The Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Assn. (WWEMA) has developed a new website portal providing extensive information and resources regarding the effects of the “Buy American” provisions in recently enacted legislation on water and wastewater infrastructure funding.
The 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act and the Water Resources Reform and Development Act both contain language imposing “American Iron and Steel” restrictions on federally funded water and wastewater projects. Such restrictions increase project costs and delay project timelines, disrupt established manufacturing supply chains, stifle competition both inside and outside U.S. borders, and lead to retaliatory legislation in other countries.
The WWEMA site, “What You Should Know About Buy American,” provides the only online repository of its kind on the topic.
“WWEMA has long been a leader in opposing restrictions on trade,” said WWEMA Executive Director Vanessa Leiby. “While ‘Buy American’ makes a nice sound bite, it has unintended consequences that can be devastating to manufacturers right here in the United States. This online portal is a one-stop resource to help manufacturers and other key stakeholders understand the legislation as well as its potential impact on their businesses and water and wastewater infrastructure projects.”
The new site covers:
- • The legislation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s guidance regarding interpretation and enforcement. These sections offer links to the acts and the guidance and include the definitions of “iron and steel products,” “municipal castings,” and “construction materials” affected by the laws.
- • WWEMA’s position, response, and strategy for promoting fair and open trade. WWEMA has opposed “Buy American” since its introduction in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and has since led the charge to fight such provisions. These sections of the site examine the problems caused by unduly restrictive trade measures and link to more than a dozen letters and articles the Association has issued to speak out against them.
- • WWEMA fact sheet. WWEMA developed a one-page fact sheet titled, “Buy American: How Does It Affect Your Business?” offering a quick overview of the legislation and the association’s position on it.
- • International response to the provisions. “Buy American” has led to a backlash from the United States’ international trading partners, including Canada and the European Union. This section links to several cases of retaliation.
- • Enforcement. Failure to comply with “Buy American” requirements can result in fund denial/withdrawal, and falsifying documents can lead to stiff legal fines. This section includes links to related cases.
- • Additional resources. This section includes links to additional helpful guides to the legislation and other organizations’ policies and positions on it.
The portal can be accessed from the WWEMA home page at www.wwema.org.