On September 15, 2020, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) published its Proposal to Reissue and Modify Nationwide Permits (Proposal) in the Federal Register. Based on the expected timing for finalization and implementation, these new Nationwide Permits (NWPs) would become effective roughly 1 year prior to the planned expiration of the 2017 NWPs on March 22, 2022. Overall, NWPs are proposed to be reissued with similar, if not more flexible, terms relative to project impacts to waters of the U.S.
The following provides a summary of the Proposal’s revisions to the existing NWPs:
Reorganization and addition of NWPs
- Splitting the existing NWP 12 (Utility Line Activities) into three NWPs
- NWP 12 – Oil or Natural Gas Pipeline Activities
- NWP C – Electric Utility Line and Telecommunication Activities
- NWP D – Utility Line Activities for Water and Other Substances
- Creating two new NWPs for mariculture
- NWP A – Seaweed Mariculture
- NWP B – Finfish Mariculture
- Creating a new NWP for certain water recycling facilities
- NWP E – Water Reclamation and Reuse Facilities
Notable modifications to conditions and pre-construction notification (PCN) requirements
- Removal of the 300-linear-foot limit for stream bed loss that applies to NWPs 21, 29, 39, 50, 51, and 52.
- NWP 3 is modified to allow small amount of protective riprap to conforming structures without PCN.
- NWP 12 is modified to have only two PCN triggers (compared to the current NWP 12 which has seven PCN triggers).
- NWP 17 is modified to increase generating capacity of conforming facilities from 5,000 kW to 10,000 kW.
SWCA CAN HELP
In general, SWCA expects that the proposed NWP modifications will confer a benefit to project proponents. SWCA encourages stakeholders to participate in the comment process and to provide support or concerns regarding the proposed NWPs.
Comments on the Proposal can be submitted through November 16, 2020 here.