HOME BUILDERS AND GENERAL CONTRACTING firms are relieved the EPA is not tightening a stormwater-permitting regulation that would have affected the construction industry.

“The administration definitely made the right choice by recognizing the unnecessary burdens of added regulation,” said NAHB president Bobby Rayburn in a statement released by the association. “The EPA already has comprehensive stormwater-permitting rules in place that limit site runoff and protect our environment.”

The federal proposal to the stormwater-permitting program would have set limitations on how much sediment a construction site can generate and would have included a numeric limit requiring construction contractors to measure the amount of sediment in any stormwater that ran off their jobsites.

The NAHB estimates the proposal would have added $3.5 billion a year to residential construction costs, or $1,700 for each new single-family home. The Associated General Contractors of America in Alexandria, Va., says sample testing would have added at least $35,000 per project on large jobs, such as multi-story condo projects. “The benefits would have been minuscule and not worth the cost,” says Leah Wood, a spokesperson for the association.

In letting the current rule stand, the EPA said that state and local governments already implement requirements that are equivalent to or more stringent than those in the proposed 2002 rule.