Builders to Carry Storm Water, ESA Concerns to Capitol Hill
Members of the building industry who are concerned about the legislative process and its impact on the health of their business and the nation’s housing industry will want to attend the 2005 Legislative Conference on April 13 at the start of NAHB’s spring board meeting in Washington, D.C.
The annual NAHB conference provides an ideal opportunity for association members to share their concerns on housing-related issues with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
This year’s lobbying event will focus on two environmental priorities for home builders — the federal storm water program and the Endangered Species Act. Both issues are of wide concern to builders and have major repercussions for housing affordability around the country.
The Environmental Protection Agency's aggressive enforcement activities focus too much on paperwork requirements and too little on environmental impacts, while compliance costs can spin out of control. In addition, builders often must comply with state and local storm water regulations that duplicate EPA's mission.
Many NAHB members report that storm water regulation is adding $1,500-$5,000 to the cost of a lot, eroding the affordability of housing for the nation’s working households. Data from the U.S. Census suggests that each $1,000 increase in the cost of a home prices 300,000 families out of the marketplace.
On the Endangered Species Act, NAHB is urging the Congress to adopt a balanced critical habitat reform measure and to ensure that the data behind listing decisions actually serves to further the protection of species. Approximately 76% of all listed species can be found on privately-owned lands; one-third of them can only be found on private property.
NAHB is supporting the efforts of Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.), who introduced a critical habitat reform bill — H.R. 1299 — that would require a cost-benefit analysis of the economic impacts on a community before the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service makes a critical habitat designation.
The Cardoza plan, identical to a measure the California lawmaker submitted in the 108th Congress, would promote species recovery, reduce litigation and provide incentives for private landowners to enact voluntary conservation.
House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo
(R.-Calif.) and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman James Inhofe
(R-Okla.) have made passage of Endangered Species Act reforms a priority for this Congress.
Also at the top of the agenda during the one-day lobbying blitz next month will be the issue of providing effective regulatory reform of the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) — Fannie Mae
, Freddie Mac
and the Federal Home Loan Banks
— while preserving their housing mission. Participants will also be asked to garner cosponsorship of legislation creating a homeownership tax credit.
More than 700 builders are expected to participate in this year’s visits to Capitol Hill, meeting with their representatives and senators as advocates and educators for the housing industry.
Talking points and further details on this year's legislative priorities are available to NAHB members at www.nahb.org/legcon.
For more information or to register for the NAHB Legislative Conference, call 800-368-5242 x8470; or e-mail Jessica Boyce at NAHB.
'Storm Water Permitting: A Guide for Builders and Developers' Available at BuilderBooks.com
“Storm Water Permitting: A Guide for Builders and Developers,” available through BuilderBooks.com, provides a starting point for builders and developers to use in locating and understanding storm water permitting requirements. To view or purchase this publication online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.