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Biden’s WOTUS rule creates confusion, raising housing costs

January 3, 2023

While the nation celebrated the holidays, the Biden administration gave the housing industry a big lump of coal by implementing its new WOTUS rule.

NAHB calls the new  WOTUS (Waters of the United States)  rule “a blow to housing affordability and regulatory certainty for builders.”

WOTUS rule creates confusion, raising housing costs

“Rather than providing clarity and certainty for home builders and other affected stakeholders, this definition of WOTUS adds uncertainty and confusion to the regulatory process, raises housing costs and drastically increases federal overreach in the process,” said NAHB Chairman Jerry Konter.

By relying on the “significant nexus test,” the new rule expands federal authority over isolated wetlands. Isolated wetlands big mud puddles and little streams that only flow during, and for a short duration after, rainy weather.

The rule extends the areas where homebuilders must get federal permits beyond rules finalized in the prior administration. This adds more regulatory barriers to homebuilding as single-family and multifamily builders struggle to find the land they need to build the homes the US desperately needs.

Counterproductive and short-sighted

As the Biden administration moves forward with the WOTUS rule, the US Supreme Court considers the legality of the “significant nexus test” in Sackett vs. EPA. A ruling for Sackett forces the federal government to “go back to the drawing board on WOTUS,” NAHB says.

“The Biden administration has declared a housing affordability crisis,” Konter said.

If the administration really wants to knock down barriers to affordable housing, Konter says, they’ll take a different approach. Konter recommends they direct the federal government not to implement this rule until the Supreme Court issues the Sackett ruling.

According to NAHB, the new rule is effective in late February or early March. The Supreme Court could issue the Sackett verdict right around the same time.

Read the rest of the NAHB news release.

Read the Congressional Western Caucus’ new release to learn what others say.

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