GAO: EPA’s Grants Mgmt Process Needs Improvement

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investment money exchangeThe Government Accountability Office has recommended that the Environmental Protection Agency revamp certain practices that GAO says could hinder efficient monitoring of grant programs at the EPA.

GAO said in a report published Monday it found that duplicative reporting by EPA grantees and the manual process to review grantees’ performance reports contribute to the agency’s administrative burden.

EPA awarded $3.95 billion in total grant funds, or about 49 percent of the agency’s annual budget, to various organizations during fiscal year 2015, according to the government watchdog.

Roughly $2.25 billion of the agency’s FY 2015 grant awards primarily supported water infrastructure projects at the state level “based on funding formulas prescribed by law,” the report states.

GAO said the EPA granted $1.09 billion in categorical funds noncompetitively to states and Indian tribes last fiscal year to operate environmental programs as well as provided $513 million in discretionary grants for research activities and another $9 million to drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects.

EPA officials aim to develop a web-based portal where grantees can submit documents such as performance reports to help increase consistency in reports with the environmental results directive as well as mitigate the manual review process, GAO added.