'Buy American' - Enforcement

Under the 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act, recipients of Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Funds must specify "American Iron and Steel" language in all contracts, from the assistance agreements down to purchase agreements, and must maintain certification that project materials meet the AIS requirements.

Manufacturers are responsible for providing those certifications to the recipients. [Sample certification documentation can be found on pages 19-20 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's guidance.]

Failure to maintain the proper certifications can result in fund denial/withdrawal, and falsifying documents can lead to stiff legal fines. We have seen this enforcement in past "Buy American" legislation. For example:

Jett Industries Inc. - On May 28, 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Jett Industries agreed to pay the United States $500,000 to settle allegations that the company had violated the False Claims Act by falsely certifiying compliance with the "Buy American" provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) in constructing a water pump station.

Itasca, Illinois - In March 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Inspector General conducted an unannounced visit to the Village of Itasca, Illinois, based on a hotline complaint that plans for a new wastewater treatment plant in the Village did not comply with ARRA "Buy American" provisions and therefore did not qualify for $10 million in funds authorized by the state. Inspectors found Itasca in non-compliance, leading to a withdrawal of the funds.