State  Innovation  Grant  Program:  Rhode  Island
                       Rhode  Island  Underground Storage Tanks—Alternative Inspection Programs and
                       the U.S. Energy Policy Act of 2005 (2006 Competition)
led by state environmental agencies to test innovative approaches for
achieving better environmental results and improved efficiency in permitting
programs. Between 2002 and 2007, the State Innovation Grant program
competition awarded over six million dollars to support 35 state projects that
test permitting innovation for a variety of regulated entities including several
small business sectors. Asummary of the awards by year appears in the table
    State Innovation Grant Program Statistics, 2002-2007
 Competition  Proposals  Proposals    Total Program
    Year      Submitted   Selected       Funding ($)
                                          $1.425 Million
                                          $1.479 Million
                                          $1.243 Million
                                          $1.611 Million
                                          $6.376 Million
"Innovation in Permitting" has been the theme of the State Innovation Grant
competition since its inception. In the last three competition cycles states
received awards for projects in the following three categories:
• The Environmental Results Program (ERP) is an innovative
  approach to improving environmental performance based on a system
  of the interlocking tools of compliance assistance, self-certification
  (sometimes, where permissible, in lieu of permitting), and
  statistically-based measurement to gauge the performance of an entire
  business sector. The program utilizes a multimedia approach to
  encourage small sources to achieve environmental compliance and
  pollution prevention. (See:
• Environmental Management System (EMS) is a system involving a
  continual cycle of planning, implementing, reviewing and improving the
  processes and actions that an organization undertakes to meet its
  business and environmental goals. EMSs provide organizations of all
  types with a structured system and approach for managing environmental
  and regulatory responsibilities to improve overall environmental
  performance and stewardship. (See:
• Performance Track is a partnership that recognizes top
  environmental performance among participating US facilities of all types,
  sizes, and complexity, both public and private.
NCEI has provided awards also for projects testing watershed-based permitting,
and for permit process streamlining in past competitions. For more information
on the history of the programs, including information on solicitations, state
proposals, and project awards, please see the EPA State Innovation Grants
website at htto://www.eDa.aov/innovation/statearants
                                                                 Project Background:
Noncompliance with underground storage tank (UST)
requirements, often leading to groundwater contamination, is a
national issue. Groundwater contaminated with fuel and
petroleum product constituents such as benzene and methyl
tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) has resulted in the impairment of
potable water supplies for millions of people nationwide.

To prevent leaks  and protect groundwater resources, Rhode
Island General Law (RIGL) requires all state registered USTs
used for petroleum products to be inspected at least once every
two years. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental
Management (RIDEM) chose to satisfy this biennial inspection
requirement by adopting the Environmental Results Program
(ERP) approach, developing the first state-wide mandatory ERP
for the UST sector. The program uses a system of compliance
assistance, annual facility  self-certification, and random and
targeted inspections,  coupled with statistically-based
performance measurement to assess compliance rates for the
UST sector. This approach enables RIDEM to target inspections
at facilities that do not complete self-certifications or provide
inconsistent answers, and  spend fewer resources on facilities
that maintain compliance with regulations.

RIDEM's UST ERP will likely be affected by the federal Energy
Policy Act of 2005, which requires that state environmental
agencies inspect all USTs on-site at least once every three years.
Satisfying the new federal requirements will necessitate a much
larger investment in inspection staff and on-site inspections.
The Energy Policy Act also mandates that EPA study alternatives
to traditional inspection programs,  and report to  Congress
within four years of enactment. While Rhode Island will perform
additional inspections to meet the requirements of the Energy
Policy Act, RIDEM is reluctant to terminate its existing UST
ERP program without first determining if the program is equally
effective as a traditional inspection program in achieving UST
tank requirement compliance.
Project  Description
The project consists of two major parts:  1) RI UST ERP
performance measurement; and 2) an interstate comparative
evaluation  study.  RIDEM is partnering with the Florida
Department of Environmental Protection (FLDEP) and the
University of Rhode  Island (URJ) in this effort. Rhode Island
selected FLDEP as  a partner for the interstate comparison
                          NATIONAL CENTER FOR
                          ENVIRONMENTAL  INNOVATION

 component of the study. In Florida, petroleum product releases
 from more than 28,000 facilities have threatened groundwater
 supplies used by 92 percent of the population, hi response, Florida
 enacted some of the most stringent UST rules in the country.
 FLDEP conducts traditional facility-by-facility UST inspections on
 a yearly basis, and has historical inspection  data dating back to

 The RIDEM project is examining factors such as cost-effectives s,
 staff investment, efficiency, and compliance rate improvement over
 time to determine the effectiveness of UST ERP versus a traditional
 UST inspection program. Rhode Island's existing measures of
 UST ERP progress will be matched against corresponding
 measures from FLDEP's databases. Specifically, this project will:

    •   evaluate industry performance (compliance rates/leak
        prevention) under ERP for federally regulated facilities;

    •   determine the applicability of ERP to the RI state
        regulated tank universe;

    •   identify and evaluate key variables associated with
        facility noncompliance;

    •   compare cost data and results obtained from ERP
        facilities and traditional facility-by-facility inspection
        models; and

    •   provide data and information to inform RI tank
        management policy decision makers and the upcoming
        EPA study mandated by Congress under the Energy

 Additional objectives for the project are to encourage the use of
 best management practices,  to promote lasting change and
 improvement in environmental performance, and  to develop a
 model  framework that can be transferred to other states.

 The results of this study are particularly important to other States
 interested in or currently pursuing UST ERPs, including Virginia
 and Vermont. The project will inform decisions by other states in
 determining if ERP for USTs is a suitable alternative inspection/
 compliance program and how such a program may fit into the
 requirements of the Energy Policy Act.

 The project is anticipated to take three yeais to complete.

Connection  to  EPA's  Goals

 RIDEM's ERP comparison project for underground storage tank
 requirements supports EPA's strategic goals (Goal 2) through the
 evaluation of performance rates for underground storage tanks
 for which non-compliance with requirements  can lead to
 contamination of groundwater supplies.   This project also
 produces results applicable to EPA Strategic Goal 5, by improving
 environmental performance through pollution prevention and
                         Project Contacts:
               For more specific information on the Rhode Island State
               Innovation Grant, please contact one of the individuals

               Ronald Gagnon, PE, MBA
               Rhode Island Department of Environmental
               235 Promenade St., Ste 330
               Providence, RI 02908-5767
               (401)222-4700, extension 7500; FAX (401)222-3810
               ron. gaenon@dem.ri. gov
               Richard Enander, PhD
               Rhode Island Department of Environmental
               235 Promenade St., Ste 330
               Providence, RI 02908-5767
               (401)222-4700, extension 4411; FAX (401)222-3810

               Marge Miranda
               U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Region 1
               1 Congress St., Suite 1100
               Boston, MA 02114-2023
               (617) 918-1825; FAX (617) 562-0816
               Miranda. Marge

               Scott Bowles
               U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
               Washington, DC 20460; MC (1807T)
               (202) 566-2208; FAX: (202) 566-2200

                        Program  Contact:

               Sherri Walker
               State Innovation Grant Program
               U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
               Washington, DC 20460 (MC1807T)
               (202)-566-2186; FAX (202) 566-2220
United States
Environmental Protection
Office of Policy,
Economics and Innovation
  November 2007