V PRO^4-0
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Inspector General
At a Glance
February 19, 2008
Why We Did This Review
The objective of our audit was
to determine whether the U.S.
Environmental Protection
Agency's (EPA's) Indian
General Assistance Program
(IGAP) has been effective in
developing tribal capacity to
implement environmental
programs. This work was
included in the Office of
Inspector General's (OIG's)
Fiscal Year 2007 annual plan
based on Agency leadership
concerns regarding grant
The Indian Environmental
General Assistance Program
Act of 1992 provides EPA the
authority to award grants to
Indian tribal governments to
build capacity to administer
environmental programs.
Since its inception, IGAP has
become a core program and
the largest single source of
funding for tribal
environmental programs, with
almost $455 million of
funding to about 500 different
tribal entities since 1992.
For further information,
contact our Office of
Congressional and Public
Liaison at (202) 566-2391.
To view the full report,
click on the following link:
Catalyst for Improving the Environment
Framework for Developing Tribal Capacity Needed
in the Indian General Assistance Program
What We Found
The purpose of IGAP grants is to help tribes develop environmental programs, and
over 70 percent of tribes have met at least one of EPA's strategic goals for
improving human health and the environment in Indian country. However, only
12 percent of tribes are implementing Federal environmental programs.
Many tribes have not developed long-term plans that describe how they will build
environmental capacity to operate their environmental programs. For tribes that do
have plans and long-term goals, EPA has not tracked progress against the plans
and goals. Six of 27 reviewed tribes that have received funding for more than 5
years had activities limited to outreach, training, and meetings; how the activities
will lead to implementing environmental programs is unclear. This situation has
occurred because EPA has not provided a framework for tribes to follow or adapt
as they develop their capacity to implement environmental programs. As a result,
it is not clear whether IGAP funding will result in tribes being able to operate their
own environmental programs. EPA has awarded $455 million in IGAP funds
since 1992.
EPA often uses the target funding level of $110,000 as the basis for IGAP funding
instead of considering environmental capacity needs and prior progress. EPA and
tribes consider IGAP funding to be essential continuing support for tribal
environmental programs. When the funding is not based on tribal capacity needs
or priorities, EPA cannot demonstrate that the highest human health and
environmental needs are addressed.
What We Recommend
We recommend that the Assistant Administrator for Water:
	Require the American Indian Environmental Office to develop and implement
an overall framework for achieving capacity, including valid performance
measures for each type of tribal entity, and provide assistance to the regions
for incorporating the framework into the IGAP work plans.
	Require regions to (a) negotiate with tribes to develop environmental plans
that reflect intermediate and long-term goals, (b) link those plans to annual
IGAP work plans, and (c) measure tribal progress in meeting plans and goals.
	Revise how IGAP funding is distributed to tribes to place more emphasis on
tribes' prior progress, environmental capacity needs, and long-term goals.
EPA concurred with the recommendations and stated that the American Indian
Environmental Office is committed to evaluating the IGAP program and
incorporating new ways to improve the program's effectiveness.