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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Inspector General
At a Glance
November 27, 2012
Why We Did This Review
The Indian Environmental
General Assistance Program
Act of 1992 provides the U.S.
Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) the authority to
award grants to tribal
governments to build capacity
to administer environmental
programs. The Act authorized
EPA to provide General
Assistance Program (GAP)
grants to federally recognized
tribes and tribal consortia. We
reviewed actions taken by EPA
to address a 2008 report by our
office on tribal capacity. The
2008 report contained three
recommendations to EPA on
developing a framework for
achieving capacity; developing
environmental plans; and
revising the grant funding
formula to better reflect prior
progress, needs, and long-term
This report addresses the
following EPA Goal or
Cross-Cutting Strategy:
 Strengthening state,
tribal, and international
Status of Corrective Actions in Response to 2008
Report, "Framework for Developing Tribal Capacity
Needed in Indian General Assistance Program"
What We Found
EPA has taken a number of actions to address findings and
recommendations from the Office of Inspector General's 2008 report,
including developing the GAP Online database, drafting a GAP guidebook,
and revising GAP guidance. EPA is also engaging or will engage in tribal
consultation for both the guidebook and guidance. EPA said it intends to
finalize its revised GAP guidance, including the guidebook, by May 2013.
EPA has focused on ensuring that GAP work plans include intermediate and
long-term outcomes/goals. EPA said it has made an incremental shift in the
way it distributes GAP funding and said it will make additional changes
based on internal conversations and information in GAP Online.
Although EPA certified all actions as completed in its Management Audit
Tracking System, corrective actions are still in progress and we could not
test their effectiveness. EPA should have an implementation period
following issuance of the final GAP guidance and guidebook before we
evaluate how well tribes and EPA regions operate under the new guidance.
Recommendations and Planned Agency Corrective Actions
We recommend that the Assistant Administrator for International and Tribal
Affairs complete implementation of corrective actions initiated in response to
the 2008 report and denote May 2013 as the date to implement actions to
address the 2008 report recommendations. The Agency accepted this
recommendation and plans to complete corrective actions by May 2013.
Noteworthy Achievements
Since its launch in 2007, GAP Online has provided grantees and EPA
project officers with a centralized tool for creating work plans and reporting
progress. EPA also provided GAP Online training to each region.
For further information, contact
our Office of Congressional and
Public Affairs at (202) 566-2391.
The full report is at: