Regulatory Nightmare Continues After Nearly 3 Decades

Filed in Advocacy, Codes and Standards, Environment by on May 24, 2016 9 Comments

A developer’s nearly three-decade regulatory nightmare of attempts to obtain a Clean Water Act permit shows why Congress must take action to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers‘ final “Waters of the U.S.” rule from being implemented.

During a hearing today before the Senate Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water and Wildlife, lawmakers heard how The ESG Companies, based in Virginia Beach, Va., has been denied a Section 404 Clean Water Act permit to develop its property for close to 30 years, even though the company has repeatedly gone through proper channels and put forth state-approved plans that would result in no net loss of wetlands.

In short, here’s what it means:

Testifying on behalf of NAHB before the Senate panel, Valerie Wilkinson, vice president and chief financial officer of The ESG Companies, told lawmakers how land acquired by her firm in the 1980s for a multi-use community to address local housing demand still lays undeveloped.

“For almost three decades, we’ve been held hostage by the EPA and Corps, who have continually altered the Clean Water Act 404 permit requirements,” said Wilkinson. “Throughout every step of the process, the rules have changed and new requirements have been added. This is perplexing, as the relevant sections of the act have not changed since 1972.”

With the EPA and Corps finalizing a rule that further expands their authority under the Clean Water Act and would put millions of additional acres of land under federal jurisdiction, NAHB Chairman Ed Brady said that this “awful regulatory horror story” could be just a prelude of more to come.

“The waters of the U.S. rule will lead to increased litigation and delays,” said Brady. “Small businesses will not survive under these rules as most do not have the time or resources to fight. Though the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has intervened and prevented this rule from being implemented, Congress must do its part to block funding for this rule.”

Read this press release or Wilkinson’s written testimony for details. For more information, contact Courtney Briggs at 800-368-5242 x8459.

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  1. Jerry Moore says:

    Address the proper issue, put diapers on cows and fix the bulk of the problem. P.S. Elect Trump.

  2. Jim Pigott says:

    Living in the Promissed Land” a song by Willie Nelson is a lot better if you have a place to live. Food is here. Clothing is imported. Affordable housing is best if you can be near your work to pay for Food, Shelter and clothing.
    Where is Affordable housing???
    There has got to be a balance and it should not take thirty years and still own a fallow field.
    Is there no penalty for unjustified action taking too much time and money from the private sector?

  3. Joseph Tarascio says:

    When the general public wonders why housing costs continue to escalate I doubt many are aware of the figures contained in this article. I wonder how much the cost per lot in this project has risen due to this process ? If protection of the public interest is achieved by the use of a never ending process of regulation without any clear means to achieve the objective , the government should just purchase the property at a true market value.

    Then, the public is not served by the burden of it’s protection being placed on one entity….or sometimes one person. There are programs in place , used by environmental groups and funded by government programs that do just that. This seems to offer protection to all involved. If a regulatory agency operates in a manner that no use of the property becomes it’s de facto objective , they should purchase it.

  4. Rc says:

    Spot on! Need to abolish EPA.. Everything is a wetland.. This is how gov’t gets control .. We need to fire current crop of legislators and elect people with common sense..(if there are any)

  5. Leo Keane says:

    The Clean Water Act, and particularly Section 404,is vital for long term protections of our nations important wetlands and streams. NAHB, stop your outdated intransigence against the EPA and many of our important environmental safeguards.

    • Glen says:

      Leo, you are missing the point. They have presented plans that met the requirements only to have the requirements change. The over-reach of our current government has to stop or our economy will come to a grinding halt.

  6. george hobbs says:

    Hobbs says: Bureaucrats need to justify there existence ( job ) so they do just what businesses try to do , grow . It’s our job to cut cost and to control the scope of government . It is time for us to do our job ( 50 years late , Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society )and the only chance at this point is Trump…After reading his book Art of the Deal I’m not as scared of him as I was .

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