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The HMEP grant program evolved from a proposal developed by DOT, FEMA, EPA, DOL/OSHA, and DOE. It was presented to Congress during the legislative process to reauthorize the HMTA of 1974. Federal Hazardous Material Transportation Law (FHMTL) creates an appropriate role for the Federal government to provide financial, technical assistance, national direction, and guidance to enhance State and local hazardous materials emergency planning and training.
In August, 2005, President Bush signed the "Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety and Security Reauthorization Act of 2005," more than doubling the HMEP grants program and providing for a new Hazmat Instructor Training grant.
The HMEP grant program is carefully crafted to build upon existing programs and relationships. It increases the emphasis on transportation in ongoing efforts. The HMEP grant program was designed to support the framework and working relationships established within the National Response System and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA) of 1986 (Title III).
Planning Grants FHMTL authorizes $5 million in annual planning grants to States, Territories, and Native American tribes -- with a required 75% pass-through of funds to LEPCs.
These planning grants are to be used for: developing, improving, and implementing emergency plans under Title III; conducting commodity flow studies; and determining the need for regional hazardous material response. Training Grants FHMTL authorizes $7.8 million in annual training grants to States, Territories, and Native American Tribes -- with 75% of the funding used to provide training to local responders, including volunteers.
Training grants are to be used for training public sector employees to respond safely and efficiently to accidents and incidents involving the transportation of hazardous materials.
Curriculum Guidelines - Development Using curriculum guidelines prepared by a National consensus author team process, States will qualify courses they use for hazardous materials training.
The list of courses mandated by Congress will consist of State qualified courses. In this way, a national list of courses will be generated in full partnership with the States.
Assistance is being given to States in using the qualification mechanism contained in the curriculum guidelines.
Coordination - The Training and Curriculum subcommittee of the National Response Team's Preparedness Committee, co-chaired by DOT and FEMA USFA, provides coordination for the HMEP grant program at the Federal level.
Assistance is supplied to grantees by DOT staff insuring accomplishment of objectives and proper expenditure of funds.