The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) recently proposed ruling to expand the Clean Water Act, this proposed ruling is being frowned upon by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) as they feel it does not provide the clarity and certainty that the construction industry seeks and could very well increase the cost of new homes. NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly, yesterday, stated that the rule will increase federal regulatory power over private property and will lead to increased litigation, permit requirements and lengthy delays for any business trying to comply.
According to the NAHB, the proposed rule would discourage the use of green development practices, bring about confusion by adding new, undefined terms, expand federal authority and say as to what are the appropriate permits on any construction projects that would include additional water features or working with water features that are already present and fails to appropriately clarify states' authority to regulate what has been historically deemed “states waters” under the protection of the Clean Water Act. The expanding of federal authority would also cause delay, and raise cost of appropriate permits, which at the present, are backlogged in a range of 15,000 to 20,000.
NAHB Chairman Kelly, also stated that the rule would add an additional layer of uncertainty for any small business trying to comply with the law. And that the new ruling does not add new protections for our nation's water resources, but inappropriately shifts the jurisdictional authority for most waters to the federal agencies. If the EPA and Corps are truly interested in developing a meaningful and balanced rule, they must take a more methodical and sensible approach.
At the request of NAHB and other stakeholders, the EPA yesterday announced a 91-day extension to the proposed rule’s public comment period from July 21 until Oct. 20, 2014.