Here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions from our community about the EPA Technical Assistance Grant program.
What is a Technical Assistance Grant (TAG)?
The EPA’s Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) program provides money to community groups so they can pay for a technical advisor to interpret and explain technical reports, site conditions, and EPA’s proposed cleanup proposals and decisions.
The community group, NOT the EPA, interviews and hires the technical advisor. This advisor can help the community gain leverage by providing technical expertise on complex issues about the site and cleanup. The advisor reports to the community.
The money for a TAG comes from the EPA. For sites where the polluter is known (in this case, CTS Corporation), the EPA can usually force the responsible polluter to reimburse the government for this expense.
Why is a group in our community applying for a TAG?
POWER Action Group is applying for TAG funds in order to achieve a better understanding of the technical issues surrounding the CTS of Asheville site. Being able to hire a technical advisor will help POWER and the community become educated on methodologies and technical factors surrounding cleanup decisions that affect us. This knowledge will give the community a stronger voice in steering the direction of the cleanup.
What can and can’t the money from a TAG be used for?
TAG funds are primarily for hiring a technical advisor and educating community members about health and environmental issues related to the site.
TAG money cannot be used for lawsuits, to purchase independent testing equipment, to generate new data, or to challenge EPA final decisions. EPA decisions CAN certainly be challenged, but these challenges cannot be funded with TAG monies.
Stipulations associated with TAG funding can be found here.
Will accepting TAG funding prevent POWER or the community from standing up to EPA decisions we feel are not protective enough of community health?
Accepting the grant does not keep POWER or community members from criticizing or challenging EPA or CTS conclusions as they relate to the site. We are likewise free to choose other mechanisms to put pressure on the agency or company in order to ensure a swift cleanup and justice for our neighbors.
By educating ourselves and having a community-hired expert work independently on the side of the community, we’re better equipped to become familiar with the weaknesses of the cleanup plans, and how best to recommend alternatives.