On September 15, 2020, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published in the Federal Register its proposal to reissue the 52 existing nationwide permits (NWPs) and issue five new NWPs.
Nationwide permits are general permits issued on a nationwide basis to streamline the authorization of activities that result in no more than minimal individual and cumulative adverse environmental effects. Many of the proposed NWPs require notification to the district engineer before commencing those activities, to ensure that the activities authorized by those NWPs cause no more than minimal individual and cumulative adverse environmental effects.
National Issues Concerning the Proposed NWPs: The Federal Register notice is the public’s opportunity to comment on the proposed NWPs, general conditions, and definitions. Comments on national issues relating to these NWPs should be submitted to docket number COE-2020-0002 at www.regulations.gov, or by email to email@example.com or by mail to Headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Directorate of Civil Works, ATTN: CECW-CO-R, 441 G Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20314-1000. Instructions for submitting comments are provided in the September 15, 2020 Federal Register notice. Comments on the proposed NWPs are due by November 16, 2020.
Regional Issues Concerning the Proposed NWPs, Including Regional Conditioning: Division engineers are authorized to add regional conditions specific to the needs and/or requirements of a particular region or state. Regional conditions are an important mechanism to help ensure that the adverse environmental effects of activities authorized by the NWPs are no more than minimal, both individually and cumulatively. Division engineers may also suspend or revoke specific NWPs in certain geographic areas (e.g., states or watersheds) or high-value aquatic systems where the adverse environmental effects caused by activities authorized by those NWPs may be more than minimal. An enclosure for this public notice (Enclosure 2) lists the proposed regional conditions currently under consideration by the South Pacific Division for the state of Texas.
The Albuquerque District is seeking comments on the proposed regional conditions and the potential need for additional regional conditions to help ensure that the adverse environmental effects of activities authorized by the proposed NWPs are no more than minimal, individually and cumulatively. Unless otherwise noted, all proposed regional conditions listed on this enclosure are applicable for activities in the state of Texas. Comments on regional issues relating to the proposed NWPs and proposed regional conditions should be sent by mail to:
Albuquerque District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Southern New Mexico Regulatory Branch
ATTN: Justin Riggs
200 E Griggs St.
Las Cruces, NM 88001
Comments relating to regional conditions are due by November 13, 2020. Similar public notices proposing regional conditions in other regions or states are being published concurrently by other division or district offices. After the final NWPs are issued, the final regional conditions will be issued after they are approved by the Division Commander.
States, tribes, and other certifying authorities will make their Clean Water Act Section 401 water quality certification (WQC) decisions after reviewing the proposed NWPs. States will make their Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) consistency determination decisions after reviewing the proposed NWPs.
Draft decision documents for each of the proposed NWPs, which include environmental documentation prepared for the purposes of the National Environmental Policy Act, have been written by Corps Headquarters. The decision documents will address compliance of the NWPs with the requirements for issuance under the Corps’ general permit authority. These draft decision documents, as well as the proposed NWPs, are available for viewing at www.regulations.gov, docket number COE-2020-0002. Final decision documents will be prepared for the NWPs that are issued.
Enclosed is a list of the proposed NWPs and general conditions (Enclosure 1). Anyone wishing to provide comments may obtain a full text copy of the NWPs through the Corps Home Page at https://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Regulatory-Program-and-Permits/Nationwide-Permits/, at www.regulations.gov in docket number COE-2020-0002, or at the following Federal Register address: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/09/15/2020-17116/proposal-to-reissue-and-modify-nationwide-permits.