By Jerry Brant
The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) has announced the opening of the Pipeline Safety Information Grants to Communities — Technical Assistance Grants Application.
The application period will remain open until 11:59 p.m., January 18, 2010. The program is administered by the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) of USDOT. Eligible applicants are local governments and non-profit organizations.
If your community is faced with hazardous material pipeline issues you should consider applying for this funding opportunity. The PHMSA Funding Opportunity Number is DTPH56-10-SN-0002.
The program will provide grants of up to $50,000 for technical assistance in the form of engineering or other scientific analysis of pipeline safety issues.
Grant funds may also be used for public information and education programs related to pipeline safety and to encourage public involvement in official proceedings. Grants do not require a local match. There is a 12-month period of performance for grant activities.
If you are interested in applying you must be registered with www.grants.gov to access the program application. If you are not currently enrolled in the system and you anticipate applying for this opportunity then I suggest that you should do so immediately. In the past, some applicants to this process have experienced delays in being able to access the appropriate grant application.
The application will include: applicant background information, a project narrative, a detailed project budget, a budget narrative and a two-page project detail that addresses pipeline safety concerns as detailed in the evaluation criteria. Your project detail statement should include information on how your program will improve performance and safety over time in areas such as engineering, damage prevention, land use, public education, emergency response and community awareness.
PHMSA will conduct an initial administrative review of each submitted application to determine if it is complete and meets the eligibility requirements.A panel composed of representatives from damage prevention, emergency response and public advocacy stakeholder groups will review and evaluate each completed application that meets the eligibility requirements. PHMSA will award grants based on the recommendations of the review panel.
PHMSA will give priority to projects that target high-risk areas; offer well-defined plans; foster open communication with a local community and/or affected pipeline operators; and produce results that are measurable and transferable to other communities and/or technology development.
The evaluation criteria are as follows:
1.) The extent to which the applicant's project scope is focused on areas where a pipeline failure could pose a significant risk to people or to unusually sensitive environmental areas
2.) The extent to which the proposed project scope demonstrates an understanding of the specific concern the applicant wishes to address, as well as the range of risks affected pipelines pose to the affected geographic area and the risks the community poses to the pipelines
3.) The extent to which the proposal demonstrates the applicant's experience with and commitment to open communication with affected operators and to partnerships with other key members of the community
4.) The extent to which the applicant's project is designed to improve performance and safety over time in areas such as engineering, damage prevention, land use, public education, emergency response, and community awareness
5.) The extent to which the applicant's project plan establishes clear goals, objectives, milestones, and estimates of project costs
6.) The extent to which the applicant has a plan for evaluating and disseminating results
7.) The extent to which the applicant's project scope provides the potential for learning or technology transfer to other groups and communities
In addition, PHMSA expects the proposed results of the projects to be factual, unbiased, verifiable, and repeatable to the extent practicable. PHMSA expects to announce successful applicants by the end of March 2010.