EPA Announces Details of Allocations of FY 2016 Grant Programs

April 6, 2016 – EPA announced details about two state and local agency grant provisions included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, which was adopted on December 18, 2015 and included funding for the federal government for the remainder of the FY 2016 fiscal year (ending September 30, 2016).  First, EPA outlined how it will distribute the $21-million Multipurpose Grants to States and Tribes ($20.8 million after the rescission), which Congress included in the final appropriations bill.  A total of $19.8 million from the multipurpose grants will be made available to states, local agencies and territories, of which 65 percent ($12.9 million) is specifically set aside “to support core air regulatory work, such as National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) implementation, including designations and State Implementation Plans (SIPs), Clean Air Act permitting, and state-led activities to address climate change.”  The remaining 35 percent of the $19.8 million will be available for other high-priority activities identified by states.  Distribution to states and territories will be based on several factors, including the number of Clean Air Act major source permits and the agency’s share of total EPA categorical grants.  The final $1 million is available to tribes for water quality work.  Second, pursuant to Congress’s mandate in the appropriations bill that EPA allocate Section 105 grants according to an updated formula, EPA is proposing its allocation of FY 2016 grants to the regions using a revised formula.  The new allocation scheme uses a methodology developed in 2010 and relies on updated inputs to account for current population and air quality data.  EPA notes that the FY 2016 figures are the first step in a phased process for transitioning from the previous allocation to a more updated formula.  Because the fiscal year is half over, however, EPA decided to apply mitigation measures to limit disruption to state and local agency programs. Specifically, regions that were slated to receive additional resources under the revised methodology will receive “modest gains,” while regions calculated to receive less will be held at FY 2015 levels.  EPA will take comments on the proposed FY 2016 allocation until April 20, 2016.