The Environmental Protection Agency has missed a settlement agreement deadline of April 27 for releasing its new stormwater regulation, and will have to delay the rule by perhaps a year from its intended date due to difficulties the agency has experienced in coming up with an appropriate cost-benefit analysis.
In developing this new stormwater regulation, EPA aims to limit the volume and pollutant loads in stormwater discharges to levels that existed at the site prior to development through the use of low-impact development and green infrastructure devices. The agency recently entered negotiations with the environmental groups who won the legal settlement that set the April deadline, seeking to establish a new schedule for the rule’s implementation. According to the most recent reports, that schedule will now be released in early to mid-May along with a posting of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register. As a result of this new timing, the proposed rule is not likely to go into effect until sometime in the spring of 2013. We’ll keep you informed as this situation develops.
Speaking at a recent environmental policy conference, James Hanlon, director of EPA’s Office of Wastewater Management, acknowledged last week that regulators ran into “analytical issues” with assessing costs and benefits for developers and localities when the rule is put in place. One of the issues that has been cited by EPA officials is the difficulty of determining how to measure the benefits of using green infrastructure in site redevelopment. NAHB has provided extensive comments and conducted significant outreach to EPA throughout the rule’s development over the past several years to try to ensure that the final regulation is workable, fair and cost-effective, and we’ll continue with these efforts going forward. For more information, please contact Ty Asfaw (800-368-5242 x8124).