Regulatory Update: NAHB/PBA/EPA Working Together

By Greg Newell, PE

“Cooperative Federalism” – while it’s not used often, it was the overall theme for a recent meeting I attended with members of the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB), Pennsylvania Builders Association (PBA) and regional members of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

3 key topics were covered that impact the building industry:

1. The EPA is pushing DEP to finalize PAG-02 NPDES General Permit and implementing a PAG-01 program.The PAG-01 would make it much easier to get permits with projects that have five acres or less of disturbance. The goal is to have draft versions provided to the public by August 2018. They see no reason to drag it out to the full 2 year extension.

2. Everybody acknowledged that the current green infrastructure program has flaws. The EPA agreed with our request to encourage DEP to move forward with updating the BMP manual to reflect changes in technology and research completed. This issue has been brought up in the other states and they will encourage the entire region to look into this problem.  This will be very helpful to the design community. 

3. The EPA is aware that getting Homeowners Associations (HOAs) to sign the NPDES Notice of Termination (NOTs) is a significant problem. While a solution is unclear at the moment, it was agreed that one needs to be developed.

Overall the meeting was really about government and business working together to create a collaborative relationship that results in increased coordination and a streamlining of permitting processes – a positive step in the right direction for our industry.