INITIAL PUBLIC NOTICE
NATIONWIDE PERMIT REISSUANCE REQUEST FOR COMMENTS
On June 1, 2016, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published in the Federal Register its proposal to reissue the 50 existing nationwide permits (NWPs) and issue two 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-2015-0017 at www.regulations.gov, or by email to NWP2017@usace.army.mil 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 June 1, 2016 Federal Register notice. Comments on the proposed NWPs are due by August 1, 2016.
Enclosure A is an index of the proposed NWPs conditions, and definitions. Anyone wishing to provide comments may obtain a full text copy of the NWPs through the Corps Home Page at http://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/RegulatoryProgramandPermits/NationwidePermits.aspx , at www.regulations.gov in docket number COE-2015-0017, or at the Federal Register at https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-06-01/pdf/2016-12083.pdf.
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 important mechanisms to 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 B) lists the proposed regional conditions currently under consideration by the Southwest Division for the State of Arkansas. The Little Rock District is seeking comments on the proposed regional conditions and seeking comments on the need for additional regional conditions to help ensure that impacts authorized by the proposed NWPs are minimal. Unless otherwise noted, all proposed regional conditions listed on this enclosure are applicable for activities in the State of Arkansas. Comments on regional issues relating to the proposed NWPs and regional conditions are to be sent to Mr. Jim Ellis at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Little Rock District, Regulatory Division, 700 West Capitol Avenue, Room 6331, Little Rock, Arkansas 72201-3221, by telephone at (501) 324-5295 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments relating to regional conditions are due by July 21, 2016. 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. After the final NWPs are issued, States and Tribes will make their Clean Water Act Section 401 (401) water quality certification and States will make their Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) consistency determination decisions. The 401/CZMA decisions must be made within 90 days of the Federal Register notice announcing the issuance of the NWPs. The final NWPs will go into effect on March 19, 2017.
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 documents, as well as the proposed NWPs, are available for viewing at www.regulations.gov, docket number COE-2015-0017. Final decision documents will be prepared for the NWPs that are issued. In addition, the final national NWP decision documents will be supplemented by division engineers to address their decisions concerning regional conditions for the NWPs.