Comprehensive storm water permitting rules from the EPA are already in place to limit storm water runoff from home building sites and protect the environment. Phase I and Phase II permits limit discharges from construction sites that disturb one or more acres of property.
Dozens of city, state and county environmental agencies had also submitted comments to the EPA in opposition to the new rule, which was viewed as a needlessly burdensome encroachment on state and local land use planning authority.
Local control over storm water permits, NAHB and others had argued, enables regulations to be tailored to local environmental conditions, often with requirements that are more stringent than what would be prescribed under a national rule.
“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.
The Administration’s decision last week will enable the EPA to focus on implementing its existing storm water regulations and conducting more educational outreach to the small business and home building communities, he indicated.
Commenting on NAHB's involvement in the process that ultimately led to the favorable ruling by the EPA, Chuck Ellison, of Ellison and Associates in North Bethesda, MD, and chairman of NAHB's Effluent Guidelines/TMDL Working Group, cited the association's "great team of builders, developers, associates and staff."
"This is a great example," said Ellison, "of how the resources of NAHB — engaged members, dedicated and professional staff and financial resources — can be brought together to focus on a particular issue of concern to the industry. This decision represents a savings to every family purchasing a home throughout America."
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