Buying American: Supporting the American Economy



Unfair competition from foreign producers threatens the future of American manufacturers and workers, while at the same time

destroying our environment. With so many Americans out of work during these difficult economic times, our tax dollars should be used to “Buy Ameri- can” manufactured goods for taxpayer-financed projects, thus creating and preserving millions of high-paying jobs, slowing the migration of jobs and investment to countries such as China and India, and protecting our environment for future generations.

  • The movement away from domestic manufacturing endangers the American economy, and at the same time accelerates harm to the environment. American factories employ millions of Americans in high-paying jobs, who make their products with state-of-the-art, energy-efficient processes and pollution control systems. Most foreign producers operate under significantly lower pollution control standards and weaker, if not non- existent, enforcement.
  • Most federally supported infrastructure programs include a domestic preference. However, the primary federal water programs, the state revolving funds, do not. To counter these dangerous threats and correct this anomaly, Congress has passed legislation that would require the use of American iron, steel, and manufactured goods in the construction, alteration, and repair of public water systems and treatment works. This requirement would ensure that tax dollars spent on taxpayer-financed water infrastructure projects create American jobs and protect the environment.


  • The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) recently conducted a wide-ranging national poll of voters across the political spectrum about the nation’s economic crisis. Americans are united on some key issues. This poll, conducted by Mellman Group and Ayers, McHenry & Associates, highlights anxiety among a broad cross-section of voters about the economy, jobs, and the importance of revitalizing manufacturing in America.
  • This survey revealed strong support for Buy American policies:
  • 79% of voters have a favorable impression of Buy American policies, with 55% “very favorable”;
  • 90% of voters (70% strongly) believe that the United States should strictly enforce Buy American provisions to ensure that taxpayer funded government contracts use only U.S. made goods and supplies when- ever possible;


  • American iron and steel makers utilize high- efficiency control devices on melting and other hot metal operations to control particulate and other emissions. By contrast, emission controls on melt- ing operations at Chinese foundries are rudimentary at best, and often bypassed. Moreover, castings imported to the U.S. from China are often manufactured using antiquated, labor-intensive methods that are significantly less energy efficient and far more polluting.

Studies have shown that foundries in China or India generate much greater pollution for each ton of iron castings shipped than a foundry in the United States:

  • More than 20 times the particulates (9.4 lbs per ton versus 0.4 lbs per ton);
  • Almost 35 times more carbon monoxide (149.4 lbs per ton versus 4.4 lbs per ton);
  • More than 5 times as much Sulfur Dioxide (SO2);
  • Almost 3 times as much nitrogen oxides (NOx); and
  • China’s iron industry pollution is unhealthy for China and the world. China is the largest source of both SO2 and carbon dioxide (CO2) in the world. China’s pollution is so severe that it can affect communities thousands of miles away. As one example, on smoggy days as much as 25% of the PM in the air over Los Angeles can be traced back to China.
  • The carbon footprint of China’s steel is also cause for alarm. China’s iron and steel industry now accounts for as much CO2 emissions as the rest of the global iron and steel industry combined. Each ton of iron castings produced in a Chinese foundry generates two to three times more greenhouse gas (GHG) than a U.S. iron foundry, and probably four to five times more if the additional GHG impacts of producing iron from iron ore are considered.


  • McWane, Inc. is a family-owned business based in Birmingham, Alabama, with 25 manufacturing plants in the United States, including operations in the states of Alabama, Cali- fornia, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Utah. The company employs approximately 4,280 U.S. workers, who focus on the safe and sustainable manufacture of ductile iron pipe, fittings, hydrants, and valves. These and other products provide the backbone of vital water distribution and wastewater treatment systems across North America, and dependably provide the U.S. with clean drinking water.
  • Many of McWane’s competitors have moved their manufacturing overseas or elected to import their foreign products at the expense of American jobs and to avoid U.S. environmental and workplace health and safety standards.
  • McWane remains committed to American workers and American Industry. Over the past decade McWane has spent almost$600 million to modernize, improve, and increase the efficiency of its domestic production facilities. This investment included more than $300 million in environmental, health, and safety improvements that ensure the safest and most environmentally friendly operations in the waterworks foundry industry. McWane is now the industry leader in environmental, health, and safety performance.


  • “Buy American” requirements ensure that our tax dollars support American manufacturers who create and support jobs for Americans, and help protect our environment for future generations. On the other hand, spending tax dollars on foreign goods only benefits foreign producers who have never invested in the US, and whose operations cause daily harm to the environment. It also rewards those companies who moved their operations, investment dollars, and jobs to other countries, where they are not required to follow environmental and safety regulations and where energy inefficient processes are the norm.
  • In short, a vote for Buy American is a vote for American jobs, and a vote for the environment.


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