President Trump had signed an executive order directing the Environmental Protection Agency to rework the controversial Clean Power Plan rule, which requires states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants located within their borders.
In a statement in support of this action, NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald stated that the rule would drive up the cost of housing.
“NAHB commends President Trump’s executive order calling on the EPA to rework the Clean Power Plan rule,” he said. “If implemented, it could have resulted in the adoption of rigorous building energy codes that would harm housing affordability while doing little to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from housing. At the same time, the rule would add to the cost of new homes.”
While the rule is supposed to focus on power plants, EPA’s emission reduction requirements are so stringent that states would have had to use a variety of mechanisms to meet them.
Because EPA has encouraged states to use building energy efficiency, including the imposition of building codes, as a way to comply with these targets, NAHB has been engaged on this rule from the beginning, filing comments that significantly improved EPA’s treatment of energy efficiency in the final rule.
However, because incentives remain for states to use energy efficiency to meet these onerous requirements, NAHB, along with many other parties, filed a petition for review with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit challenging the rule.
The U.S. Supreme Court stayed implementation of the rule in 2016, and the D.C. Circuit heard oral arguments in September. The court has not yet issued a decision.
Trump’s executive order by itself won’t repeal the Clean Power Plan rule. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will need to decide what course of action to take – whether to work to dismantle the Clean Power Plan or scale it back.