March 9, 2021
FEDERAL PUBLIC NOTICE
The District Commander has received a joint permit application for Federal and State permits as described below:
Mr. Brandon Stites
Virginia Electric and Power Company
600 E. Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219
PROJECT LOCATION: The proposed work would occur south of Bremo Road and west of the Virginia Electric and Power Company’s Bremo Power Station, in Fluvanna County, Virginia.
PROJECT SIZE: 127 acres
NEAREST WATERWAY: James River
LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE: 37.70668°, -78.270887°
PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND PURPOSE: The applicant proposes to construct and operate a new fossil fuel combustion products management facility that would facilitate the mandated closure of the coal combustion residual (CCR) surface impoundment at the Bremo Bluff Power Station. The applicants stated purpose is to comply with Virginia Senate Bill 1355 (SB 1355) and Virginia House Bill 2786 (HB 2786). The two bills, approved in March of 2019 and codified at Virginia Code § 10.1-1402.03, require the closure of certain CCR surface impoundments via removal of CCR in accordance with regulatory standards established by the Virginia Solid Waste Management Regulations (9VAC20-81). The project would permanently impact 6,316 linear feet of stream channel, 0.63 acres of palustrine forested wetlands, 0.93 acres of palustrine emergent wetlands, and 0.29 palustrine scrub shrub wetlands.
AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION: The applicant included their onsite and offsite alternatives analysis with their permit application request dated February 8, 2022. Pursuant to the Clean Water Act Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines, the Corps will evaluate the applicant’s efforts to avoid and minimize impacts to waters of the U.S. and complete a thorough analysis of all practicable alternatives to the proposed discharge into waters of the U.S. prior to rendering a permit decision.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant proposes to compensate for unavoidable impacts to streams by purchasing 7,323 stream credits from an approved stream mitigation bank. The amount of stream compensation is determined by using the Unified Stream Methodology, the approved methodology for calculating stream compensation in Norfolk District.
Due to a lack of availability of mitigation bank credits and Virginia Aquatic Resource Trust Fund (VARTF) wetland credits, the applicant proposes to compensate for the proposed impacts with Permittee Responsible Mitigation (PRM). The applicant provided an off-site mitigation plan as part of their application that would provide the 2.31 wetland credits required as compensation for unavoidable impacts resulting from their proposed activity. If wetland mitigation credits become available at an approved mitigation bank or through the VARTF in-lieu fee fund, prior to the commencement of construction, the applicant proposes to purchase the credits instead of using the PRM plan. The amount of wetland compensation is determined utilizing the compensation ratios of 2:1 for palustrine forested wetland impacts, 1.5:1 for palustrine scrub shrub impacts, and 1:1 for palustrine emergent wetland impacts and palustrine forested wetland conversion impacts.
A copy of the joint permit application can be found on the Virginia Marine Resources Commission’s website (https://webapps.mrc.virginia.gov/public/habitat/additionaldocs.php?id=20212305).
( ) Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 403).
(X) Sections 401 and 404 of the Clean Water Act (Public Law 95-217) and
Title 62.1 of the Code of Virginia.
( ) Section 103 of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972
(33 U.S.C. 1413).
FEDERAL EVALUATION OF APPLICATION: The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact including cumulative impacts of the proposed activity on the public interest. The decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefits which reasonably may be expected from the proposal must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All of the proposal's relevant factors will be considered, including conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, cultural values, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, flood plain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, consideration of property ownership and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people. The Environmental Protection Agency's "Guidelines for Specification of Disposal Sites for Dredged or Fill Material" will also be applied (Section 404(b)(1) of the Clean Water Act).
The Corps of Engineers is soliciting comments from the public, federal, state, and local agencies and officials; Indian Tribes; and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of this proposed activity. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps of Engineers to determine whether to issue, modify, condition, or deny a permit for this proposal. To make this decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above. Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. Preliminary review of the application indicates that no EIS will be required.
Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity. Anyone may request a public hearing to consider this permit application by writing to the District Commander within 30 days of the date of this notice, stating specific reasons for holding the public hearing. The District Commander will then decide if a hearing should be held.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: After conducting the Norfolk District Endangered Species Act (ESA) Project Review Process, the Corps has made the preliminary determination that:
The Northern long-eared bat may be affected, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Information and Planning and Consultation (IPaC) 4(d) determination key was completed and no further coordination with the FWS is required.
Additional information might change any of these findings.
HISTORIC AND CULTURAL RESOURCES:
No known Historic Resources eligible for inclusion or included in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) are in or near the Corps permit area or would likely be affected by the proposal.
Additional information may change any of these findings.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT: The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, as amended by the Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-267), requires all Federal agencies to consult with the NMFS on all actions, or proposed actions, permitted, funded, or undertaken by the agency, that may adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat (EFH).
There is no EFH in the Corps area of responsibility.
VIRGINIA’S COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM: For compliance with the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended for projects located in Virginia’s Coastal Zone, the applicant must certify that federally licensed or permitted activities affecting Virginia's coastal uses or resources will be conducted in a manner consistent with the Virginia’s Coastal Zone Management Program (Virginia CZM Program), and obtain concurrence from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Office of Environmental Impact Review (OEIR). It is the applicant’s responsibility to submit a consistency certification to the OEIR for concurrence or objection, and proof of concurrence must be submitted to the Corps prior to final permit issuance. A template federal consistency certification can be found in the Federal Consistency Manual here: https://www.deq.virginia.gov/permits-regulations/environmental-impact-review/federal-consistency . For more information or to obtain a list of the enforceable policies of the Virginia CZM Program, contact the DEQ-OEIR at (804) 698-4204 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
No concurrence is required because the project is not located within Virginia’s Coastal Zone.
VIRGINIA’S SECTION 401 WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION PROGRAM: The applicant must obtain, from the Virginia DEQ, a Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification for any federal license or permit that authorizes an activity that may result in a discharge into waters of the U.S. (40 CFR Part 121). As the Certifying Authority, the Virginia DEQ may grant, grant with conditions, or deny a certification request. Alternatively, the Virginia DEQ may waive, expressly or implicitly, its authority to act on a certification request. In either case, a written notice of waiver from DEQ (expressly waived) or from the Corps (implicitly waived), satisfies the project proponent’s requirement to obtain certification.
Pursuant to 33 CFR 325.2(b)(1)(i), this Public Notice serves as the Corps’ CWA § 401(a)(2) notification to the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Pursuant to 40 CFR 121.11-13, the EPA shall notify the Corps, the Virginia DEQ, and the applicant, within 30 days of receipt of the application and certification, if the Regional Administrator determines that the proposed discharge may affect the quality of the waters of any neighboring jurisdiction.
COMMENT PERIOD: Comments on this project should be in writing and can be sent by either email to email@example.com, or by regular mail, addressed to the Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (ATTN: CENAO-WRR), 9100 Arboretum Parkway, Suite 235, Richmond, VA 23235, and should be received by the close of business on March 24, 2022.
PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY: Comments and information, including the identity of the submitter, submitted in response to this Public Notice may be disclosed, reproduced, and distributed at the discretion of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Information that is submitted in connection with this Public Notice cannot be maintained as confidential by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Submissions should not include any information that the submitter seeks to preserve as confidential.
If you have any questions about this project or the permit process, contact Mr. Steven VanderPloeg at 804-397-9836 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Species Conclusion Table
USFWS Determination Key