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May 9, 2014
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Federal Water Rule Would Seriously Impact Land Use

EPA Administrator McCarthy - Copyright: Albert H. Teich

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers are seeking comments on a far reaching proposed rule to amend the scope of the waters subject to federal jurisdiction. Many property owners are already familiar with the current permitting process for developments that impact wetlands. However, this proposal will affect all water programs, including stormwater, and will lead to expanded federal permitting requirements. 

This proposal is the latest chapter in the complicated and confusing history of the Clean Water Act, which was enacted in 1972.  The Act’s objective was to “restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of our nation’s waters while recognizing, preserving and protecting the primary responsibilities and rights of the states to prevent, reduce and eliminate pollution within their borders.”

Due to the highly technical nature of the many points the agencies are seeking information from stakeholders on, NMHC has joined in a request to extend the current 90-day comment period beyond the July 21 deadline and will continue to keep members informed.

Many in the GOP have been actively criticizing the proposal and are asking EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to withdraw it.  NMHC members are strongly urged to evaluate the proposal with a focus on how their properties and planned activities would be affected by expanded federal regulation.  

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NMHC Insider
MBA Survey Bolsters Case for TRIA Reauthorization

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released a survey on May 5 that found the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program is indeed filling a critical role for the multifamily and commercial industry. The survey captured information on $1.5 trillion of mortgage debt outstanding and found that 70 percent requires terrorism insurance. Of those required to have insurance, 93 percent of them have coverage in place.  This helps further bolster support for efforts underway in Congress to reauthorize the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) set to expire at the end of the year.

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HUD Extends Deadline for Comments on Section 8 Renewal Guide Proposal

HUD has extended to May 14 the deadline for comments on proposed revisions to the Section 8 Renewal Guide, which provides guidance for the renewal of expiring project-based contracts. The real estate industry remains concerned with changes related to how property rents are set in the guide.

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Patent Reform Bill Postponed Again in Senate

The Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled consideration of patent reform legislation on May 8 but moved to table the bill (S. 1720) shortly after calling it up. The delay is the latest challenge to advancing legislation to address meritless patent claims. As we previously reported, so called “patent trolls” have targeted real estate companies for alleged unlicensed use of WiFi technologies and web-based platforms, among other things.

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Hill Watch
Senate Subcommittee Hearing on Consumer Security and Data Privacy, Thurs., May 15
Senate Cloture Vote on Tax Extenders Legislation, Tues., May 13
Media Roundup
Warren and Allies Said to Reject Fannie Mae Overhaul Bill
Obama Doubles Down on Solar, Energy Efficiency in Climate Push
The Hill
Republicans Support Energy Efficiency Bill, But Hold It 'Hostage' Anyway
Huffington Post
Obama's Energy Announcements Are Nice, But We'll Need Much More
Forcing Another Vote on Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Huffington Post
FHFA COO Arrested, Charged With Threatening Ed DeMarco
Who Will Be The Next President? Who Cares
National Journal
The Scoop

Clay Aiken Close to Winning N.C. Primary Nomination
"American Idol" alum Clay Aiken is close to being declared the winner of the Democratic nomination for North Carolina's 2nd district by an extremely narrow margin. With absentee ballots continuing to trickle in, Aiken is in the lead by just under 400 votes.  Unfortunately for him, the congressional seat is currently held by Republican Representative Renee Ellmers and is not considered swing territory – so Aiken would only have a small chance of winning in November.

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