Proposed Changes to the EPA Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program

by Dave Stegink
Aug 3, 2016

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The EPA is amending parts of its Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program (Part 33) to improve the practical utility of the EPA's DBE program and minimize the burden to affected entities. The EPA made three major revisions in the rule that will significantly impact the way the DBE program currently operates. These changes include:

1. Establishing a self-certification platform for Minority-owned Business Enterprises and Woman-owned Business Enterprises. The EPA removed existing EPA certification requirements for firms that cannot be certified by another federal agency, and will instead allow qualified firms to self-certify as an MBE or WBE.

2. Updating the exemption threshold for fair share negotiations. The EPA increased the threshold for recipients exempted from negotiating fair share objectives in subpart D of part 33 from $250,000 to $1 million. Fair share objectives remain applicable to grantees of lesser amounts, and those administrative requirements will be made clearer.

3. Revising the reporting frequency and applicability. The EPA revised subpart E of part 33 to change the frequency of DBE reporting to annual for all recipients and limit reporting to financial assistance agreements with funds budgeted for procurements above the simplified acquisition threshold of $150,000.

This rule is effective on October 26, 2016, without further notice, unless EPA receives adverse comment by August 29, 2016.

What this means for most of our grantees is a consistent annual reporting requirement, standardized and clearer fair share objectives, and, hopefully, improved access to available DBEs.

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