In the Money The National Housing Endowment has received a $1 million gift from Greystone & Co., a leading private investment and real estate family of companies active in housing and health-care financing.

Created in 1987 by the NAHB, the National Housing Endowment assists state and local HBAs, the NAHB Research Center, and the Home Builders Institute in promoting building industry education and training, recognizing achievements in housing, and supporting research to help the industry provide affordable and quality American housing. The Endowment also provides a permanent source of funds to address long-term industry concerns.

Since its inception, it has awarded $5.3 million in grants to housing-related programs and projects nationwide.

All Wet Testifying in April before a House small business subcommittee about inefficient regulations that unnecessarily harm housing affordability, David Pressly, first vice president of the NAHB, described the federal stormwater program as a “particularly egregious example of government regulation run amok.” Many NAHB members report that stormwater regulation is adding $1,500 to $4,500 to the cost of a lot.

The EPA is responsible under the Clean Water Act for establishing the stormwater permitting program, which is supposed to address water runoff from residential construction projects. The EPA's instructions for writing a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan run over 40 pages, and the process takes roughly 40 hours to complete. But following those instructions to the letter doesn't guarantee compliance.

“The EPA's aggressive stormwater enforcement activities focus too much on paperwork requirements and too little on environmental impacts, while compliance costs can spin out of control. In addition, builders must often comply with state and local stormwater regulations that duplicate the EPA's mission,” Pressly told committee members.

Easy Access In April, 47 members of the House sent a letter to President Bush urging the administration to eliminate duties on Canadian lumber shipments into the United States.

The U.S. government imposed trade restraints on softwood lumber in May 2002, charging that the Canadian industry represented a threat to domestic lumber producers. Canada has since filed appeals to overturn the duties before North American Free Trade Agreement and World Trade Organization panels and has received several rulings in its favor.

Most recently, a NAFTA arbitration panel composed of three Americans and two Canadians voted unanimously last summer to end the lumber tariffs and return nearly $4 billion in duties to Canada. However, the Commerce Department, at the behest of the U.S. lumber lobby, filed an extraordinary challenge legal appeal that some believe was intended to delay the final outcome, keep the tariffs in place, and force the Canadians to accept a negotiated settlement that would lead to new trade barriers.