USACE Posts Draft of Proposal to Reissue and Modify Nationwide Permits

Nationwide Permits (NWPs) are necessary for 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. On Sept. 15, the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) posted a draft of their proposal to reissue and modify its existing NWPs in the Federal Register. This includes a proposal to issue five new NWPs. With these modifications, the USACE hopes 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.

One of the 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.  Two of the other proposed NWPs would authorize certain categories of mariculture activities (i.e., seaweed and finfish mariculture) that are not authorized by NWP 48. Lastly, the USACE is also proposing to divide NWP12, which authorizes utility line activities, into two separate NWPs including:

  • 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 comment period runs until November 16, 2020. The current version of the Nationwide Permits (2017) expire on March 28, 2021. S+W is currently reviewing the NWP for wetland and stream restoration projects as well as NWPs that may affect our clients. We are available to assist you and your organization as you review the new requirements of the 2021 NWPs. Feel free to contact us to further discuss the language and ramifications of these new proposed permits