WASHINGTON — The Steel Manufacturers Association commented on today’s U.S. General Services Administration announcement of major construction projects tentatively selected for funding under the Inflation Reduction Act. The announcement earmarked $388 million for investment in steel products.
SMA President Philip K. Bell stated, “We will be there every step of the way to ensure that every federal project has the lowest-emissions steel it needs. However, we are concerned that in today’s announcement the GSA referenced ‘lessons learned’ from the Buy Clean pilot program it initiated in May.”
GSA launched the Buy Clean low-carbon construction materials pilot program that advocated for a bifurcated scale to measure carbon intensity, over the objections of the SMA, nearly a year ago. It uses an unfair and counterproductive dual standard to favor steel produced by high-emitting, fossil-fuel-intensive processes over steel made from recycled materials and low-emitting production processes.
Bell added, “I assume the lessons learned from the GSA pilot program is that this should be about one thing: getting the cleanest steel available, period. Instead, the pilot program, as designed, attempts to validate ways that steelmakers who rely heavily on extractive raw materials such as coal, coking coal and iron can call their steel clean. Buying that steel for federally funded construction projects increases harmful carbon emissions and should not be considered buying clean. It also hurts American steelmakers who have invested billions in clean steelmaking technology and the tens of thousands of Americans who make the cleanest steel in the world. SMA members make the products that go into America’s buildings, bridges and other crucial infrastructure, including construction projects managed by federal, state and local governments. They stand ready to help GSA complete projects with the lowest possible impact on the environment.”