EPA Publishes Notice to Implement New Laboratory Competency Policy

This article appears in today’s ECOSWire and is republished here with ECOS’ permission.)

On April 29th, EPA published in the Federal Register notice of its intent to implement its “Competency Policy for Assistance Agreements.”   The FR notice indicates the competency policy was approved on December 12, 2012 by the Science Technology Policy Council (STPC) and will be effective on May 15, 2013.

This policy applies to all EPA new competitive and noncompetitive assistance agreements expected to exceed a total maximum value of $200,000 (in federal funding) involving organizations generating or using environmental data through environmental sample collection, field measurements and/or laboratory analyses. Organizations will have to demonstrate competency either prior to award or prior to beginning such activities. EPA Project Officers are responsible for implementing this requirement.  Under this policy, EPA has indicated in its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)(attached) that only organizations generating environmental data directly through measurements under assistance agreements or interagency agreements (if applicable) will be covered (i.e., laboratories and field sampling organizations).

This announcement comes from the Forum on Environmental Measurements (FEM), established in April 2004 by the U.S. EPA Science Policy Council (now the U.S. EPA Science and Technology Policy Council). The FEM is a standing committee of senior U.S. EPA managers who provide a focal point for addressing measurement, monitoring and laboratory issues with multi-program impact.

The Federal Register notice may be found at https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/04/29/2013-10043/forum-on-environmental-measurements-announcement-of-competency-policy-for-assistance-agreements. For more information on EPA’s General Laboratory Competency policies, visit http://www.epa.gov/fem/lab_comp.htm.  A FAQ on the December 2012 policy may be found at http://www.epa.gov/fem/pdfs/faqs-for-agreements.pdf

EPA has previously indicated it will hold briefings on the laboratory competency policy once published in the Federal Register.  Information will be shared with states once available.