Sneak Preview: OIG Calls for EPA To Submit BEACH Act Reports

February 9, 2018 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

xsass_bookshot(The following was excerpted from a recent article in the Single Audit Information Service.) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) and agency officials are seeking a resolution to recent OIG audit recommendations requesting the agency to submit required quadrennial progress reports to Congress under the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act of 2000 (BEACH Act) (Pub. L. 106-284). Agency officials, however, contend the reports are unnecessary since they have proposed to discontinue the program.

The BEACH Act amended the Clean Water Act (Pub. L. 95-217) to improve the quality of coastal recreation waters and for other purposes, including protecting human health. EPA awards BEACH Act grants to eligible recipients in coastal states and those along the Great Lakes to monitor beaches for bacteria that indicate the possible presence of disease-causing pathogens, and to notify the public when there is a potential risk to public health. Between 2002 and 2016, EPA awarded about $146.6 million in BEACH Act grants to 35 states and territories and three tribes.

The EPA Office of Water’s Office of Science and Technology (OW-OST) administers the BEACH Act program and is required to submit BEACH Act progress reports to Congress every four years. Meanwhile, EPA’s Office of Policy and the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations (OCIR) are responsible for ensuring the agency completes and submits required reports. The BEACH Act initially required the agency to prepare and submit the first report to Congress by 2004 and to send subsequent reports in 2008, 2012 and 2016. However, the agency submitted a delayed first report to Congress in 2006, and prepared a second draft report in 2010, but it was never submitted.

EPA staff told OIG that it did not continue reporting on the program following the 2006 report due to a lack of resources, along with a disagreement with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on the content of the report and whether the grants should continue. EPA proposed to OMB that it would no longer request funding for the BEACH Act as of federal fiscal year (FY) 2012 because it considered the program to be “mature” (i.e., it could be subsidized through local funds so it no longer needed federal funds) and recommended that funding should be halted for the BEACH Act grant program.

(The full version of this story has now been made available to all for a limited time on Thompson’s Grants Compliance Expert site.)

As a reminder, we have all of our Federal Funding Training Forums scheduled for 2018. Please let me know if you have questions or can make any of these. We hope to see you there!

  • Wednesday May 1 – Friday May 4 in ST LOUIS

  • Wednesday July 25 – Friday July 27 in MINNEAPOLIS

  • Wednesday October 17 – Friday October 19 in ATLANTA


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