Patagonia grants available for grassroots environmental organizations

Patagonia, the popular outdoor equipment maker, has two grant programs of interest to nonprofit environmental organizations.

From Patagonia’s grant announcement:  “We support small, grassroots, activist organizations with provocative direct-action agendas, working on multi-pronged campaigns to preserve and protect our environment. We help local groups working to protect local habitat, and think the individual battles to protect a specific stand of forest, stretch of river or indigenous wild species are the most effective in raising more complicated issues – particularly those of biodiversity and ecosystem protection – in the public mind. ”

Grants of up to $12,000 will be awarded for projects that are action-oriented, build public involvement and support, focus on root causes, and demonstrate a commitment to long-term change.

The next round of grant applications is due in August. For More Information


Patagonia funds another grant as well: The World Trout Initiative funds only groups and efforts working to restore and protect wild, self-sustainable trout, salmon, and other fish species within their native range. For more information 

Feds Gear Up To Use GSA OASIS Contracts

Do you have an active Air Force environmental practice?  Does your firm have existing backlog with DARPA, Public Buildings Service Region 1, Veterans Affairs, or Department of Interior?  If yes, then you are playing defense if you don’t also have a GSA OASIS contract.

GSA requires all Ordering Contract Officers to complete mandatory Delegation of Procurement Authority (DPA) training before they are allowed to issue task orders under OASIS contracts. By looking at what agencies have pursued this training for their warranted contracting officers, it is possible to get a sense for which agencies are most interested in the OASIS vehicle.

If you have an OASIS contract, these DPA’s can suggest some agencies, offices and commands amenable to using your new vehicle near term.  If you don’t have an OASIS prime contract, but you have existing work for these agencies through other contracting mechanisms (including GSA’s Schedule 899), then this information pinpoints where you need to scramble to keep as much of the work in-house as possible.

According to the information provided to CFE by GSA on October 11th,  as of November 7, 2014, GSA had issued 161 DPA’s to OCO’s in civilian agencies and 199 DPA’s to OCO’s in the Department of Defense.  The attached spreadsheet breaks down DPA’s to the level of Command/Office/Region. GSA explained the disparity between # trained and # DPA’s issued as 1) only warranted contracting officers receive DPA and other people take the training as well and 2) GSA is a little behind in getting the DPA’s processed.

Happy Hunting!

EPA RAF Re-do Creates Unprecedented Small Business Opportunities

Source: EPA Remedial Action Framework (RAF): Overview of Remedial Action Framework (RAF)

EPA’s revamp of its Superfund program contracting strategy will create unprecedented opportunities for small businesses.

There will now be three catagories of contracts:

Design and Engineering Services (DES)

Remediation Environmental Services (RES)

Environmental Services and Operations (ESO)

There will be ten geographic categories called Contract Line Item Number’s (CLIN’s ) in each contract category, with two to six awards per CLIN; two of which are anticipated to be SBSA.  More significantly, EPA has indicated it is considering setting aside the entirety of RES and ESO contracts for small business depending on responses (due November 7th) from the open sources sought/request for information (SS/RFI):



Proposals will be submitted using the new SF-330. A revised version of the SF-330 form and instructions will be posted for a second round of industry comments before the end of the year.

EPA spends about $500 million every year on Superfund contracts.  For more information on RAF, click the image.If you are a small business with hazardous waste capabilities, it is worth your while to respond to the SS/RFI’s and comment on the SF-330. This is your chance.

CCRs, Fraking Create Engineering Market Sweet Spots

Surface impoundment retrofitting/closure and landfill design will be sweet spots for environmental engineering firms and waste haulers in the next few years for two reasons: coal ash and fraking.

A market resulting from implementation of new coal ash regs is imminent (the consent decree requires EPA to take final action on these regulations before the end of 2014).  Regardless of whether the much-anticipated EPA final action on coal combustion residuals (CCR’s) goes with a Subtitle C or a Subtitle D approach, the regs will create new opportunities for environmental engineering firms and waste haulers in the next few years as utility companies comply with fairly massive new requirements.

Coal ash is the second largest industrial waste stream in the country; around 140 million tons of coal waste is produced by electric utility companies annually according to EPA. CCRs are currently disposed of in 45 states, though the preponderance of sites are located in the eastern US with Kentucky, Texas and Indiana having the dubious distinctions of generating the most CCRs.  EPA estimates there are approximately 300 CCR landfills and 584 CCR surface impoundments at 495 coal-fired power plants.  Many units have exceeded their designed life spans. The majority of these sites are owned by private utilities.

If EPA chooses to regulate coal ash as a hazardous waste under Subpart C, the market is expected to be $1,474 million a year including industry compliance and regulatory oversight and enforcement.  Because EPA would have enforcement authority, hypothetically 100% of regulated sites would comply. The timing of the market will vary from state to state as authorized states adopt the rule.  The retrofit requirements and compliance rate makes the market under Subtitle C three times larger than under Subtitle D.

If EPA chooses to regulate these materials as solid waste under Subpart D, the market is expected to be $587 million per year and the regulations would go into effect six months after promulgation.  Compliance responsibility would rest with individual states.

The economic regulatory impact (aka market size) sounds like a lot until you consider that the Kingston, TN coal ash spill has cost TVA more than $1 billion to remediate and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation spent $200 million for oversight according to the Tennessean newspaper in December 2013.

From the perspective of  engineers and haulers, what kind of work will be involved under each option?  A quick comparison of the provisions in the two options tells the tale:

Key Differences Between Subtitle C and Subtitle D Options
Effective Date Timing will vary from state to state, as each state must adopt the rule individually, can take 1–2 years or more Six months after final rule is promulgated for most provisions: certain provisions have a longer effective date
Enforcement State and Federal enforcement Enforcement through citizen suits; states can act as citizens
Corrective Action Monitored by authorized states and EPA Self-implementing
Financial Assurance Yes Considering subsequent rule using CERCLA 108 (b) Authority
Permit Issuance Federal requirement for permit issuance by states No
Requirements for Storage, Including Containers, Tanks, and Containment Buildings Yes No
Surface Impoundments Built Before Rule is Finalized Remove solids and meet land disposal restrictions; retrofit with a liner within 5 years of effective date. Would effectively phase out use of existing surface impoundments Must remove solids and retrofit with a composite liner or cease receiving CCRs within 5 years of effective date and close the unit
Surface Impoundments Built After Rule is Finalized Must meet Land Disposal Restrictions and liner requirements. Would effectively phase out use of new surface impoundments Must install composite liners. No Land Disposal Restrictions
Landfills Built Before Rule is Finalized No liner requirements, but require groundwater monitoring No liner requirements, but require groundwater monitoring
Landfills Built After Rule is Finalized Liner requirements and groundwater monitoring Liner requirements and groundwater monitoring
Requirements for Closure and Post-Closure Care Yes; monitored by states and EPA Yes; self-implementing


Some utilities will choose an off-site disposal.  Waste Management Inc. currently handles 100 million tons of trash every year according to an August interview.  With an additional 140 million tons of regulated waste as a result of these new regulations, Waste Management and other haulers could see a significant increase in sales.

If you’d like to do some homework before visiting a potential utility client, check out two public databases maintained by EPA.  The first contains utility responses to Information Requests that went out in March, April and December 2009 and covered 240 facilities and 676 surface impoundments and similar management units,

The second database, of Coal Combustion Residuals Impoundment Assessment Reports, contains hazard rankings of the structural integrity of surface impoundments, and action plans by company.

EarthJustice also publishes two datasets that are helpful: lists plant, city, state, pond id, lined/unlined, leachate collected, and status.  In September 2014,  Earthjustice also published a spreadsheet provided by EPA in response to a FOIA request listing by site, and by units within sites, such details as monitoring status and contaminants exceeding mcl’s at each location which can be downloaded at  Great background information if you are going to talk with your utility clients about their CCR programs.

The regulatory process behind these CCR regulations has been long and laborious.  The news coverage of surface impoundment failures at fraking facilities is escalating.  I cannot believe it will be long before surface impoundments at fraking stations come under state enforcement attention.  A wise fraking operator would build new surface impoundments that limit liability not only from leakage and failure, but also are ahead of the future regulatory action curve as well.

If you are pursuing the market from the enforcement angle, it will be work for state DEQ contract holders if a Subtitle D approach is chosen.  If Subtitle C is chosen, Nelly bar the door.  Obviously they don’t have a procurement strategy at this point.  The difference in site density between regions argues for a regional procurement strategy OR possibly OASIS. I do know that if I held an OASIS contract I’d already be meeting with RCRA folks and talking about how quickly my firm could provide support under this new, flexible mechanism.

Happy Hunting