Unchanged Permit Process Favored by Environmental Regulators
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) applauds the Bush administration for a decision made by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) not to issue Effluent Limitation Guidelines (ELGs) related to storm water permit regulations. EPA's decision leaves the current storm water permitting regulations unchanged, a move supported not only by NAHB but also by state and local environmental regulators.
"The administration definitely made the right choice by recognizing the unnecessary burdens of added regulation. EPA already has comprehensive storm water permitting rules in place that limit site runoff and protect our environment," said Bobby Rayburn, president of the National Association of Home Builders and a home and apartment builder from Jackson, Miss. "Adding a new rule would have resulted in significant increases in new home building costs to the tune of $3.5 billion a year, that is approximately $1,700 for each new single family home. When providing affordable housing for America's working families is a national crisis, a new rule would be excessive and absolutely unnecessary."
Currently, Phase I and Phase II storm water permits contain safeguards that limit the amount of pollutants in storm water discharges from construction sites that disturb one or more acres of property. Confident in the strength of existing regulations, dozens of city, state and county environmental agencies opposed a new rule, along with NAHB and others. New ELG regulations were viewed as burdensome and unnecessary regulations that would encroach on state and local land use planning authority, while also adversely impacting thousands of small business owners, including home builders and developers.
"The existing federal permits, combined with flexibility to regulate at the state and local level, help guarantee that we can protect the environment while ensuring that all Americans have a safe, decent and affordable place to live," said Rayburn.
In comments submitted to EPA, state and local environmental regulators, NAHB and other groups argued that local control over storm water permits better enable them to tailor regulations to local environmental conditions, often with requirements more stringent than a national rule would have prescribed. The administration's decision allows the agency to focus on implementing its existing storm water regulations and conducting more educational outreach to the small business and home building communities.
"NAHB is committed to protecting the environment and working with EPA to ensure compliance with existing storm water permit regulations through ongoing education of our nation's home builders," said Rayburn.