NAHB’s Supreme Court Victory Stops EPA in its Tracks

Filed in Codes and Standards, Legal, Multifamily by on June 23, 2014 3 Comments

ThemisatSunsetIn a major victory for NAHB, the U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not have the authority to require multifamily and commercial builders to obtain costly pre-construction permits for greenhouse gasses emitted from the buildings they construct.

The case against the EPA was brought by NAHB and its coalition partners and revolved around whether the agency has the power under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources that could include everything from factories, refineries and power plants to apartment and commercial buildings.

“Because of the way the EPA interpreted the [Clean Air Act] statute, the agency sought to treat apartment complexes as if they are power plants,” NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly said in an official statement. “That makes absolutely no sense and would have dealt a major setback to the housing recovery. Today’s verdict strikes an important blow against federal agencies overreaching their authority.”

If the EPA had prevailed, it could have forced many builders and developers to obtain an expensive pre-construction permit for greenhouse gas emissions, which would severely curtail apartment and mixed-use development. Some single-family and potentially even master-planned community development could also have been affected.

Based largely on EPA’s own estimates, the cost of the permit alone could have been about $60,000 per multifamily property, with costs due to delays averaging about $40,000 across all building sizes. For a property with 50 or more apartments, costs due to delays could have reached up to $200,000.

The Supreme Court decision stops EPA in its tracks and represents a significant win not only for multifamily builders, but for all builders that deal with excessive and unlawful EPA rules.

View more on the case, Utility Air Regulatory Group et al v. EPA.

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  1. Do As I Say… | | June 27, 2014
  1. Emerson Russell says:

    Great job to all those who worked hard on this to assure our rights were protected.
    This was good news for all builders.
    Emerson Russell

  2. Shirley Wiseman says:

    We must keep fighting, we win when we stand together!

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