EPA Expands Water Protections

The agency’s new rule will ultimately exacerbate the nation’s housing affordability crisis.

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On December 30, 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule expanding and redefining what “waters of the United States” means under the Clean Water Act.

“The final rule restores essential water protections that were in place prior to 2015 under the Clean Water Act for traditional navigable waters, the territorial seas, interstate waters, as well as upstream water resources that significantly affect those waters,” the EPA said in a press release.

In response, the National Apartment Association (NAA) and the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) released a statement emphasizing that the rule will ultimately “create permitting delays, add development costs and create additional legal risks that will exacerbate the nation’s housing affordability crisis.”

The release also notes that “this federal overreach will greatly expand the universe of properties, including many with only a tenuous relationship to a body of water, required to seek very expensive federal permits to develop or redevelop housing.”

While the rental housing industry continues to support protecting our water resources, the EPA’s new rule is a step backward in working to resolve our nation’s housing affordability crisis. NAA will continue our advocacy efforts to pursue sustainable and responsible solutions that improve affordability long-term.  

Ready for a deeper dive? Read a Multi-Housing News digest covering the final rule and its implications for the rental housing industry.