Wetlands

Resolved that NAHB urge the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps):

  1. To adopt regulations, guidance and policies asserting that “navigability” is the guiding factor to determine the geographic reach of the Clean Water Act (CWA), consistent with congressional intent.
  2. To adopt regulations, guidance and policies asserting CWA authority only over activities that “discharge” or “add” materials to jurisdictional waters.
  3. In revising their regulations on the extent of CWA jurisdiction, to provide a set of clear and common-sense criteria that can be understood by the members of the regulated community and can be uniformly applied by Corps and EPA field officers in all districts.

Further resolved that NAHB urge EPA and the Corps to include the following in their regulatory requirements for Sec. 404 of the Clean Water Act, on a regional and national basis:

  1. Revise current procedures to provide streamlined, cost-effective, timely and efficient general permits (nationwide, regional and programmatic) for residential and commercial development and construction activities.
  2. Issue a completeness determination within a reasonable and uniformly applied time period (targeted to be 60 days) of the submission of all permit applications. If a permit application is found to be incomplete, the Corps will provide the permit applicant with a detailed list of the items needed to make the application complete. The Corps must issue a completeness determination within a reasonable and uniformly applied time period (targeted to be 30 days) of the applicant supplying the additional information. If a completeness determination is not issued within the described time period, it will be determined that the application is complete.
  3. Approve or deny with prejudice all applications within a reasonable and uniformly applied time period (targeted to be 60 days) of the completeness determination. The expiration of the above described time period without a decision on a complete application will result in the affirmative approval of the permit.
  4. Allow permit applicants to waive the above time requirements.

Further resolved that NAHB urge Congress:

  1. To support legislative efforts maintaining that the statutory intent of the CWA is for “navigability” to be the guiding factor in jurisdictional decisions.
  2. To support legislative efforts maintaining that the statutory intent of the CWA is to grant jurisdiction over only those activities that result in additions of pollutants to “the waters of the U.S.”

Further resolved that NAHB urge state and local governments, which may be considering whether to adopt wetlands policies that go beyond federal programs, to only create and implement wetland or other water policies that are based on legislative findings, sound science and reasonable methods, and that take into account their effect on the state’s economy and the development industry.

Further resolved that NAHB urge the Corps and EPA to adopt reasonable compensatory mitigation banking programs that will be applied consistently and provide other options such as in lieu fee programs as a viable compensatory mitigation option.

Further resolved that NAHB urge the Corps and EPA to ensure that relevant programs triggered by Sec. 404, such as the National Historic Preservation Act and the Endangered Species Act, are streamlined and have a clear procedure for coordination and consultation with federal, state and local officials.

 

Resolution originally adopted: 2007/06, No. 4

Committees with primary jurisdiction:
  • Environmental Issues Committee

 

View full text of resolution.