Decoding the Federal Alphabet Soup Reveals Association’s Efforts

Recently, NPCA staff has been working on national level issues to develop programs and initiatives that maximize benefits to NPCA producers. Here is a brief review of acronyms you may have encountered recently and an explanation of NPCA’s work on the federal level:


An environment product declaration, or EPD, is a document that transparently communicates the environmental performance or impact of any product or material over its lifetime. Within the construction industry, EPDs support carbon emission reduction by making it possible to compare the impacts of different materials and products to select the most sustainable option. An EPD is usually valid for five years and is generated according to the relevant standards. Construction EPDs are based on the ISO 14040/14044, ISO 14025, EN 15804 or ISO 21930 standards. EPDs help to achieve EPD and life-cycle assessment credits in certifications like LEED, BREEAM and others.

To date, EPDs in construction projects and manufacturing are voluntary. However, their use is rapidly growing in line with awareness about environmental impacts; to satisfy marketplace and consumer interests; and greenhouse gas emission objectives of federal, state and local governments. To that end, federal government efforts are under way to reduce the embodied carbon of construction materials and products through Buy Clean programs. Under the Inflation Reduction Act that Congress passed and President Joe Biden signed in 2022, the EPA and other federal agencies are required to address embodied carbon of construction materials.

To meet that objective, the U.S. EPA is undertaking a grant program called Reducing Embodied Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Construction Materials and Products. The goal of the grant program is to support businesses that manufacture construction materials and products to develop and verify EPDs, and to states and nonprofit organizations that will support such businesses. The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) closed Jan. 16. The anticipated notification of funding selection is May 1, with anticipated awards made in the summer.

NPCA joins with industry allies for EPA grant program on EPDs

In January, NPCA and the American Concrete Pipe Association (ACPA) filed a grant application with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as subrecipients with the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) as the primary grant applicant/recipient. This industry partnership is formed to implement the Precast Concrete Carbon Reporting (PCCR) project, empowering precast concrete manufacturers to develop and produce compliant EPDs. The funding request is $9,975,000 for the project spanning a required five years.

In Precast Today Q4 2023, we laid out how a company can complete an EPD to present transparent, verified and comparable information about the life-cycle environmental impact of its products.


A Project Labor Agreement (PLA) is a type of collective bargaining agreement unique to the construction industry. They can be used in pre-hire collective bargaining agreements negotiated between construction unions and construction contractors that establish the terms and conditions of employment for construction projects.

Calling for the use of PLAs and PLA preferences on federal and federally assisted construction projects has become government policy under the Biden Administration’s “Bidenonmics,” but took hold in 2009 when President Barack Obama signed Executive Order13502, “Use of Project Labor Agreement for Federal Construction Projects” that encouraged executive agencies to consider requiring the use of PLA on large-scale direct federal construction projects defined as a total cost of $25 million or more.

In 2022, Biden issued a new Executive Order 14063 requiring PLAs for most large-scale federal construction projects where total estimated cost to the Federal Government is $35 million or more.

NPCA joins coalition opposing the implementation of the Biden Executive Order

Along with a diverse group of construction and business associations whose membership employs millions of construction industry professionals, NPCA asked U.S. Senators and Representatives to pass legislation opposing this policy of pushing controversial and anti-competitive PLAs on federal construction projects funded by U.S. taxpayers.

The signers state that PLA mandates artificially exacerbate a significant shortage of construction industry skilled labor, discourage competition from large, small and disadvantaged construction businesses; and needlessly increase construction costs.

The coalition encourages the Fair and Open Competition Act (FOCA) legislation as a solution to the pro-PLA rule. The bills the coalition supports are HR 1209, led by Congressman James Comer of Kentucky in the House, and S. 537, by Senator Todd Young of Indiana. FOCA seeks to counteract the special interest bias by prohibiting federal agencies from mandating PLAs. Instead, federal agencies would be able to award contracts to businesses that voluntarily utilize PLAs before or after a fair and open competitive bidding process. Twenty-five states already have laws like FOCA for state and local government procurement of construction contracts. This approach promotes fairness, efficiency and transparency in government contracting.


Greenhouse gases (GHG) trap heat in the atmosphere. These gases include carbon dioxide, methane and fluorinated gases.

Each gas’s effect on climate change depends on three main factors: concentration, or abundance, of a particular gas in the air; the length of time greenhouse gases stay in the atmosphere and the impact of the gases in the atmosphere.

For each greenhouse gas, a Global Warming Potential (GWP) was developed to allow comparisons of the global warming impacts of different gases. Specifically, it is a measure of how much energy the emissions of 1 ton of a gas will absorb over a given period of time, typically a 100-year time horizon, relative to the emissions of 1 ton of carbon dioxide (CO2). Gases with a higher GWP absorb more energy, per ton emitted, than gases with a lower GWP, and thus are designated as contributing more to warming Earth.

NPCA signs letter on FHWA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Performance Measure Rule

NPCA signed a letter in February supporting Congressional efforts to halt the greenhouse gas regulation that was finalized on Nov. 23. Under the new rule, the Federal Highway Administration can impose GHG emissions performance measures on state departments of transportation and metropolitan planning organizations despite having no authority from Congress to do so under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). One significant effort in Congress is the use of a Congressional Review Act or CRA. This is a Joint Resolution of Disapproval to nullify the FHWA rule and illustrates Congress’ objection to the overreach by the FHWA. Co-sponsors on Capitol Hill of the bicameral CRA are Congressman Rick Crawford (R-Arkansas), Senator Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), along with Congressman Sam Graves (R-Missouri) and Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Joe Manchin (D-WV).

The letter was posted to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee website.