NAA/NMHC Joint Statement on EPA WOTUS Ruling
NAA/NMHC applaud the recent guidance issued by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) limiting the Obama administration’s expansive definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS). This reasonable reform will remove significant barriers to the operation and development of apartment communities.
“We at NAA/NMHC applaud the EPA and Acting Administrator Wheeler on this common-sense change. We are encouraged about what the new interpretation of WOTUS will mean for the multifamily development industry, owners, operators, property managers, and residents. Our research shows that America needs 4.6 million new units of apartment housing by 2030 just to keep up with rising demand. That does not take into account the 11 million apartment units that will reach the end of their useful lives by that time. This new interpretation will assist the industry in reaching that goal by removing costly administrative barriers and helping ease the crisis of affordability that is growing in many American cities.
“NAA/NMHC support strong protection for the nation’s critical water resources and believe that the proposed rule will provide much-needed clarification regarding the scope of federal control over land use decisions.”
By narrowing the definition of WOTUS to exclude “ephemeral streams” and tributaries, EPA and the Corps have struck a blow against overly broad federal regulations that result in costly delays due to an overburdened permitting process for the construction of desperately-needed new apartment housing.
Apartments have become a more popular option among a diverse cross-section of American society, from baby-boomers looking to downsize to millennials in urban areas eager to join the bustling knowledge economy. This action will be helpful in ensuring that a thriving and diverse supply of housing exists to meet those needs.
This action reverses the interpretation embraced by the EPA under the Obama Administration, placing limitations on the types of waterways subject to regulation. This will reduce the regulatory and cost burden on developers of new multifamily projects, translating into more supply and better results for residents.