The National Association of Homebuilders has joined 200 other organizations and 33 states in asking Congress to shut down the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s effort to expand the reach of the Clean Water Act.
The EPA, which historically has applied the act to “navigable” and “interstate” bodies of water, last year proposed to redefine which bodies fall under federal regulatory control to “all tributaries, adjacent waters, wetlands and other waters.” NAHB and others have objected to those terms as broad and vague, and have said the new definition could subject ponds, creeks, and ditches on private property to federal oversight and their owners to additional regulatory red tape.
NAHB Chairman Tom Woods called the new definition of “Waters of the United States” “overreach” and said its adoption “would greatly increase the number of construction sites required to obtain a federal Clean Water Act permit, leading to bureaucratic delays and higher costs for new homes.”
NAHB is backing legislation introduced by Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., that would require the EPA to repeal its proposed "Waters of the United States" rule—also called the Clean Water Rule—which the agency sent to the White House last week. A congressional subcommittee is scheduled to meet today to discuss the proposal.
Woods said the rule would burden family-owned, small businesses, which he said dominate the homebuilding industry. The legislation to repeal the EPA’s expanded definition, he said, “is essential to ensure that the housing recovery is not further impeded.”