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Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) User's Guide


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The Technical Assistance Grants (TAG) program is a major victory for communities nationwide. For the past 10 years communities have argued that they need technical assistance to understand and deal with the huge technical reports generated by EPA and their consultants as part of the Superfund process. In 1986 Congress finally acknowledged this need and provided up to $50,000 to citizens groups at each Superfund site to hire technical experts as part of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA). This is an even greater victory for the Grassroots Movement for Environmental Justice when you consider that it is the only new federal domestic grant program passed in the last 8 years.

This guidebook is designed to help community groups obtain funding from EPA's TAG program to hire their own experts. But, perhaps even more importantly, it's designed to help raise questions for your group to answer before you apply for a grant. For example, Why do you need technical experts? How can they help you attain your goal? What kind of experts do you need? What do you want them to do? How do you want them to behave? How do you choose your experts? How do you control them? and, Where do you find good technical people?

This guidebook is divided into two major parts. The first explains what the TAG program is and how your group can apply for and use the money to hire an expert. It answers all those questions that will arise, such as, how to meet the 347 matching fund requirements when your group has no money. It can also help your group think through whether you want or need to be involved in this program. The second section is on how to use technical experts. You may discover that getting the expert is much easier than using the expert
effectively. As the old saying goes..."be careful what you ask for, because you just may get it." This section helps you prepare yourself so that your experience with your new expert is a positive one - one that helps get you to your goal(s) with as little headache as possible. One word of caution. Use both sections together. It is important that your group understands both how to get the funding to hire an expert AND how to use your expert.

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