EPA Grants Partial Waiver of Buy American Provision

April 7, 2009
AGC of America has expressed substantial concerns with EPA about the impact of the Recovery Act's Buy American requirements on "shovel ready" water infrastructure projects eligible for EPA funding through the Clean Water and Drinking Water SRF programs.  After numerous discussions with AGC the EPA has announced that it will grant a waiver from the "Buy American" provision attached to economic stimulus funds to avoid blocking another part of the stimulus legislation that provides for refinancing of debt for water projects.

According to the notice, (during the crafting of stimulus language) "States and utilities increasingly reported that action on eligible projects that State SRFs wished to support and for which there was available funding under the base SRF program were being deferred, in the hope of obtaining more advantageous financing terms from the ARRA appropriation. In part because this deferral of financing and construction for genuinely ''shovel ready'' projects was in direct conflict with the most fundamental economic recovery purposes of ARRA, Congress adopted this refinancing provision to enable eligible projects which began creating jobs after October 1, 2008, to receive ARRA funding to recognize and support those projects'."


EPA further states in the notice that many of the water projects that are candidates for refinancing may have contracted for non-U.S. steel or other components under the original financing before the Recovery Act was enacted Feb. 17. As a result, EPA has issued the waiver of the Buy American provision to avoid interfering with the refinancing provisions concluding that delaying "shovel ready" projects "would be inconsistent with the public interest."


EPA is still working on developing its final guidance for State recipients of SRF funds in order to comply with updated guidance from OMB which was released by on April 3, 2009 containing further details on "Buy American" and other significant issues with respect to adherance with international trade agreements, reporting job creation and other important infrastructure components of the stimulus.  


For a complete copy of the EPA waiver notice click here.

For a complete copy of OMB Guidance released on April 3, 2009 click here.


For additional information contact Perry L. Fowler at



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