EPA Opens Comment Period for BABA Waiver for SRF Projects Submitted Before 5/14/22

The public has until June 29, 2022, to provide comments to EPA on a waiver for the requirements under Build America, Buy America (BABA). The Agency is proposing to waive BABA requirements for State Revolving Fund (SRF) projects that submitted engineering plans and specifications to a state agency before May 14, 2022 – the day BABA went into effect. Under the waiver, “submitted engineering plans and specifications” also applies to “situations where a project does not require engineering plans and specifications (such as simple pipe or equipment replacement projects funded by an SRF), whereby the bid advertisement date may count in lieu of the plans and specifications date.”

Without this waiver, EPA is concerned that prospective SRF recipients may decline to use these funds and instead opt for more expensive sources of financing to avoid re-designing and re-permitting a project. Additionally, the Agency raises concerns that imposing these restrictions “could conflict with both EPA’s, as well as the states’, interest in providing funding to eligible assistance recipients in an expeditious and efficient manner” and that these delays could adversely impact the protection of public health and the environment. EPA is clear that this waiver does not change the requirements for American Iron and Steel, which were already in place. Comments should be sent to BABA-OW@epa.gov.