Scheme Nickname: 
Adjudication of grant-related disputes/enforcement actions

Informal process for adjudication of most pre-award and post-award assistance agreement (e.g., grant, cooperative agreement) disputes or enforcement actions by EPA (except competitive assistance agreements) involving governmental entities, colleges, hospitals, and other non-profit entities receiving agency monies. Enforcement actions may range from temporary withholding of payments to suspension or termination. (See 40 CFR Part 30 & Part 31, Subpart F).

These uniform administrative requirements and enforcement procedures are applicable to a wide range of EPA grants/agreements, including: environmental program grants to state/local/tribal governments (e.g., construction of water treatment works; protection and restoration of publicly-owned freshwater lakes; establishment of state revolving funds for water pollution control, drinking water, or Superfund actions) (Part 35); research and demonstration grants (Part 40); training assistance (Part 45); and, National Environmental Eduction Act grants (Part 47).

Comments/Notes on Adjudication Structure: 
The adjudicators serving as the "Disputes Decision Official" (DDO) and "Review Official" depends on the locus of the challenged agency decision. EPA Headquarters officials serve as adjudicators on cases arising from agreements awarded by a Headquarters program office. For assistance agreements awarded at the regional level, adjudicators are EPA regional officials. EPA regulations provide that grant-related "[disagreements should be resolved at the lowest level possible." (40 CFR 31.70(a)).
Types of Adjudication: 
Type B
Resources & Articles: 
EPA, Changes to Dispute Resolution Procedures - Interim Final Rule, 79 Fed. Reg. 4403 (Jan. 28, 2014)
OMB, Uniform Requirements for Federal Awards - Final Guidance, 78 Fed. Reg. 78608 (Dec. 26, 2013)
Distinctive Features: 
Other Comments: 
*New OMB Uniform Guidance - OMB published revised uniform guidance for federal awards in December 2013. (See 2 CFR Part 200.) Agencies must implement the policies and procedures in this new guidance by promulgating their own revised rules by December 2014. (2 CFR 200.110) *New EPA Dispute Resolution Rule: EPA promulgated an Interim Final Rule in January 2014 that revised its dispute resolution procedures for grant disputes. (See cite in Resources section.) EPA noted that the new rule is intended to "streamline" the adjudication process by establishing timelines, specifying the contents of the administrative record, and eliminating petitions for discretionary review by EPA Assistant Administrators. (See 79 Fed. Reg. at 4404). It also appears (though not mentioned in the preamble to the interim final rule) that the new rule also eliminates the opportunity/potential for an oral "informal conference" with the DDO. (Compare 40 CFR 31.70(e)-(f) (2013) with 40 CFR 31.74)
Verified by Agency: 
Not verified
Is this a Major Adjudication: