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RESTORE Council Request for Public Comment on Proposed Waiver of Build America, Buy America Act


Hale Boggs Federal Building 500 Poydras Street Suite 1117 New Orleans, LA 70130 www.RestoreTheGulf.gov

The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council) is seeking public comment on a proposal to waive the requirements of the Build America Buy America Act (BABAA) for six months in order to provide the Council with the time needed to determine how best to address this new law. BABAA mandates that federal grants for infrastructure projects include conditions requiring that the iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used for such projects be produced in the United States. The Council needs to determine whether its funding is subject to BABAA and if so, how to most effectively address this law if and when it issues grants for infrastructure projects, which could include activities such as wastewater treatment and flood protection.


Background


In accordance with BABAA, the Council is proposing a general applicability adjustment period waiver of six (6) months, beginning upon the Council’s issuance of the waiver, of the BABAA domestic content procurement preference provisions as applied to federal financial assistance awards made by the Council pursuant to the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act).


The Council has determined that this adjustment period waiver is in the public interest in order to enable the Council to (a) align the requirements of BABAA with the Council-Selected Restoration Component and the Spill Impact Component of the RESTORE Act, both of which components are funded and administered by the Council; and (b) avoid immediate delays and disruptions to critically-important Council-funded infrastructure projects in the Gulf Coast region. Specifically, the adjustment period is needed in order for the Council to (i) determine if and how BABAA applies to its RESTORE Act projects and programs (collectively, “activities”); (ii) establish the administrative processes, documentation and capacity necessary for compliance with BABAA requirements for the long term, as appropriate; (iii) ensure that the Council maintains the continuity of its recipients’ activities; and (iv) closely coordinate among the six federal agencies and five states comprising the Council and, as appropriate, engage Council stakeholders, subrecipients, and the general public regarding BABAA.


Subject to the effective date of this proposed waiver set forth below, the waiver applies to Council funding approvals for infrastructure activities under the Council-Selected Restoration Component and Spill Impact Component of the RESTORE Act occurring on and after May 14, 2022; BABAA will not retroactively apply to funding approvals occurring before that date.


DATES


Beginning June 9, 2022, you may visit www.restorethegulf.gov to submit your comments before the close of the 15-day public comment period at 11:59 pm MT on June 24, 2022. This waiver will be effective upon the Council’s issuance of the waiver and will remain in effect for six months thereafter. After reviewing public comments, the Council will determine whether to proceed with this waiver with or without modifications to address public input.


ADDRESSES


If you wish to submit comments to the Council on this proposed waiver, you may visit www.restorethegulf.gov before 11:59 pm MT on June 24, 2022.


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How to Comment on Build America Buy America

Draft 2022 Comprehensive Plan Update Storymap

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Keala J. Hughes

Director of External Affairs & Tribal Relations

(504) 717-7235

keala.hughes@restorethegulf.gov