EPA webcast explores 'Buy American' provision of Recovery Act

WASHINGTON, DC, June 23, 2009 -- The Environmental Protection Agency held a public webcast on June 22, 2009 to outline its guidelines for the implementation of the Buy American provision in the ARRA...

WASHINGTON, DC, June 23, 2009 -- The Environmental Protection Agency held a public webcast on June 22, 2009 to outline its guidelines for the implementation of the Buy American provision in the ARRA. Among the key take-aways were the following points:

• Substantial Transformation. The EPA has made it official that their guideline for "made in the United States" for manufactured goods requires "substantial transformation" in the US from the component parts. To help utilities determine whether or not a good has been substantially transformed, the EPA provided a series of questions (slides 27-29).

• Responsibility. The EPA clearly has placed responsibility for compliance on the "assistance recipient" (the utility). "As a condition of accepting funding from the state, the recipient has accepted the responsibility of ensuring compliance." They also stated "let the buyer beware" when it comes to Buy American compliance.

• NAFTA & Other International Treaties. The EPA reinforced its earlier stated position that for the vast majority of cases, NAFTA does not apply to water utilities and therefore is not an excuse for not buying American-made goods.

• Enforcement. Along with putting the onus on the utility, the EPA also talked about how serious false statements can be regarding Buy American compliance. They outlined that the OIG (Office of the Inspector General) will be very diligent about pursuing cases of fraud (slides 65-71). "This is serious stuff."

>> Download the slides used by the EPA in the presentation.

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