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Chapter 173-321 WAC
Public Participation Grants

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Under Chapter 70.105D RCW, Ecology administers a program for grants to "persons who may be adversely affected by a release or threatened release of a hazardous substance and not-for-profit public interest groups." Grants are used to "facilitate public participation in the investigation and remediation of a release or threatened release of a hazardous substance and to implement the state's solid and hazardous waste management priorities."

Why are we doing this rulemaking?
In 2016, Ecology obtained an independent audit of our Public Participation Grants program. The current application process for the grants requires a significant amount of time and agency resources to establish applicant eligibility and award the grants. Changes Ecology is proposing are either specific audit recommendations or based on the agency's experiences implementing the program.

Input from past grant recipients and other stakeholders also indicated a need to increase the emphasis the PPG program places in reaching disadvantaged communities adversely affected by toxic contamination and cleanup work. Updating the rule now will allow us to apply these changes to grants awarded in the 2017-19 biennium.

Scope of rulemaking
Ecology proposes to:
  • Revise program priorities to include environmental justice
  • Revise eligibility requirements
  • Clarify the criteria used to evaluate applications
  • Revise eligible costs
  • Develop a method for renewing grants annually per Chapter 70.105D RCW
  • Streamline the grant application and evaluation process to increase consistency, transparency, objectivity, and efficiency
  • Revise the grant application process to authorize electronic submittals
  • Update grant administration requirements
  • Align Chapter 173-321 WAC to current program needs.
Ecology will periodically update these web pages to provide up-to-date information about this rulemaking. We will notify interested parties through the agency email listserv (WAC Track), a Waste 2 Resources ListServ specifically established for the Public Participation Grants program. We will e-mail contacts identified in our grants-related database and those identified by grants staff. We will publish notice in the Washington State Register as we move through the process. To learn more about how to contact Ecology and participate in the process, please visit our public involvement page.