New Executive Order on Buy-American Preferences Published

Late last week, the President signed Executive Order 13858 – “Strengthening Buy-American Preferences for Infrastructure Projects” – that was published in the Federal Register today (February 5th). It’s a short Executive Order (a little over two pages) and it’s not completely clear how it might impact the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund (DWSRF). However, the impacts could be minor, or they could be significant, depending on the implementation details.

First, it substitutes “Federal financial assistance” for “Federal grants”, so it likely covers loans. Second, it covers a broader range of construction products and materials, as it applies to “non-ferrous metals such as aluminum; plastics and polymer-based products such as polyvinyl chloride pipe; aggregates such as concrete; glass, including optical fiber; and lumber”. Third, it’s different from the American Iron and Steel Requirements, in that it “encourages recipients of new Federal financial assistance awards pursuant to a covered program to use, to the greatest extent practicable, iron and aluminum as well as steel, cement, and other products produced in the United States…” within 90 days. Finally, within 120 days, “the head of each agency administering a covered program (such as the DWSRF) shall identify in a report to the President … any tools, techniques, terms or conditions that have been used or could be used … to maximize the use of iron and aluminum as well as steel, cement, and other manufactured products produced in the United States”. So, we will know more after EPA develops its report within 120 days and ASDWA will keep its members informed as more detailed information becomes available.