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.