TAGs, TAPs & TASCs Comparison

TAGs, TAPs and TASCs all provide communities with the means for independent technical expertise and education. Each also has its own nuances, advantages and disadvantages. We will go over those here.

Technical Assistance Grant

TAGs provide money for activities that help your community participate in decision making at eligible Superfund sites. An initial grant of up to $50,000 is available to qualified community groups so they can contract with independent technical advisors to interpret and help the community understand technical information about their site.

The program was established by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980. TAGs are available at Superfund sites that are on the EPA’s National Priorities List (NPL) or proposed for listing on the NPL, and for which a response action has begun. Source.

Funds cannot be used for litigation.

- TAGs can only be used for National Priorities List (NPL) Superfund sites.
- Only groups that are non-profit and incorporated (or in the process of becoming incorporated) can apply. The group MUST be a 501C3.
- Group members must live near and be potentially affected by the Superfund Site and be representative of the community
- Groups that are not eligible for TAGs include the following:

  • Academic institutions
  • Potentially responsible parties (also called PRPs), representatives of a PRP or groups that receive money or services from PRPs.
  • Groups that are not incorporated for the specific purpose of representing affected people.
  • Townships or municipalities (also called political subdivisions) or groups affiliated with a national organization that has direct or indirect control over your group. Source.

- Designed for groups that are interested in becoming more involved in the decision-making process for a nearby Superfund site, but need help understanding the technical issues and want to share information with the whole community. Source.
- Allows recipient group to use funds for their own community work.
- Funds carry over from year to year with no cost extensions and are renewable after 3 years.

- Limited eligibility.
- Longer application process.

Helpful Links:
Apply for a TAG
EPA’s TAG resources page

Technical Assistance Service for Communities

TASC is a program that provides independent educational and technical assistance to communities. TASC primarily supports the Superfund program.

TASCs are operated by a third party company for example Skeo Solutions in Charlottesville, VA through the EPA. The company either operates at the site directly or by use of consultants and subcontractors. The process can be done quickly, sometimes in a matter of weeks.

Funds cannot be used for litigation.

- Usually, EPA preserves TASC resources for communities that are not eligible for a TAG or do not have potential access to a TAP.
- Any group that is looking to share the benefits of the support they receive through TASC with the rest of the affected community can request TASC services, as long as they live in or near the affected area. Source.

- While TASC is similar to TAGs and TAPs in providing opportunities for independent technical assistance, TASC assistance can meet other needs as well. In particular, it can provide job training assistance through the Superfund Job Training Initiative.
- TASC can be used for NPL/Superfund Sites as well as other Hazardous waste cleanup actions like removal actions or cleanups administered under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, or RCRA.

- TASC representatives are chosen by the EPA, not the community, and the grant money is never in the hands of the community. Instead it is used by the EPA to provide prearranged technical services.

Helpful Links:
Apply for TASC
What TASC can do for your community
TASC Brochure

Technical Assistance Program

Enables community groups to retain the services on an independent technical advisor to help interpret and understand technical service information. The TAP can also provide resources for a community group to help inform other community members about site decisions. TAP guidelines are modeled on the TAG program.

Unlike other forms of community technical assistance, which are funded by the EPA or other government entities, TAPs are funded by potentially responsible parties (PRPs) through provisions in a negotiated settlement agreement. The purpose of TAPs is to ensure that communities affected by such settlements have a technical assistance opportunity that is at lease equivalent to the opportunities available to other communities via TAGs.Source.

Funds cannot be used for litigation.

- Generally, an eligible community group should be able to demonstrate that it represents the diversity of local interests, and must be able to demonstrate its ability to adequately and responsibly manage TAP related responsibilities.
- Groups are not eligible to receive TAP services if such groups are established or supported by a PRP, a national organization, an academic institution, a political subdivision, or a tribal government.
- Community groups do NOT have to be 501C3s to receive TAP funds.

- A seemingly direct way to hold the PRP financially accountable for the site.
- Less paperwork.
- Does not require matching effort by community group.

- Unlike TAGs, which become available at the outset of EPA’s involvement at an eligible site, TAPs become available only after a settlement agreement containing a TAP provision has been finalized between EPA and a PRP, which can be a tedious process.
- Same amount of money is provided as with a TAG ($50,000), but includes more stipulations than the other two programs, such as certain approvals and “signing off” by the PRP itself.
- This type of community aid incorporates much more PRP involvement and deference than simply writing the check.

Helpful Links:
Apply for TAP
Tips for TAP recipients