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        An official website of the United States government.

        National Environmental Performance Partnership System (NEPPS)

        About NEPPS

        EPA, states, and tribes share responsibility for protecting human health and the environment. The unique relationship between EPA, states, and tribes is the cornerstone of the nation's environmental protection system. Working together, EPA, states, and tribes have made enormous progress protecting our air, water, and land resources.

        Since 1995, EPA and states have been implementing?the National Environmental Performance Partnership System?(NEPPS). NEPPS is a performance-based system of environmental protection designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of EPA partnerships with states, territories, and tribes. By focusing resources on the most pressing environmental problems and taking advantage of the unique capacities of each partner, performance partnerships can help achieve the greatest environmental and human health protection.

        Performance?Partnership Agreements and Grants

        One of the main ways EPA and states implement performance partnerships is by negotiating Performance Partnership Agreements (PPAs). These agreements set out jointly-developed priorities and protection strategies and how EPA and the state or tribe will work together to address priority needs. 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.?

        PPAs should have a strong underpinning of strategic thinking based on:?

        • An assessment of environmental conditions and program implementation needs;??
        • Analysis of approaches and tools that are?most likely to bring about the greatest environmental results; and
        • Jointly developed goals and priorities that are?translated into plans at the operational level.?

        Joint planning opportunities exist for all states and tribes, even those that do not negotiate formal PPAs with their EPA regional offices. ?In these cases, the goals and priorities are articulated in grant work plans or other agreements.

        EPA provides financial assistance to states and tribes to help them develop and implement environmental programs. For many years,?states and tribes wanted greater flexibility?in how they use and manage the grant funds they receive from EPA. In 1996, Congress responded by authorizing EPA to award? PPGs. States,?certain interstate agencies, and tribes can now choose to combine two or more environmental program grants into a single PPG.?

        With PPGs, states and tribes can:

        • Reduce administrative costs?through streamlined paperwork and accounting procedures;
        • Direct EPA grant funds to priority environmental problems?or program needs; and
        • Try multi-media approaches?and initiatives that were difficult to fund under traditional categorical grants.

        The map and table below display which states have a PPA and/or PPG.?

        Color-coded map of states with PPAs and/or PPGs

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        State Entities with Performance Partnerships
        State PPG PPA
        Alaska Yes Yes
        Alabama Yes No
        Arkansas No No
        Arizona Yes Yes
        California Yes No
        Colorado Yes Yes
        Connecticut Yes Yes
        District of Columbia Yes No
        Delaware Yes No
        Florida Yes Yes
        Georgia Yes No
        Hawaii Yes No
        Iowa Yes Yes
        Idaho No Yes
        Illinois Yes Yes
        Indiana Yes Yes
        Kansas Yes No
        Kentucky Yes Yes
        Louisana Yes No
        Massachusetts Yes Yes
        Maryland Yes No
        Maine Yes Yes
        Michigan Yes No
        Minnesota Yes Yes
        Missouri Yes No
        Mississippi Yes No
        Montana Yes Yes
        North Carolina Yes No
        North Dakota Yes Yes
        Nebraska Yes Yes
        New Hampshire Yes Yes
        New Jersey Yes Yes
        New Mexico Yes No
        Nevada Yes No
        New York Yes No
        Ohio Yes Yes
        Oklahoma Yes No
        Oregon Yes Yes
        Pennsylvania Yes No
        Puerto Rico Yes No
        Rhode Island Yes Yes
        South Carolina Yes No
        South Dakota Yes Yes
        Tennessee Yes No
        Texas Yes No
        Utah Yes Yes
        Virginia Yes Yes
        Virgin Islands Yes No
        Vermont Yes Yes
        Washington Yes Yes
        Wisconsin Yes Yes
        West Virginia Yes No
        Wyoming Yes Yes

        Implementing Performance Partnerships

        State participation in performance partnerships is voluntary.?There are many variations in the scope and content of Performance Partnership Agreements (PPAs) and?how they are funded by Performance Partnership Grants (PPGs) and other grant funds. Individual PPAs can range from a general statement about how the state and EPA will work together as partners (perhaps identifying joint priorities that will be addressed) to comprehensive, multi-program documents that detail each party's roles and responsibilities.?

        Some PPAs meet relevant statutory and regulatory requirements and also serve as the work plans for PPGs or other EPA grants. In a few cases, the PPA contains a more general discussion of the working relationship between EPA and?the state rather than a discussion of priorities and programs.

        Elements of Effective PPAs

        Successful PPAs typically include the following key elements:

        • A description of environmental conditions, priorities, and strategies;
        • Performance measures for evaluating environmental progress;
        • A process for jointly evaluating?how well the PPA is working and an agreement to implement any needed improvements;
        • A description of the process for mutual accountability,?including a clear definition of the roles of each party in carrying out the PPA and an overview of how resources will be deployed to accomplish the work; and
        • A description of how the priorities in the PPA align with those in EPA’s Strategic Plan?and the state's own strategic (or other related) plan.

        ?Most states have unique environmental priorities and program implementation needs. Each EPA-state partnership negotiation takes into account the particular capacities, needs, and interests of that state.?

        Benefits of a PPG

        Under traditional environmental program grants, sometimes called "categorical" grants, states receive funds to implement various water, air, waste, pesticides, and toxic substances programs. Environmental program grant funds can only be spent on activities that fall within the statutory and regulatory boundaries of that program. By combining two or more of their environmental program grants into a PPG, states and tribes are able to perform and report on the grant activities under one workplan.

        PPGs are a type of modified block grant, where recipients may combine funds from categorical grants to accomplish their joint and several purposes, so long as recipients meet program requirements for each categorical grant combined into the PPG. The 19?categorical grants eligible for PPGs are a mixture of continuing program grants and competitive project grants. Eligible recipients can combine two or more of the following 19?categorical grants programs identified in EPA's State and Tribal Assistance Grants (STAG) appropriation into a PPG.

        Regulations governing all state and tribal environmental program grants?including PPGs are published in 40 CFR?Part 35. By entering into a PPG, states and tribes can take advantage of a range of flexibility in administering their grant, such as:

        • Reducing administrative burden by allowing states and tribes to meet match requirements as a whole rather than by individual program, streamlining paperwork and accounting requirements, and allowing funding of cross-cutting projects;
        • Fostering?joint planning and priority setting?by requiring consideration of EPA and state or tribe priorities in developing grant work plans;
        • Allowing?grant work plans to be organized by environmental program area or by function (permitting, monitoring, inspections, etc.); and
        • Promoting?results-oriented environmental programs?by recognizing that both outcome and output measures are needed for management purposes.

        There are currently 19?environmental program grants eligible for inclusion in a PPG. Those grants are:

        EPA Office

        CFDA Number

        Environmental Program Grant

        Office of the Administrator 66.204 Multipurpose Grants to States and Tribes
        Office of Air and Radiation 66.001 Air Pollution Control Program Support
        66.032 State Indoor Radon Grants
        Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention 66.707 TSCA Title IV State Lead Grants Certification of Lead-Based Paint Professionals
        66.708 Pollution Prevention Grant Program
        Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance 66.700 Consolidated Pesticide Enforcement Cooperative Agreements
        66.701 Toxic Substances Compliance Monitoring Cooperative Agreements
        Office of International and Tribal Affairs 66.926 Indian Environmental General Assistance Program (GAP)
        Office of Land and Emergency Management 66.801 Hazardous Waste Management State Program Support
        66.804 Underground Storage Tank Prevention, Detection, and Compliance Program
        66.812 Hazardous Waste Management Grant Program for Tribes
        66.817 State and Tribal Response Program Grants
        Office of Mission Support 66.608 Environmental Information Exchange Network Grant Program and Related Assistance
        Office of Water 66.419 Water Pollution Control State, Interstate, and Tribal Program Support
        66.432 State Public Water System Supervision
        66.433 State Underground Water Source Protection
        66.460 Nonpoint Source Implementation Grants
        66.461 Wetland Program Development Grants
        66.472 Beach Monitoring and Notification Program Implementation Grants

        Guidance, Policies, and Regulations

        National Program Guidance

        National Program Guidances (NPG) are utilized by EPA and states, tribes, and territories to inform grant work planning. The FY2020-2021 NPG for the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations?sets multi-year goals and objectives and highlights key policies and procedures for the National Environmental Performance Partnership System.

        Best Practices Guide for Performance Partnerships Grants with States (PDF)(41?pp, 1MB,?About PDF)?and Tribal Best Practices Guide (PDF)?(37?pp, 500?K,?About PDF)?Highlights key regulations, policies, and procedures for developing and managing Performance Partnerships Grants.?

        NEPPS Brochure?(2?pp, 451?K, About PDF)?provides a high-level overview of the National Environmental Performance Partnership System.

        EPA-State Renewal of NEPPS Marking the 20th Anniversary (2015) (PDF)(2?pp, 595K, About PDF)

        The National Environmental Performance Partnership System: A Review of Implementation Practices (May, 2013) (PDF)(34?pp, 629K, About PDF)

        Policies

        Grants Policy Issuance (GPI) 15-01 Performance Partnership Grants for States is applicable to EPA personnel managing 40 CFR Part 35 Subpart A programs and became effective on October 1, 2015.
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        EPA has several policies that may not focus exclusively on PPGs, but may impact PPGs:
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        Regulations
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        All federal regulations can be found online at www.ecfr.gov.? The set of regulations specific to all Continuing Environmental Programs (CEPs), including PPGs, can be found in 40 CFR Part 35.?
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        As with all federal assistance agreements, PPGs?are bound by the regulations in 2 CFR Part 200. In addtion, PPGs are bound by to a set of regulations specific to all EPA assistance agreements found in 2 CFR 1500. Collectively, 2 CFR 200 and 1500 are referred to as the Uniform Grant Guidance, or UGG, at EPA.?
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