the Project; 35 points. To 
receive a high score for this ranking criterion, the proposal should 
clearly state how the project would achieve economic benefits for the 
tribe with an emphasis on reservation job creation.
    (d) Tribes' Willingness to Implement; 10 points; The tribe's 
willingness to consider implementing any recommendations resulting from 
the feasibility studies or economic development plan must be clearly 
stated in the proposal and the tribal resolution. Note that this is not 
a statement for mandatory implementation, but just that the tribe is 
willing to implement. The decision on whether to implement will always 
lie with the tribe. The willingness-to-implement statement should 
sufficiently explain how the tribe intends to accomplish this task.
    (e) Tribal Commitment to the Project; 25 points: To receive a high 
score for this criterion, the tribe should explain how it will 
participate in the technical assistance, such as by appointing a 
designated lead and contact person (especially a person with some 
knowledge of the technical aspects of economic opportunities, and 
direct contact with the tribe's natural resource department and tribal 
council), to be committed to the successful completion of the project.

3. Ranking of Proposals and Award Letters

    The Review and Ranking Panel will rank the NABDI technical 
assistance proposals using the selection criteria outlined in this 
section. The committee will then forward the rated requests to the 
Director of the IEED (Director) for approval. Once approved, the 
Director will submit all proposals to the Assistant Secretary--Indian 
Affairs for concurrence and announcement of awards to those selected 
tribes, via written notice. Those tribes not receiving an award will 
also be notified immediately in writing.

F. When To Submit

    IEED will accept applications at any time before the deadline 
stated in the DATES section of this notice, and will send a 
notification of receipt to the return address on the application 
package, along with a determination of whether or not the application 
is complete. IEED will not consider grant proposals after this date. A 
date-stamped receipt of submission by the BIA Regional or Agency-level 
office on or before the announced deadline will also be acceptable.

G. Where To Submit

    Submit the NABDI technical assistance proposals to IEED at the 
address listed in the ADDRESSES section of this notice. Applicants 
should also forward a copy of their proposal to their own BIA Agency 
and Regional offices.
    A tribe may fax the cover letter and resolution for the proposal 
before the deadline, which will guarantee that the proposal will be 
considered as being received on time. However, IEED asks that tribes or 
consultants do not send the entire proposal via fax, as this severely 
overloads the fax system.
    The cover letter should also state that the proposal is being sent 
via FedEx or mail. An original signature copy must be received in 
IEED's office within 5 working days after the deadline, including all 
signed tribal resolutions and letters of tribal authorization.
    The BIA Regional or Agency level offices receiving a tribe's 
submitted NABDI technical assistance proposal do not have to forward it 
on to IEED. It is meant to inform them of a tribe's intent to retain 
consultants using NABDI technical assistance funding. The BIA Regional 
or Agency offices are free to comment on the tribe's proposal, or to 
ask IEED for other information.

H. Transfer of Funds

    The IEED will transfer a tribe's NABDI technical assistance award 
funds to the BIA Regional Office that serves that tribe, via a sub-
allotment funding document coded for the tribe's project. The tribe 
should anticipate the transfer and be in contact with budget personnel 
at the Regional and Agency office levels. Tribes receiving NABDI awards 
must

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establish a new 638 contract to complete the transfer process, or use 
an existing 638 contract, as applicable.

I. Reporting Requirements for Award Recipients

2. Final Reporting Requirements

     Delivery Schedules. The tribe must deliver all products 
and data generated by the proposed NABDI technical assessment project 
to IEED's office within two weeks after completion of the project.
     Mandatory Requirement to Provide Products and Data in 
Digital Form. The IEED requires that deliverable products be provided 
in digital format, along with printed hard copies. Reports can be 
provided in either Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat PDF format. 
Spreadsheet data can be provided in Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, 
or Adobe PDF formats. All vector figures should be converted to PDF 
format. Raster images can be provided in PDF, JPEG, TIFF, or any of the 
Windows metafile formats.
     Number of Copies. When a tribe prepares the contract for 
economic development feasibility studies or an economic development 
plan, it must describe the deliverable products and include a 
requirement that the products be prepared in standard format (see 
format description above). Each contract will provide funding for a 
total of six printed and six digital copies to be distributed as 
follows:
    (a) The tribe will receive two printed and two digital copies of 
the final deliverable.
    (b) The IEED requires four printed copies and four digital copies 
of the final deliverable. The IEED will transmit one of these copies to 
the tribe's BIA Regional Office, and one copy to the tribe's BIA Agency 
office. Two printed and two digital copies will then reside with IEED.
    All products generated by the consultant belong to the tribe and 
cannot be released to the public without the tribe's written approval. 
Products include, but are not limited to, all reports and technical 
data obtained maps and cross sections, status reports, and the final 
report.

J. Requests for IEED Assistance

    The IEED staff may provide technical consultation (i.e., work 
directly with tribal staff or the consultant on a proposed project), 
provide support documentation and data, provide written language on 
specialized sections of the proposal, and suggest ways a tribe may 
retain consultants specializing in a particular area of expertise. 
However, the tribe is responsible for preparing the executive summary, 
justification, and scope of work for their proposal.
    The tribe must notify IEED in writing that they require assistance, 
and IEED will then appoint staff to provide the requested assistance. 
The tribe's request must clearly specify the type of assistance 
desired.
    Requests for assistance should be submitted well in advance of the 
proposal deadline established in the DATES section of this solicitation 
to allow IEED staff time to provide the appropriate assistance. Tribes 
not seeking assistance should also attempt to submit their NABDI 
proposals well in advance of the deadline to allow IEED staff time to 
review the proposals for possible deficiencies and allow time to 
contact the tribe with requests for revisions to the initial 
submission.

    Dated: May 31, 2011.
Paul Tsosie,
Chief of Staff, Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs.
[FR Doc. 2011-17604 Filed 7-12-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-4M-P