Last month, I attended NAHB’s midyear meeting in Miami and had the pleasure of sitting in on a presentation by Daniel Swift, president and CEO of Des Moines-based architecture group BSB Design.
Rotten to the Core
Proposed regulatory changes for wetlands development activities would bring almost no flexibility or regulatory relief to the Clean Water Act Section 404 program and would modify only slightly the onerous wetlands Nationwide Permit (NWP) restrictions i...
Proposed regulatory changes for wetlands development activities would bring almost no flexibility or regulatory relief to the Clean Water Act Section 404 program and would modify only slightly the onerous wetlands Nationwide Permit (NWP) restrictions imposed in March 2000.
Recent proposals from the Army Corps of Engineers are a classic example of “too little, too late.” The corps had an opportunity to greatly improve a regulatory program burdened with excessive permit obligations, red tape and delays. Unfortunately, it only tinkered at the margins. Instead of re-establishing some semblance of a streamlined permitting process, which is what the NWP program is designed to be, the corps kept most of the problematic aspects of the regulations that it enacted last year. The NAHB had hoped to see some sort of meaningful reform of wetlands regulation, but what we got is just negligible reform that provides little if any environmental benefit.
Fortunately, the Corps of Engineers will not have the final word on this issue. Last year, when the corps first issued its revised permitting regulations, the NAHB filed suit in U.S. District Court charging that the new permits go beyond the agency’s authority under the Clean Water Act. The NAHB is committed to seeing this process through and proving that the corps is greatly overstepping its legal bounds with these ill-conceived, ineffective regulations.