On Aug. 15, ABC submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in support of its proposed Small Projects and De Minimis General Applicability Waivers for Buy America requirements.
The $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law in November 2021, included the “Build America, Buy America Act,” which expanded and made significant changes to Buy America requirements for federally funded infrastructure projects. The IIJA broadens Buy America preferences to include nonferrous metals, such as copper used in electric wiring; plastic- and polymer-based products; glass, including optical fiber; and certain other construction materials, such as lumber and drywall.
The EPA’s proposed waivers would apply to water infrastructure projects funded through the agency’s federal assistance programs. The Small Projects waiver would exempt all projects receiving less than $250,000 in funds, and the De Minimis waiver would exempt products that comprise 5% or less of a project’s total materials cost.
ABC’s comments supported both waivers and urged the EPA to engage in further study and public comment periods prior to implementing Buy America requirements, especially in light of economic headwinds impacting the construction industry. In the comments, ABC supports strategies to expand domestic jobs and manufacturing to avoid global supply chain disruptions and strengthen the American economy but urges the EPA to ensure Buy America requirements safeguard against increased costs and delays of taxpayer-funded infrastructure.
ABC will continue to monitor implementation of Buy America requirements and participate in the regulatory process.