Build America, Buy America Implementation Guidance Expected Soon Ahead of May 15th Start Date
As previously reported, NACWA has been engaging with the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and EPA as they prepare for Build America, Buy America (BABA) requirements to take effect on May 15th.
BABA is a significant policy change made through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) that expands Buy America requirements to cover construction materials and manufactured goods and applies them to all federal infrastructure financing programs moving forward – including water, transportation, energy, and many other areas receiving federal government investment.
The expansion advances a key goal of President Biden – one supported by a broad swath of Congress, across parties – to increase domestic manufacturing, encourage reshoring of production and advance American innovation.
Implementation is being headed by OMB’s Made in America Office, created at the start of the Biden Administration to advance those goals. OMB has been working to craft implementation instructions which will guide the federal agencies charged with implementing BABA requirements through their investment programs – including EPA, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Energy, and more.
In advance of the release of this implementation guidance, OMB held a cross-agency stakeholder listening session March 28 which NACWA participated in to raise the unique concerns of the water sector related to BABA roll-out. Issues raised by NACWA included how the new requirements will impact projects already in the pipeline and how readily waivers will be available for specific technologies or engineering solutions which may not be available domestically.
On the call, the agencies invited additional stakeholder comments, which can be emailed to Lillian.M.Welch@omb.eop.gov. NACWA encourages individual utilities to consider submitting comment letters and specific examples of concerns. NACWA also thanks those utilities that have previously submitted feedback to OMB.
Once the implementation guidance is out to federal agencies, EPA will be charged with applying the requirements to all of its water funding programs. Contact Kristina Surfus, NACWA’s Managing Director of Government Affairs, with questions or to discuss further.