The Solution to Dwindling Tribal Environmental Funds
By Jillian Neimeister on January 20, 2021
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded over $985 million from Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 to 2019 to directly help tribes continue preventing pollution and protecting natural resources. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), this funding has dwindled or remained stagnant in recent years.
Despite the struggle for funds, these environmental initiatives are more vital than ever to tribes. Luckily, there is a solution for tribes to address the current funding gaps – Performance Partnership Grants (PPGs). For more funding flexibility, tribes may utilize a PPG.
What are PPGs?
When a tribe receives financial assistance from the EPA to develop or implement environmental programs, they most often receive these funds in individual environmental program categorical grants. To streamline administrative requirements, gain more flexibility on where they direct resources, and more easily fund efforts across program boundaries, tribes may combine these categorical environmental grants into one PPG.
The EPA further details this type of grant, stating, “States and tribes can also choose to combine funds from multiple federal environmental program grants into Performance Partnership Grants (PPGs) which allow them to direct resources where they are needed most or try innovative solutions to environmental problems.”
Through PPGS, tribes have not only been able to dedicate EPA funds to fixing looming environmental problems, but they have also been able to reduce costs.
How can tribes receive PPGs?
To receive a PPG, tribes need to develop it through joint negotiations with the appropriate EPA Regional Office and request application forms from the appropriate EPA Regional Grants Management Office. The appropriate EPA Regional Office will then review the application for a possible award from the Regional Administrator.
For more details on best practices and procedures, the EPA released an extensive guide to PPGS, including what grants are eligible for inclusion, what activities are eligible for this form of funding, and how to implement them.
It is important for tribes to remember that PPGS have the same reporting and accountability requirements as categorical grants.
What can tribes expect from PPGs in the coming years?
In October 2020, the GAO put forth five recommendations to the EPA for clarifying and improving PPG guidelines and procedures. If the EPA heeds these recommendations, tribes will have an updated list of PPG-eligible grants, additional clarification on PPG operations, and more robust materials on grant management best practices.
Want to learn how Grant Management Software can help your tribe achieve better results from your grants? Check out AmpliFund’s page on tribal nation grants.