Nov 16, 2020 Waters Advocacy Coalition (WAC) Comments Re: U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers Proposal to Reissue and Modify Nationwide Permits
The Waters Advocacy Coalition (“WAC” or “Coalition”) offers the following comments on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (“Corps”) Proposal to Reissue and Modify Nationwide Permits, 85 Fed. Reg. 57,298 (Sept. 15, 2020). WAC represents a large cross-section of America’s construction, transportation, real estate, mining, manufacturing, forestry, agriculture, energy, wildlife conservation, and public health and safety sectors—all of which are vital to a thriving economy and provide much-needed jobs.1 WAC members’ activities, projects, and operations are often subject to regulation under Clean Water Act (“CWA”) section 404, 33 U.S.C. § 1344, and Coalition members frequently rely on nationwide permits (“NWPs”) to comply with the CWA. WAC’s comments on the Corps’ proposal are limited to ensuring consistency between the NWPs and the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (“NWPR”) that the Corps and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized earlier this year.
I. The Coalition Supports the NWP Program, Which Furthers Congress’s Intent to Allow the Corps to Focus Its Limited Resources on Activities Resulting in More than Minimal Impacts.
II. The Corps Should Clarify Certain Definitions and Concepts Related to the NWPR.
III. The Proposed Revision to General Condition 23 (Mitigation) Is Not Necessary to Ensure No More than Minimal Adverse Impacts.
IV . Conclusion
WAC appreciates the opportunity to submit these comments. Subject to the requested clarifications above, WAC generally supports the Corps’ proposal to reissue NWPs, which would continue to carry out Congress’s intent to allow more streamlined section 404 permitting for activities that have minimal adverse environmental effects. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the undersigned.