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NAHB Opposes Clean Water Act Expansion

comments (5) April 1st, 2014 in Blogs
ScottG Scott Gibson, contributing writer

Click To Enlarge Photo: Ben Garney at

The National Association of Home Builders says it opposes a proposal from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to broaden the scope of the federal Clean Water Act because it would make new houses more expensive without offering much of an environmental benefit.

In a news release, NAHB President Kevin Kelly said the EPA proposal would expand the definition of a "tributary" to include ditches, man-made canals, and other features that have a bed, bank, and high-water mark.

"It a waste of taxpayer resources to treat a rainwater ditch with the same scrutiny as we would the Delaware Bay," he said.

NAHB said the new rule would mean that the number of construction projects required to obtain permits would greatly increase, adding to the current "exorbitant backlog of permits ranging from 15,000 to 20,000."

As reported by The Washington Postthe EPA proposal would give the federal government regulatory authority over millions of acres of wetlands and 2 million miles of streams.

"These places are where we get our drinking water, and where we hunt, fish, swim, and play," EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said, according to the article.

The March 25 proposal is subject to a 90-day comment period to begin later in April.

Which bodies of water the Clean Water Act should cover has been a matter of debate for more than a decade, pitting farm and business interests against those who favor tougher protections for wetlands and streams that run only intermittently. While NAHB opposed the new rules, for example, Trout Unlimited wholeheartedly supported it.

Kelly said the revised rules would affect farmers and ranchers in addition to builders. Even homeowners might be required to get wetlands permits before starting landscaping projects, he said.

"It's clear to us that this new proposal is not at all what Congress intended when it told EPA to clarify its jurisdictional reach," Kelly said in a prepared statement. "The agency needs to go back to work on this. We need to protect the environment with a carefully crafted rule, not this hurried, catch-all attempt. Adding this layer of regulation makes the land-development process more expensive and time consuming. That's bad news for homebuyers and for the economy."

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Comments (5)

FarrellMackennon FarrellMackennon writes: Although I can see where the Association is coming from with all of this, I have to agree that it's important for something to be done about our standards of plumbing around the whole country. Clearing the backlog of permits however is an entirely different matter though, and the environment agency REALLY needs to do something about THAT for sure!
Posted: 4:57 am on September 26th

pizza pizza writes: Have you ever noticed when jobs or businesses/economy are threatened , protecting the environment goes out the window. Typical dumb consumerist response.

Mother nature is NOT chugging along just fine. We're polluting this planet every day with our exploding population. Our drinking water, that you and our future generations are drinking is under enormous threats.

Look at all of the TRASH that the search for flight MH370 has spotlighted in our oceans. There are BILLIONS of tons out there and that's just on the surface.

The EPA is not perfect by any means, and sometimes I question what big business has influenced them with big money, but we're trying to look out for all of our health and that means the environment should come FIRST before jobs and the almighty dollar.

At the end of the day we're going to become extinct in our own filth. It's like that one "robot" said to Laurence Fishburne's character in the movie "The Matrix"...humans are like a virus on this beautiful planet willing to use up and destroy everything in the name of progress and self-gratification and the almighty dollar or yen or drachma, or whatever your coin of choice.

And all of you who don't realize this are un-informed and ignorant.
Posted: 2:01 pm on April 11th

Varick3 Varick3 writes: Sorry, but it's the EPA that should be dissolved. EPA regulations have increased the cost of living in almost every aspect of our lives from basic necessities like food and clothing to cars, travel, definitely energy prices, homes, starting a business, maintaining a business, doing business, and the list goes on and on. Many regulations have caused businesses to go under, cost jobs, prevent jobs from being created, and a host of other completely unnecessary costs that had little to ZERO benefit to the environment.

Of course there should be SOME regulations, but preventing thousands of jobs from being created, shutting down businesses and even industries to prevent the "possibility" of an insignificant fish (ie: The Delta Smelt to name just one example) to go extinct is absurd and very UN-scientific to the supposed dangers to our environment. Millions of different types of plants and animals have become extinct since the beginning of life on this planet, and somehow mother nature is still chugging along just fine.

Enough of the scare-tactics, outright lies, and extremely economically burdensome regulations all in the name to "Protect the Environment" or "Save the Planet" that have very little to do with science, but have almost everything to do with a political agenda.
Posted: 10:10 pm on April 7th

user-1087547 user-1087547 writes: This rule would just increase the cost of goods and services made in the United States and have more people buying foreign products leading to a loss of jobs.
Posted: 11:50 am on April 7th

milwaukee milwaukee writes: Does NAHB ever NOT oppose something. NAHB are idiots. Sorry for the harsh words. NAHB should be dissolved and let EPA do their thing. It all comes down to money.
Posted: 3:50 pm on April 2nd

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