NACWA Joins Coalition Letter on Implementing Buy America Requirements in Infrastructure Bill
NACWA and other water sector organizations sent a letter this week to the Biden Administration regarding implementation of the Buy America, Build America (BABA) requirements that were signed into law as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).
The letter builds upon concerns the sector raised while IIJA was moving through Congress. While water – like many other sectors – raised concerns with various BABA provisions, Buy American requirements were a Congressional leadership priority and enjoy strong support from both parties.
With BABA signed into law, NACWA’s focus is now on working with the agencies charged with implementation to provide recommendations and address utility concerns regarding how the provisions could uniquely impact water infrastructure projects.
IIJA expanded Buy America requirements to all federal infrastructure investment programs moving forward and expands the requirements to manufactured goods. The White House established a Made in America Office, housed within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), during President Biden’s first week in office which will guide implementation.
The joint letter has three main asks—urging an ongoing dialogue between the water sector, OMB and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); requesting a public interest waiver for the water sector for certain manufactured goods; and urging that the new BABA requirements not be applied retroactively to projects already in the pipeline for federal water funding or financing.
We anticipate OMB, working closely with EPA, will be releasing guidance regarding BABA implementation early in 2022. NACWA will keep members apprised as conversations develop. To discuss further contact Kristina Surfus, NACWA Managing Director, Government Affairs.