The U.S. Supreme Court on October 15 agreed to hear a petition brought by NAHB and other organizations that would determine whether the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources that could include everything from factories, refineries and power plants to apartment and commercial buildings.
“Because of the way EPA has interpreted the statute, many NAHB members could be forced to obtain an expensive pre-construction permit for greenhouse gas emissions, which would bring most multifamily and mixed use development to a standstill,” NAHB Chairman Rick Judson said in a press statement. “Some single-family and potentially even master-planned community development could also be affected,” he said.
Based largely on EPA’s own estimates, the cost of the permit alone could be about $60,000 per multifamily property, with costs due to delays averaging about $40,000 across all building sizes. For a property with 50 or more apartments, costs due to delays could reach up to $200,000.
The permit cost is fixed, while the delay costs vary depending on the building size, measured by number of units.
NAHB is part of a coalition that includes the American Chemistry Council, American Petroleum Institute, National Association of Manufacturers, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers and National Oilseed Processors Association. Briefing in this case, American Chemistry Council (ACC), et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will take place during the fall and winter. The oral arguments will be held in February 2014, and a decision is expected in late spring 2014.