Corps Issues New Proposed NWPs
The Corps yesterday pre-published its proposed NWPs revisions. The current NWPs were not set to expire until 2022, but the Trump administration decided to revisit them two years early. The government is usually years late renewing permits, not early. I suspect they want to put their imprint on these important permits before they leave office. See my July 22 blogpost for more on that.
What's in the revisions? The proposal is 254 pages in length, and I have not yet read through the entire thing. Here is the summary provided by the Corps.
Nationwide Permits (NWPs) authorize certain activities under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is proposing to reissue its existing NWPs and associated general conditions and definitions, with some modifications. We are also proposing to issue five new NWPs. Two of those proposed new NWPs would authorize certain categories of mariculture activities (i.e., seaweed and finfish mariculture) that are not authorized by NWP 48. We are proposing to divide the current NWP that authorizes utility line activities (NWP 12) into three separate NWPs that address the differences in how different linear projects are constructed, the substances they convey, and the different standards and best management practices that help ensure those NWPs authorize only those activities that have no more than minimal adverse environmental effects. Specifically, we are proposing to modify the current utility line NWP 12 to authorize only oil and natural gas pipeline activities. Two proposed new NWPs would authorize activities associated with the construction, maintenance, repair, and removal of electric utility lines/telecommunication lines and utility lines that convey water, sewage, and other substances. The fifth proposed new NWP would authorize discharges of dredged or fill material into jurisdictional waters for the construction, expansion, and maintenance of water reuse and reclamation facilities. We are proposing these modifications to simplify and clarify the NWPs, reduce burdens on the regulated public, and continue to comply with the statutory requirement that these NWPs authorize only activities with no more than minimal individual and cumulative adverse environmental effects. The Corps is requesting comment on all aspects of these proposed nationwide permits.
Look for my analysis of the proposed NWP changes later in the week.
Here's the link to the proposed rule: https://www.usace.army.mil/Portals/2/docs/civilworks/regulatory/news/2020NWP-ProposedRule_prepublication.pdf?ver=2020-08-03-145146-273
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