The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) just released the Nationwide Permits (NWP) with revisions to 12 existing NWPs and 4 brand new NWPs. These permits go into effect March 15, 2021. The new NWPs also includes 32 general conditions that will also apply to the permits.
NWPs enable the authorization of development projects in Waters of the United States (WOUS), including wetlands that have minimal environmental impacts. If additional impacts are anticipated, a Pre-Construction Notification (PCN) may be required. The benefits of the NWP include decreased review and processing times. Having the NWP can allow your project to begin more quickly. These NWPs are usually modified every five years, so the USACE is right on track. The one snag of NWPs is that it is the applicant’s responsibility to remain informed of changes, modifications, or revoked NWPs. However, fear not, as Hollaway will help you keep informed and keep your projects moving forward!
On April 15, 2020, in a court case challenging the USACE’s 2017 NWP 12: Utility Lines, a federal district court of Montana understood the reissuance of this NWP as arbitrary and had violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA). As a result, this NWP was temporarily vacated and then reinstated in July of 2020. Therefore, one of the most anticipated changes is separating oil and gas pipeline activities from other utility activities such as transmission lines, power lines, and water lines. These actions now require a Section 10 Rivers and Harbors Act (RHA) permit to be included in these applications, as well as limitations on length in miles.
If you have any of the following NWP and have not completed the authorized work in jurisdictional WOUS (including wetlands), you may require a new permit authorization. The following permits have been modified and/or created:
- Oil or Natural Gas Pipeline Activities
- Surface Coal Mining Activities
- Residential Developments
- Commercial and Institutional Developments
- Agricultural Activities
- Recreational Facilities
- Stormwater Management Facilities
- Mining Activities
- Commercial Shellfish Mariculture Activities
- Underground Coal Mining Activities
- Land-Based Renewable Energy Generation Facilities
- Water-Based Renewable Energy Generation Pilot Projects
- Seaweed Mariculture Activities
- Finfish Mariculture Activities
- Electric Utility Line and Telecommunications Activities
- Utility Line Activities for Water and Other Substances
You can read more about the revisions here.
If you are looking to obtain a new NWP or are uncertain if your project qualifies for these modifications, Hollaway Environmental Regulatory Specialists can help answer your questions and keep you informed!