President Donald Trump’s proposal to reform the National Environmental Policy Act has won the backing of the National Association of Realtors.
NAR President Vince Malta (pictured) said the proposed changes should help to modernize environmental standards while also helping to alleviate housing shortages.
The NEPA changes would be the first serious amendment to the Act in more than 40 years.
The White House said the Act needs to be reformed in order to streamline the approval of new infrastructure and housing projects, as well as highways and energy pipelines. The proposed changes are still subject to public hearings before being approved, but Malta said they should help to reduce regulatory burdens will still retaining strong environmental quality standards.
“The NAR has long advocated for common-sense reforms to promote infrastructure development and streamline review processes without compromising on critical environmental protections,” Malta said in a statement. “Since NEPA was last updated nearly four decades ago, the housing industry has seen countless infrastructure modernization projects paralyzed by arbitrary delays and unreasonable cost increases.”
The NAR has in recent months intensified its calls for major reforms of the nation’s infrastructure.
“The National Association of Realtors is confident that the reforms will remove the barriers standing in the way of infrastructure improvements that stimulate economic growth and create jobs,” Malta said. “We look forward to partnering with the White House as it works to implement these changes in the most responsible and effective way possible.”
The NAR’s sentiments were echoed by other housing groups, including the National Association of Home Builders, which said the NEPA reforms could help spur new-home construction.
“This proposal to modernize and reform the NEPA review process will streamline the permitting process and reduce unnecessary costs and delays for vital infrastructure projects that are needed to support residential land development projects,” said NAHB CEO Jerry Howard. “For the housing industry, those uncertainties and delays create challenges for communities, businesses, and builders, and further exacerbate the current housing affordability crisis. We welcome the latest action by the administration to remove regulatory barriers that hinder housing and economic growth.”