On Sept. 3, the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development, Division of Energy and Mineral Development (DEMD) issued a solicitation for grant proposals for technical assistance funding to identify, evaluate or assess the market for energy or mineral resource development, processing or use. Tribes and Tribal Energy Development Organizations (TEDOs) have until Dec. 2 at 5:00 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time to apply for funding. The maximum grant award will be $2.5 million and the minimum award will be $10,000. DEMD expects to award 25 to 30 grants through this solicitation.
The solicitation is open to federally recognized tribes and TEDOs only. Funding may only go toward projects on Indian land, including land located within the boundaries of a reservation, pueblo or rancheria; land held in trust by the United States for the benefit of an individual tribe or Indian; land owned by an Indian tribe, individual Indian or dependent Indian community; or land owned by a tribe that was conveyed to a Native Corporation by the United States.
Eligible projects include, but are not limited to: initial resource exploration; defining potential targets for development; market analyses to determine production and demand of a commodity; economic evaluations and analyses of the resource; baseline studies for energy and mineral projects; and other pre-development studies needed to promote the use and development of energy and mineral resources.
Applicants must use their own documented procurement procedures that reflect tribal laws and regulations, as long as these procedures adhere to federal procurement law.
To carry out feasibility studies with EMDP funding, applicants have several options, including but not limited to: TEDOs; universities and colleges; private consulting firms; or non-academic, nonprofit entities.
Applicants under Bureau of Indian Affairs sanction level two or higher for failure to comply with the Single Audit Act may not receive awards under this solicitation. Entities with level one sanctions may be considered for an award.
More than one application may be submitted by each applicant, but each application must be for a distinct project. A single application shall not be used for multiple projects.
Awards may not be used for:
- Projects not occurring on Indian land;
- Establishing or operating a tribal office, or purchasing office equipment;
- Salaries or fringe benefits for tribal employees, except for defined technical-related tasks;
- Indirect or overhead costs;
- Purchasing equipment for pre-development activities, though leasing equipment is allowed;
- Drilling wells for the commercial sale of hydrocarbons, geothermal resources and other fluid or solid minerals, though testing or sampling of a well is permitted if the data collected furthers the objective of the proposal;
- Legal fees;
- Application fees for permitting unless the task requiring a permit is integral to the project;
- Academic research projects;
- Development of unproven technologies that are not warrantable;
- Contracted negotiation fees;
- Purchase of data available at DEMD and accessible to applicants;
- Studies related to National Environmental Policy Act requirements for project development, though preliminary environmental issue analyses are permitted;
- Attending conventions or traveling to foreign countries, except for domestic conventions relevant to the scope of the project that will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis;
- Feasibility studies for broadband projects eligible for funding under the National Tribal Broadband Grant Program;
- Businesses, development projects or technologies eligible for funding under the Native American Business Development Institute grant program;
- Studies regarding legal infrastructure or energy regulatory structures eligible for the Tribal Energy Development Capacity grant program; or
- Other activities not authorized by the tribal resolution or grant award letter.
Each application must include:
- Application for Federal Assistance SF-424
- Project narrative
- Verification of eligibility
- SF 424a budget form, a budget narrative describing all major line-item grant expenditures, and a breakdown of all projected and anticipated expenditures
- Critical information page containing the project manager’s contact information; a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number; an active Automated Standard Application for Payment (ASAP) number; counties where the project is located and the congressional district number where the project is located
- Tribal resolution authorizing the submission of a grant application
Incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant with an explanation, and applicants may resubmit a corrected application before the deadline.
Applications will be ranked on the following criteria (for a total of 100 points):
- Economic viability (30 points)
- Scope of work and deliverables (30 points)
- Project viability (25 points)
- Budget (10 points)
- Executive summary (5 points)
Award recipients must submit quarterly narrative and financial status reports in a digital format to the DEMD project monitor and grant officer listed in the grant award. The quarterly narrative report may consist of a one- to two-page summary of events, accomplishments, problems and results that occurred during the quarter. The financial status report should be submitted as Federal Financial Report SF 425 and include a list of the funds spent during the quarter, how funds were spent, and the amount remaining. Quarterly reports are due 30 days after the end of a project’s quarter.
Final narrative and financial status reports must be submitted to the DEMD project monitor and grant officer within 90 days of the end of the project’s period of performance. The final reports shall also include as attachments all other products generated by the study, including all reports and technical data obtained during the study.
Conflicts of Interest
Award recipients and sub-recipients must abide by the conflict of interest provisions laid out in 2 CFR 200.318. Recipients must develop internal protocols to identify, disclose, mitigate and eliminate conflicts of interest. Funds may not be used for lobbying activities. Failure to resolve conflicts of interest may result in termination of the award. The federal government has the right to obtain, publish, reproduce or use the data produced under a federal award.
Upon written request, DEMD may provide technical consultation to applicants. Additionally, DEMD provides technical capabilities and services to tribes at no cost, including searching reference materials for information on investigations and work performed in and around reservations; well log interpretation; technical and contour mapping capabilities; economic modeling and analysis for energy and mineral projects; marketing studies for energy and mineral commodities; and preliminary opportunity assessments for renewable energy resources.
This document is intended to provide you with general information regarding the Energy and Mineral Development Program grant opportunity. The contents of this document are not intended to provide specific legal advice. If you have any questions about the contents of this document or if you need legal advice as to an issue, please contact the attorneys listed or your regular Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP attorney. This communication may be considered advertising in some jurisdictions. The information in this article is accurate as of the publication date. Because the law in this area is changing rapidly, and insights are not automatically updated, continued accuracy cannot be guaranteed.