Despite a Jan. 20 White House Memorandum from Chief of Staff Reince Priebus directing federal agencies to withdraw or postpone recently finalized regulations, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not withdrawn the Jan. 19 Construction General Permit (CGP) for review.
That’s unfortunate – and troubling – to NAHB builders and developers worried about the permit’s controversial new language that considers all builders on a shared site “jointly and severely liable” for compliance with permit terms, including violations of “shared” treatment ponds and other features.
While EPA worked diligently with NAHB to make many other aspects of the permit more workable in the field, the association feels the new liability language is a major overstep in agency authority, and not the best way to go about addressing violations on shared sites.
Today, NAHB sent a letter to EPA and the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) arguing that the 2017 permit–though much improved–is just the type of regulation that should be reviewed by the incoming administration. However, it needs a quick fix, as the permit is set to go into effect Feb. 16, less than one month from now.
The letter sets the expectation that the agency meet its obligations, asking the EPA Acting Administrator to:
- acknowledge that the Priebus memo applies to the 2017 CGP.
- delay the effective date of the CGP by at least 60 days to allow sufficient time for regulatory review and possible notice and comment.
- maintain, through whatever means necessary, the availability of CGP coverage so that no builder or developer is left without the means to apply for a permit on Feb. 16.