Better Permitting Would Boost U.S. Housing

Maybe it is time to get back to “best engineering practices” as the baseline for our infrastructure projects.

While I commend Sen. Dan Sullivan for his efforts to make project construction easier (“How to Put Building Permits on a Fast Track,” op-ed, Dec. 5), why is the only way elected officials know to correct a problem to pass another law? Perhaps an easier answer is to simply revise the permitting process regulations by requiring that the EPA and any other department demanding a special study to allow permitting be required to demonstrate a specific, logical reason for the study. The automatic requirement to spend millions of dollars and waste years of time on studies and reviews does little or nothing to “protect” the environment but adds tremendous cost and delay to needed projects. Somehow, before we had the EPA, we managed to develop an entire country without destroying the world. Maybe it is time to get back to “best engineering practices” as the baseline for our infrastructure projects.

Jack Hamilton
Silverdale, Wa.

Better Permitting Would Boost U.S. Housing

Sen. Sullivan’s Rebuild America Now Act not only would revitalize our nation’s deteriorating infrastructure, it would also galvanize another vital sector of the economy—home building.

Home building is one of the most heavily regulated industries in America. On average, nearly 25% of the cost of a single-family home is attributable to government regulation. Federal permits, in particular, can account for a large portion of the regulatory burdens home

builders face. For example, home builders must often obtain Clean Water Act Section 402 permits for storm water runoff and Section 404 wetland permits for actions that result in discharge of dredged or fill materials into federally protected waters.

Additionally, permitting costs and delays translate into higher housing costs for home buyers and renters. By easing federal permitting burdens, Sen. Sullivan’s Rebuild America Now Act will help to provide much-needed housing to spur job and economic growth.

Ed Brady
Chairman
National Association of Home Builders
Washington

WSJ OPINION LETTERS Dec 14 2017

 

 

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