President Donald Trump today honored a campaign promise made to home builders as he signed an executive order directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to begin the process of rescinding or revising the controversial "waters of the United States" (WOTUS) rule.
When then-candidate Trump spoke at the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Board of Directors meeting in Miami in August, he vowed to cut WOTUS and other burdensome regulations that drive up the cost of homes for hard-working Americans. Trump quoted a 2016 NAHB study when he noted that 25 percent of the cost of a home is due to regulation.
“NAHB commends President Trump for listening to our serious concerns about the flawed WOTUS rule that goes so far as to regulate man-made ditches and isolated ponds on private property,” said NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald, a home builder and developer from Kerrville, Texas, who was present for the signing of the executive order today. “This is an important first step toward reworking the flawed regulation and moving toward a more sensible WOTUS rule.”
The rule has also been legally challenged by more than 30 states and numerous environmental groups on both procedural and substantive grounds. NAHB has led the effort to address industry concerns with the 2015 rule on the regulatory, legislative and judicial fronts.
The executive order provides direction to EPA and the Corps to reconsider the rule that dramatically extended the areas in which home builders are required to get permits, blatantly usurping state and local regulatory authority. Two courts have already ruled that it is likely that the rule is illegal and have issued a temporary halt to its implementation.
“NAHB looks forward to working with the Administration, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, when approved, to develop a common-sense solution to protecting our nation's waterways while taking into account the interests of local businesses and communities nationwide,” MacDonald said.