On January 6, 2017, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) published the notice in the Federal Register announcing the reissuance of all 50 existing nationwide permits (NWPs), general conditions, and definitions with some modifications. The Corps also issued two new NWPs, one new general condition, and five new definitions. The 2017 NWPs will go into effect on March 19, 2017, and will expire on March 18, 2022.
With the publication of this Federal Register notice, Corps districts will begin finalizing their regional conditions for the new and reissued NWPs. Regional conditions will provide additional protection for the aquatic environment, and will help ensure that the NWPs authorize only those activities with no more than minimal adverse environmental effects. Regional conditions will help ensure protection of high value waters within the Norfolk District. The regional conditions currently under consideration by the North Atlantic Division for the Commonwealth of Virginia, including the military installations in Northern Virginia within Baltimore District’s Area of Responsibility (AOR) are attached to this public notice. The Norfolk District is seeking comments on the 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. Comments on regional issues relating to the proposed NWPs and proposed regional conditions should be sent to the Norfolk District, Regulatory Branch at 803 Front Street, Norfolk, VA 23510; ATTN: Melissa Nash or to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments relating to regional conditions are due by February 21, 2017.
The publication of this Federal Register notice also begins the 60-day period for states, Tribes, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to complete their water quality certification (WQC) processes for the NWPs. The 60-day period for WQC will end on March 6, 2017. This Federal Register notice also begins the 90-day period for coastal states to complete their Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) consistency determination processes. The 90-day period for CZMA consistency determinations will end on April 5, 2017.
If coastal states do not complete their CZMA consistency determination processes before the 2017 NWPs go into effect on March 19, 2017, the use of an NWP to authorize an activity within, or outside, a state’s coastal zone that will affect land or water uses or natural resources of that state’s coastal zone, is contingent upon obtaining an individual CZMA consistency determination, or a case-specific presumption of CZMA concurrence.
The January 6, 2017, Federal Register notice is available for viewing at the Norfolk District office located at 803 Front Street, Norfolk, VA 23510 or on the Internet at http://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/RegulatoryProgramandPermits/NationwidePermits.aspx . As an alternative, interested parties can access the January 6, 2017, final rule that was published in the Federal Register through the U.S. Government Printing Office at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collection.action?collectionCode=FR .
The Corps has also issued final decision documents for the new and reissued
NWPs. These documents are available at www.regulations.gov at docket number COE-2015-0017. Furthermore, the national NWP decision documents will be supplemented by Division Engineers to address decisions concerning the addition of regional conditions to the NWPs.