Thursday, January 19, 2017

Proposed FAR Rules Regarding Sustainable Acquisition

The FAR Councils issued a proposed rule to amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation(FAR) to implement one of the President's executive order; Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade. This proposed rule promotes the acquisition of sustainable products, services, and construction methods in order to reduce energy and water consumption, reliance on natural resources, and enhance pollution prevention within the Federal Government.

Although the anticipated costs associated with this rule are not quantified in dollar amounts, the FAR Councils anticipate that any such impact will be outweighed by the expected benefits of the rule.

The EO and the accompanying regulations direct Federal agencies, where life-cycle cost-effective, to promote sustainable acquisition and procurement by ensuring that environmental performance and sustainability factors are included to the maximum extent practicable for all applicable procurements.

Sustainable products and services means products and services that meet statutory mandates for purchasing (i) recycled content products designated by EPA under the Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines, (ii) energy and water efficient products such as ENERGY STAR certified and Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) designated products identified by EPA and DOE and (iii) bio-based content products meeting the content requirement of the Agriculture Department under the BioPreferred program. Also included in this definition are products and services identified by EPA programs such as SNAP (Significant New Alternatives Policy), WaterSense, Safer Choice, and Certified, SmartWay products. Finally, the definition includes environmentally preferable products or services that meet or exceed specifications, standards, or labels recommended by EPA.

While this proposed regulation is based on a Presidential Executive Order (EO), the particular EO is found on many lists of EOs that could be rescinded once the new President takes office. It could be targeted for rescission for the simple reason that it will cost real dollars now in exchange for some nondescript intangible "future benefits".

The proposed regulations are extensive and can be viewed here. We suspect that a lot of contracting officers are hoping that these proposed regulations will never become final because they will significantly add to their workloads.

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