FORTY MOST ASKED QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

Third Party Contracts


16. What is meant by the term "third party contracts" in connection with the preparation of an EIS, See Section 1506.5(c). When can "third party contracts" be used?

Answer:

As used by EPA and other agencies, the term "third party contracts" refers to the preparation of EISs by contractors paid be the applicant. In the case of an EIS for a National Pollution Discharge Elimination Storm (NPDES) permit, the applicant, aware in the early planning stages of the proposed project of the need for an EIS, contracts directly with a consulting firm for its preparation. See 40 CFR 6.604(g). The "third party" is EPA which, under Section 1506.5(c), must select the consulting firm, even though the applicant pays for the cost of preparing the EIS. The consulting firm is responsible to EPA for preparing an EIS that meets the requirements of the NEPA regulations and EPA's NEPA procedures. It is in the applicant's interest that the EIS comply with the law so that EPA can take prompt action on the NPDES permit application. The "third party contract" method under EPA's NEPA procedures is purely voluntary, though most applicants have found it helpful in expediting compliance with NEPA.

If a federal agency uses "third party contracting," the applicant may undertake the necessary paperwork for the solicitation of a field of candidates under the agency's direction, so long as the agency complies with Section 1506.5(c).

Federal procurement requirements do not apply to the agency because it incurs no obligations or costs under the contract, nor does the agency procure anything under the contract.

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