Late last week, Greenwire reported that EPA is delaying its proposed construction general permit, or CGP, for stormwater. The delay is certainly a victory for the real estate industry, which has been fighting hard to delay the rule and, in particular, its numeric turbidity limit. The industry had complained about the data on which the standard was based, calculation errors by EPA, and what it views as a 10-fold underestimate of the compliance costs.
EPA denies that the delay was a political decision by the White House or OMB and stated that it needs to gather more information about existing stormwater treatment technologies before issuing the rule.
We’ll see whether EPA gets any credit from the business community for the delay. They certainly won’t get any from environmental groups. It’s important to remember that the rule is actually the result of litigation brought by the NRDC, so EPA cannot continue to delay indefinitely or it will just find itself back in court. As is often the case, EPA is going to have a difficult time avoiding being caught between a rock and a hard place at some point on this rule.