Resolution to Vacate WOTUS Rule Introduced in Senate

This post was updated Jan. 15.

Sens. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) have introduced a resolution to withdraw the Waters of the United States rule, which contains new and expanded definitions that NAHB has long held as the poster child of federal intrusion into states’ rights and an example of federal overreach on land-use decisions.

“Congress left to states their traditional authority over land and water, including farmers’ fields, non-navigable, wholly intrastate water (including puddles and ponds), and the allocation of water supplies,” the resolution said.

New definitions finalized in June 2015 turn that authority on its head. “By dramatically extending the areas in which home builders are required to get permits, the rule will lead to bureaucratic delays, increase project costs and mitigation fees, and harm housing affordability,” former NAHB Chairman Tom Woods said at the time.

After the federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay later that year, NAHB helped lead a coalition of industry partners to challenge the rule, saying that it is deeply flawed, arbitrarily written, and provides no clarity or certainty to members of the regulated community.

On Jan. 13, the Supreme Court agreed to examine the Sixth Circuit decision after a petition  by NAHB and a coalition of industry groups affected by the rule.

“As a business tht sometimes must challenge these rules in court, NAHB must know whether it is proper to bring these challenges first to district court or whether the challenges must be brought in a court of appeals,” said vice president for litigation Tom Ward.

“We are seeking clear guidance from the Supreme Court so that businesses like NAHB aren’t forced to file two lawsuits to protect our interests,” he said.

The Senate resolution seeks to stop the encroachment once and for all, asking that the rule and its new definitions of what constitutes the waters of the United States be vacated.

For additional information, contact Courtney Briggs at 800-362-4252 x8459.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Al Zichella says:

    Thank you NAHB, Chairman Woods and all those who opposed this rule. We’ re all hopeful that the next administration will restore fairness, common sense and sensitivity to the important role of development and construction to our economy and reel in these crazy and misguided rules and executive orders.

    … not only for he WOTUS situation but also for the Clean Water Act, (wetlands regulations, which are WIDELY abused) other EPA enforcement rules, as well as the Corp of Engineers, and protected species rules. Right now the government is initiating fines, penalties and takings across America, often without due process, and with the full and tremendous power of the Federal Government to restrict and revoke property rights. The SCOTUS has backed up our presumption that these agencies are overstepping routinely, and landmark court decisions have recently been won that will help protect property owners due process rights. However, the question remains, why do we have to engage in court cases, sometimes decades long, as was the case in the Koons case? We must strive for a fair application of law and a reversal in the previously ideologically driven administration and staff at these agencies.

  2. Super job by the NAHB and the two Senators who introduced the bill. Nice to see that our representative bodies are finally acting with common sense to slow down these overreaching regulations that do little to benefit anyone.

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