21 April 2020
FEDERAL PUBLIC NOTICE The purpose of this Public Notice is to inform the general public that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District signed a Funding Agreement (Agreement) with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), to accept and expend funds to expedite the processing of their Department of the Army (DA) permit applications, subject to a series of limitations.
On April 14, 2020, the Norfolk District Commander determined that acceptance and expenditure of such funds would be in accordance with Section 214 of the Water Resources Development Act of 2000, as amended [WRDA 214 requirements, as amended by the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014, are now codified under 33 U.S.C 2352].
On February 20, 2020, the Norfolk District circulated the initial Public Notice announcing our preliminary intent to accept and expend such funds, and stated that we had developed a draft funding agreement with VDOT. The Public Notice also discussed the kind of activities for which funds would be expended and the safeguarding procedures which would be used to ensure that funds will not impact impartial decision-making. Those procedures, as laid out in the final, executed agreement, include:
(a) Funds would not be expended for review of project managers’ work by supervisors or other persons in the decision making chain of command.
(b) All final permit decisions for cases where these funds are used must be reviewed and approved in writing at least one level above the decision maker.
(c) Funds from this agreement will not be used for enforcement activities. Funds may be used for compliance inspections, but cannot be used to resolve non-compliance issues.
(d) All final permit decisions (including no permit required decisions) for applications where these funds are expended will be made available on the Corps Headquarters’ web page.
(e) The Corps must ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations and will not eliminate any procedures or decisions that would otherwise be required for the type of project and permit application under consideration.
(f) Instruments for mitigation banks or in-lieu-fee programs developed for the entity with a funding agreement must be signed by the Regulatory Branch Chief or higher level position that is not funded by any funding agreement.
(g) All preliminary jurisdictional determinations (JDs) and approved JDs where funds are used to complete the JD must have documentation that a nonfunded regulator conducted a review of the determination. The review does not need to be a field review.
(h) A non-funded decision-maker at least one level above the funded position will also review and approve each of the following determinations as they are made: (1) the level of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review the USACE will conduct; (2) the range of alternatives that will be evaluated; and (3) the stated purpose and need for the project.
Copies of the February 2020 Public Notice and this Public Notice are available on the Norfolk District Regulatory website at https://www.nao.usace.army.mil/Media/PublicNotices.
For additional information please call Kimberly Prisco-Baggett of my staff at 757-201- 7873. This public notice is issued by the Chief, Regulatory Branch.
Attachment: Final (Signed) Funding Agreement