ARTICLE

NAHB applauds Trump’s WOTUS plan

NAHB says proposal should help accelerate permitting process and housing.

BY HBSDealer Staff

The Trump Administration has released a proposed new definition for “waters of the United States” (WOTUS).

The new plan is expected to resolve years of uncertainty over where federal jurisdiction begins and ends. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the move is a big victory for its members.

The NAHB said by bringing “certainty and clarity” to which waters fall under federal oversight, the proposal should help accelerate the permitting process so home builders can more easily provide housing.

“Finalizing this revised WOTUS definition will protect our nation’s waterways without adding needless regulatory burdens that will hurt housing and other industries that depend on a predictable permitting process,” said NAHB Chairman Randy Noel.

The revised rule is also designed to address concerns that NAHB had over the Obama-era regulation that included regulating man-made ditches and isolated ponds on private property. The new proposal excludes short-lived ponds, streams and tributaries that only flow in response to a rain event from federal regulation. It also excludes wetlands that are not directly connected to federally-regulated bodies of water.

The NAHB said the new rule will help landowners to determine whether a project on their property will require a federal permit or not, without spending thousands of dollars on engineering and legal professionals. It’s also designed to protect the nation’s waterways and save home builders and other industries that rely on a permitting process time and money.

The new rule is open to a public comment period for 60 days and it is expected to be finalized and instituted in all 50 states by the fall of 2019.

Due to multiple legal challenges, the Obama-era WOTUS rule remains in effect in 22 states and Washington, D.C., while previous regulations issued in 1986 are in effect in the remaining 28 states, the NAHB said.

 

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