Watchdog warns EPA to track ‘Buy America’ waivers

By Kevin Bogardus | 05/09/2024 01:26 PM EDT

The inspector general said the agency needs to up its monitoring of infrastructure projects.

President Joe Biden joined travels to Covington, Kentucky, to highlight his economic plan.

President Joe Biden in Covington, Kentucky, to highlight his economic plan on rebuilding infrastructure, Jan. 4, 2023. An EPA watchdog report warned EPA to improve tracking of waivers for infrastructure projects. Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

EPA’s internal watchdog found the agency did not keep tabs on waivers it issued for infrastructure projects meant to be made in America.

EPA’s Office of Inspector General said in a report released Thursday that the agency didn’t always keep track of its waivers from the Build America, Buy America Act. That finding comes as EPA is set to receive over $60 billion from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in the years ahead, a historic amount of cash that heightens the risk of fraud and waste at the agency.

“Strict monitoring of Build America, Buy America Act waivers can ensure the EPA is meeting the intent of the IIJA to maximize domestic investment in job-creating infrastructure projects,” said EPA Inspector General Sean O’Donnell in a statement.


O’Donnell added, “EPA oversight of waivers is vital, regardless of legal obligation, to hold infrastructure projects accountable for growth in American jobs and markets.”