AQ and Building Don?t Need to Be at Odds

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Stricter air quality standards published by the EPA in 1997 under the provisions of the Clean Air Act are among the most compelling, most contentious and potentially most costly clean air rules ever undertaken by EPA.

September 13, 2000

 

Robert Mitchell, NAHB President

 

Stricter air quality standards published by the EPA in 1997 under the provisions of the Clean Air Act are among the most compelling, most contentious and potentially most costly clean air rules ever undertaken by EPA.

They should have been developed carefully based upon sound science. Unfortunately, EPA rushed the new standards. For that reason, NAHB and a number of other industry groups challenged the 1997 air quality standards. And in 1999, a federal court overturned them, ruling that EPA went beyond its regulatory authority by failing to justify the need for the stricter standards. EPA is now appealing that decision to the Supreme Court.

If the 1997 standards are upheld, builders could face limits on the number of hours per day machinery can operate, rising material costs and even an end to federal highway construction funds.

Builders and local governments are also having to deal with another legal issue relating to air quality. Environmental organizations are now using Clean Air Act regulations as weapons to stop growth. Lawsuits based on Clean Air Act provisions have resulted in the delay or outright elimination of important transportation projects for growing communities. Are there better approaches to solving air quality concerns? We think so.

Construction of energy efficient, "green" homes that conserve energy, circulate air efficiently and protect the environment.

Pursuing solutions that can help us build mixed-use, infill, and high-density communities that meet market demand for new homes while encouraging more pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods.

Like other Americans, home builders care about air quality and want all of us to breathe cleaner air. Now we need to reach that goal in a way that is legal, sensible and backed by sound science. Overregulation is inflationary and exclusionary. Stop it!

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