Builder Review Daily is exploring the Top 12 actions your HBA has taken on behalf of Home Builders during the Spring of 2012.

Number 4, a victory in court in a case of overreach by the Environmental Protection Agency:

A unanimous decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court on March 21 is a huge victory for property rights advocates and very good news for NAHB’s members.

In Sackett v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Court agreed with NAHB arguments (submitted in the form of two amicus briefs) that a property owner who receives a Compliance Order from the EPA should be able to obtain judicial review in court. This decision is extremely important to our industry because home builders are often subject to Administrative Compliance Orders with no means to challenge them, unless the government decides to file an enforcement action or the builder applies for and is denied a Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 404 permit. As of now, this is no longer the case. Instead, any builder who receives a CWA Compliance Order can challenge that order in federal court. In addition, whereas builders have previously had no place to turn when the EPA or Army Corps determines that a wetland or water body on their property falls under the agency’s jurisdiction, they may now be able to seek relief in court.

In an official NAHB reaction statement, Chairman Barry Rutenberg summed it up in saying, “This ruling provides a check on EPA’s capricious expansion of its regulatory authority. Finally, home owners and home builders have a way of challenging EPA Compliance Orders before they face big fines.” For more information on this outstanding legal victory, contact Tom Ward (800-368-5242 x8230).