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EPA Grants

Best Practices Guide for Conferences Funded with an Assistance Agreement

Conferences may be funded with an assistance agreement if the principal purpose is not for the direct benefit of the government The best practices guide for conferences, will help agency and recipient personnel make correct planning and funding decisions. The guide is structured to help users first identify the purpose of the conference and whose conference it is. A discussion on supporting conferences under assistance agreements is in chapters three and four of the guidance document.

The guide also provides answers to frequently asked questions concerning conference activities and allowability of expenditures. For example, whether it is appropriate to use EPA's logo is a frequently asked question from assistance agreement recipients. Chapter three, page 3-4 D of the conference guidance states use of the agency's logo in connection with promotion or sale of non-government produced goods or services is forbidden. Promotional material for conferences conducted under grants and cooperative agreements may acknowledge that the conference receives financial support from the agency under an assistance agreement, but cannot use the logo on a conference brochure in a manner that implies that the conference is being conducted by EPA. These conferences should be described as the recipient's event, not EPA's.

The use of EPA's logo on websites developed under assistance agreements is also unallowable.

Caution: EPA order 1015.2A explains when and how the EPA logo can be used. Recipients should consult with their project officer or grant specialist, if needed.

As a general rule, an assistance agreement may not be used to support a conference or other services if the principal purpose is to provide advice, recommendations, or other information for EPA's direct use in developing or changing guidance or regulations. For example, an office or laboratory cannot award an assistance agreement to a trade association or consulting firm to arrange and conduct a conference of EPA officials and members of the regulated community if the principal purpose is to enable EPA to obtain the views of the regulated community on a proposed new policy or changes in an existing one. If the office or laboratory needs help in putting on such a conference, it should use a contract to acquire the services.

An exception to this general rule is assistance to associations of state officials who implement EPA programs. An assistance agreement may be used to provide funding to an association of state officials or agencies to hold a conference among its members and EPA officials to discuss issues in the implementation of a federal effort that the states implement on a day- to- day basis under a formal delegation or as partners with EPA in a coordinated, national effort. Although EPA benefits from such a conference and may subsequently decide to adopt recommendations or use information provided by the state officials at the conference, the principal purpose is to support the association in helping its state members participate in developing the policies that they will carry out.

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