The Washington Department of Ecology is looking for input on how they allocate certain grants and loans to local communities.
In a release, Ecology asks residents to make comments on a new rule to govern how the agency manages some of those funds, and is looking for public review and comment on it.
They say that nearly $250 million of the department’s budget is awarded to local communities through grants and loans.
The new rule would be specific to grant and loan programs to use Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) funds.
On the Department of Ecology Website, they state;
Money for cleanup, prevention and other important environmental work comes from hazardous substance tax collections – mostly from petroleum products, which are in a prolonged period of volatile pricing. Based on the November 2016 forecast, MTCA funds are projected to have a significant shortfall in the 2017-19 Biennium.
Governor Inslee’s 2017-19 budgets propose several actions to manage revenue decreases in the three MTCA accounts and provide moderate new investments in toxic sites cleanup, solid waste management, and operating programs.
Ecology continues to take cost-saving actions authorized in the enacted 2015-17 capital budget and the supplemental budget, including delaying some cleanup projects, hirings and other work. The agency is working with a variety of stakeholders whose projects are impacted by the continuing revenue shortfall.
The change, according to Ecology, will not change how grants and loans are currently managed but is being proposed to “meet the agency’s legal obligation”.
“We’ve been entrusted by the Legislature to responsibly manage public funds,” said Chief Financial Officer Erik Fairchild. “Our goal is to give grant and loan recipients clarity about the state’s expectations for spending these funds.”
State law requires Ecology to adopt rules for grant and loan programs that are funded by MTCA. Several grant programs funded by MTCA accounts already have detailed rules that outline distribution and performance standards. This new rule will not affect those grants and loans.
Public comments on the proposed rule are being accepted until Nov. 14, 2017.