A recent Supreme Court decision that substantially narrowed the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate millions of acres of wetlands is expected to open more land for development.
More than half of the nation’s wetlands could lose protection under the Clean Water Act, according to environmentalists and legal analysts. This concerns water quality advocates who fear the ruling will lead to degraded water supplies.
From a developer’s perspective, projects will have fewer regulatory hurdles to overcome, making them faster to move from conception to construction. This could make new housing developments more financially viable during a time of acute housing shortages in many areas of the U.S., they point out.
The case, Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency, involved an Idaho couple who tried to build a house on property they’d purchased. The couple filled a soggy part of the property with sand and gravel to prepare for construction. The EPA ordered them to halt construction and return the property to its original state. The couple then sued the agency.