August 15, 2009

On February 17, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Pub. L. No. 111-05) (ARRA or Recovery Act) into law.  The Recovery Act provides funding for government programs that are intended to improve the environment while providing training and jobs.  The funds are being distributed widely and quickly thorough major agencies, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The EPA also developed a proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Here is a breakdown of how the EPA will be spending Recovery Act or federal stimulus dollars.  In many cases, federal monies are directed to individual states for distribution on “shovel ready” projects.

Brownfields – $100 million for job training, site assessment, revolving loans and cleanup grants, $40 million to supplement existing grants, and $5 million to job training grants.  Remediation materials must be American made.  74 Fed. Reg. 19,954 (Apr. 30, 2009).

Clean Water and Drinking Water – $4 billion for clean water projects, $2 billion for safe drinking water.  Highest funding to New York ($436,933,300), lowest to Delaware, District of Columbia, Idaho, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, South Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming ($19,433,400 each).  California receives $283,116,500.  Construction materials must be American made.  EPA Memo., ARRA 09-1 (Apr. 28, 2009).

Leaking Underground Storage Tanks – $190.7 million for “shovel-ready” sites in all states and territories (except North Dakota and America Samoa, which declined funds), $6.3 million for remediation on Native American lands, and $3 million for EPA oversight.

Superfund – $600 million to accelerate ongoing cleanup activities or initiate new construction projects at fifty Superfund sites.

National Clean Diesel Initiative – $300 million for funding assistance program, emergency technology program, SmartWay finance program, and state Clean Diesel Grant program.

And There’s More – The EPA’s FY 2010 budget includes an additional $10.5 billion for projects such as clean water infrastructure, Great Lakes initiatives, enhanced greenhouse gas programs, site remediation, air toxics, state and tribal programs, and compliance and enforcement.  EPA proposes to add thirty (30) new compliance staff.  This budget represents a 37 percent increase over the FY 2009 budget – the highest level ever for the EPA.

But Buy American – Section 1605 of the Recovery Act prohibits the use of Recovery Act funds for projects involving “the construction, alteration, maintenance or repair of a public building or public work unless all of the iron, steel, and manufactured goods used in the project are produced in the United States” unless certain specified exceptions apply.  OMB has issued regulations at Subpart B of 2 C.F.R. pt. 276 implementing the Recovery Act Buy American provision.  For guidance, seehttp://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-9073.pdf.

What is the schedule for implementation for the Recovery Act?

  • Feb. 19, 2009 – Recovery Act signed into law.
  • Mar. 3, 2009 – Federal agencies begin reporting on use of funds.
  • May 18, 2009 – President reports to Congress on use of funds under NEPA.
  • July 15, 2009 – Recipients begin reporting on use of funds.

One of the features of the Recovery Act is transparency.  For information on Recovery Act online resources please see the following links:

Home Page for Recovery Act

www.recovery.gov

Brownfields Programs under the Recovery Act

www.epa.gov/brownfields/eparecovery/index.htm

Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds

www.epa.gov/water/eparecovery/

Superfund Sites Receiving Recovery Act Funding

www.epa.gov/superfund/eparecovery/sites.html

Leaking Underground Storage Tank Implementation of the Recovery Act

www.epa.gov/swerust1/eparecovery/index.htm

Recovery Act Funding for the National Clean Diesel Campaign

http://epa.gov/otaq/eparecovery/

Recovery Act Implementation by Department of Energy

www.energy.gov/recovery/indes.htm

Recovery Act Implementation by the Department of the Interior

http://recovery.doi.gov/

Details of EPA’s 2010 Budget

www.epa.gov/budget/2010/2010bib.pdf

For information on exactly how Recovery Act monies will be spent in Minnesota please go to:http://www.mmb.state.mn.us/multisites/recovery/home.

The experienced environmental lawyers at Hessian & McKasy’s Environmental Law Attorney Practice Group track developments at the federal, state and local levels that affect our clients.

The views expressed here are my own and do not reflect the views of my employer, Hessian & McKasy. P.A.

 

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