USACE Reissuing Nationwide Permits

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is reissuing Nationwide Permits (NWPs), authorizing work in streams, wetlands and other waters of the United States under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899.

According to the Corps, the new NWPs take effect March 19, 2017 replacing the existing 2012 NWPs.

While nationally USACE is reissuing these NWPs, the Corps’ New England District proposes to again suspend the NWPs in the six New England states and continue using regional general permits in each New England state.

The New England District most recently suspended all NWPs in the six New England states on March 19, 2012. In their place, New England District has used the highly effective regional GPs for over 20 years.

The currently proposed suspension would remain in effect for five years unless rescinded by the Corps’ North Atlantic Division Engineer.

USACE is of opinion that multiple goals will be realized as a result of again suspending the NWPs in New England. It provides consistency, simplification and streamlining in the regulatory process. Projects with minimal individual and cumulative effects on the aquatic environment will be approved administratively under the GPs.

Project eligibility for permitting under a GP will fall into two categories defined using the regional criteria for 1) self-verification projects; and 2) pre-construction notification (reporting) projects that will be reviewed by the Corps. Self-verified projects may proceed provided the proponent verifies that the terms and conditions of the GPs are met and the Self-Verification Notification Form is submitted to the Corps when applicable.

Activities requiring pre-construction notification to the Corps will be reviewed by the Corps, and Federal resource agencies (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Marine Fisheries Service), other Federal agencies, and state agencies such as wetland and waterway permitting agencies, when applicable.