OMB Finalizing Buy America Guidance
Based on a call that WWEMA leadership had with EPA on March 1, 2022, it appears that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is putting the finishing touches on the long-awaited Buy America guidance for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Our understanding is that the draft guidance has been sent to the OMB general counsel for review and the release is expected in days or weeks…. not months.
It is anticipated that the guidance will be fairly skeletal in nature as it needs to apply across all Federal Agencies. It will likely focus on key definitions in the law rather than details about implementation that will be left to individual Agencies to develop. It will likely not include the concept of substantial transformation and will likely take a narrow view that cost is determined based on material cost – not including labor, freight, commissions, etc.
The challenging work of developing implementation guidance will then fall on individual Agencies. WWEMA has a long history of working collaboratively with the key staff at EPA on this issue and will continue to do so as they develop their implementation guidance. Stay tuned as more information becomes available!
WWEMA is Collecting Input on BA Compliance and Challenges
To help inform our conversation on Buy America implementation guidance development with EPA, WWEMA is gathering information from our members on critical issues such as foundry and stainless steel capacity, non-iron and steel materials availability, and electronics availability. While we are gathering information about products and components that are not currently sourced in the U.S., we are also seeking to ensure that those U.S. companies that can source their products domestically continue to have sufficient access to iron, steel, and other materials they need in sufficient quantity and at a fair and competitive price. We are particularly interested in gathering information on manufactured products and what it will take for companies to determine if at least 55% of the cost of the components can be sourced domestically. The May 15, 2022 compliance deadline is fast approaching and we want to be ready to quickly and effectively work with EPA to finalize their implementation guidance. If you are not a WWEMA member but would like to be part of this effort, please contact WWEMA Executive Director Vanessa Leiby at (240) 678-4623.
WWEMA Continues Buy America Education and Advocacy
As an association, WWEMA has been leading education and advocacy efforts for the water industry on the new Buy America domestic content requirements associated with Federal infrastructure funding even before they became law. Early on, WWEMA was the unique voice of the water technology provider, alerting government agencies and others about the potential of these requirements to significantly impact project schedules and costs, as well as possibly limit what advanced or innovative technologies are available for selection by utilities. We anticipate most companies in our industry will be impacted regardless of their domestic production and sourcing, as most will need to compete for a more limited (and likely more costly) supply of goods and also because their products may be part of a larger technology package that could be delayed due to these requirements.
On January 20, 2022, WWEMA sent a letter to Office of Water Assistant Administrator Radhika Fox and Celeste Drake, the Director of the Made in America Office at OMB offering its assistance to work with these agencies as they develop implementation guidance. Additionally, WWEMA has conducted a detailed industry product and component sourcing survey of its member companies. The results of this survey provide unique insight about this issue that will be shared with relevant Federal agencies to inform their program development in a way that benefits all in our industry.
Wondering how these requirements will affect your business? Want to lend your voice to this issue? Then contact WWEMA—the voice of the water and wastewater technology providers that is leading the conversation and driving this issue for our industry. We look forward to speaking with you!
WWEMA Participates in Infrastructure Webcast
On December 17, 2021, WWEMA Executive Director, Vanessa Leiby, along with, AWWA, NACWA, and WEF leaders participated in a WaterWorld webcast moderated by Alanna Maya, Chief Editor— WaterWorld, on deciphering the legislative language of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. On November 15, 2021, President Biden authorized this law that is a once-in-a-generation investment in U.S. infrastructure and provides a total of 1.2T for water infrastructure. Approximately $55B of that amount is new funding for SRF and WIFIA, lead service line replacement, and programs that address emerging contaminants such as PFAS. This webcast, which also included a detailed Question & Answer session, contains practical insight on what this legislation means for the water industry. To listen to an on-demand version of the webcast, go HERE
Visit with WWEMA!
Come visit with us! There is so much happening in water right now to discuss. We will be attending Texas Water 2022 and exhibiting at AWWA ACE! To schedule a time to connect at the Texas Water show, con
Engage with WWEMA
Join in the discussion about key issues of concern to manufacturers of water treatment technology, as well as their representatives, and others in our industry. These same groups comprise WWEMA membership. We encourage you to learn more about the many benefits of WWEMA membership by viewing the 12 Benefits of WWEMA Membership, listening to member testimonials, or reviewing a comprehensive explanation of the value of WWEMA HERE. Additional water industry news and information about WWEMA can be found on our website HERE.