Clean Water Current
EPA Releases Proposed SRF BABA Waiver—Member Input Requested
On Tuesday, June 15, EPA released its draft waiver from Build America, Buy America (BABA) requirements for the State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs. This waiver has been much anticipated by utilities that use the SRF. BABA requirements took effect May 14, 2022 and utilities and the states have been anxious for more guidance on what sort of flexibility will be provided to projects that are already in the SRF pipeline. The waiver will impact traditional annual SRF funding and the influx of funds coming over the next five years from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).
The proposed waiver would exempt from BABA any SRF projects that “submitted engineering plans and specifications to an appropriate state agency prior to May 14, 2022, the statutory effective date of the BABA requirements.” This is different, and not as generous, as the recently-released WIFIA waiver, which exempts projects that “initiated design planning” prior to that date. It could exclude projects in the SRF pipeline that may have already spent considerable resources designing projects and selecting materials and providers.
NACWA has been in touch with EPA regarding the waiver and intends to comment prior ahead of the June 29 deadline. Members are encouraged to review and send their reactions and comments to Kristina Surfus, NACWA Managing Director of Government Affairs, by June 22. Members with projects that may be impacted may also want to consider submitting their own comments to EPA, which can be done by emailing BABA-OW@epa.gov.