Environmental Protection:

Grants for International Activities and Smart Growth

RCED-00-145R: Published: May 31, 2000. Publicly Released: May 31, 2000.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) grants for international activities and smart growth, focusing on the: (1) number, dollar amount, and recipients of international and smart growth grants; (2) purposes of and the activities pursuant to the grants; and (3) statutory bases that EPA cites for awarding these grants.

GAO noted that: (1) for fiscal years 1997 through 1999, EPA awarded approximately $10.7 million for 73 international activities grants and $6.2 million for 65 smart growth grants; (2) numerous foreign countries and organizations involved in economic development and environmentally related matters received international activities grants; (3) most smart growth grants were awarded to nonprofit organizations, public colleges, municipalities, or special purpose districts, such as a regional planning district for a metropolitan area; (4) the international grants supported a variety of activities, including the training of foreign environmental professionals and the collection and dissemination of environmental information; (5) the smart growth grants that GAO reviewed were focused on the environmental impacts of urban development through means such as establishing an organization of government officials and other groups to gather and disseminate information on smart growth; (6) EPA often cited two or more statutes in the grant award documents as a basis for awarding each international and smart growth grant; (7) EPA officials stated they did this partially because multiple benefits, such as clean air or clean water, which are covered by different statutes, could be linked to the assistance from the grants; (8) the grant award documents for nearly all of the international activities grants cited statutes such as the Clean Air Act or Clean Water Act supplemented by the National Environmental Policy Act, which authorizes EPA to lend appropriate international support; and (9) smart growth grants cited up to five statutes as a basis for the grant awards.

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