Alicia Amberg Headshot
Alicia Amberg
Executive Director
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Executive Director’s Message
From DC to Alaska

Federal regulation updates and how they impact the 49th state

By Alicia Amberg

n mid-September, Associated General Contractors, or AGC, of Alaska leaders traveled to Washington, D.C. for the AGC National Chapter Leadership Conference and to meet with the Alaska Congressional delegation to talk over issues of concern—as usual, there are many. Here is what topped our to-do list.

Labor and Employment: Davis-Bacon and More
In August, the US Department of Labor, or DOL, Wage and Hour Division announced a final rule to significantly revise the regulations implementing the Davis-Bacon Act and its prevailing wage for the first time in nearly forty years. The Davis-Bacon Act and seventy-one related acts collectively apply to an estimated $217 billion in federal and federally assisted construction spending per year and provide minimum wage rates for an estimated 1.2 million US construction workers.

AGC of America was successful in paring down some of the more controversial proposals in the more-than-700-page rulemaking. Nevertheless, a preliminary analysis shows that more work will be covered under Davis-Bacon than in previous years and that DOL still critically missed an opportunity to improve the wage-determination process. There are resources available on the AGC website to help you and your company navigate these changes, which will go into effect around the time this column is published.

Build America, Buy America Act
As part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Biden Administration passed the Build America, Buy America Act, or BABAA, in 2021. The Made in America Office, or MIAO, recently released final guidance for BABAA implementation. (Enough acronyms, anyone?) The act requires a domestic content preference for iron or steel products, manufactured products, and construction materials. BABAA effectively expands long-existing Buy America requirements applicable to federal-aid transportation projects and to all other types of federal-aid construction projects. BABAA does not apply to direct federal construction projects that fall under the Buy American Act, which dates back to 1933 and requires the federal government to purchase American-made steel, iron, and manufactured goods whenever possible.

The MIAO provides a five-page summary (found at and the complete 162-page guidance (found at Summary materials and resources are also available on the AGC website.

More WOTUS Woes
The Environmental Protection Agency and the US Army Corps of Engineers intend to increase the span of projects (found at, requiring federal permits under Waters of the United States, or WOTUS, most likely through a final ruling based on the US Supreme Court’s decision on Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency (found at AGC urges federal agencies to issue approved jurisdictional determinations to minimize the delay of critical infrastructure. The Sackett case suggests that isolated water features, non-adjoining wetlands, and ordinarily dry features (like seasonal ditches) do not fall under WOTUS. AGC and coalition allies have advised what the new rule should cover (found at
It’s Getting Hot in Here
Occupational Health and Safety Administration, or OSHA, plans to address workplace heat exposure. Our summer may have been cool here in Alaska, but our building brethren to the south scorched under record temperatures. OSHA plans to require employers to regulate facility temperature. Though it is early in the process, AGC has submitted comments and questions about these rules.