These Changes May Affect Your Ongoing Projects

Brian Breissinger By: Brian Breissinger

We wanted to update you on two recent regulatory changes / additions that could affect your ongoing projects.

Updates to Nationwide Permit 12 Availability

On May 11, 2020 a new ruling was made to narrow an April ruling to vacate NWP12, which will allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to continue to issue NWP12 for non-pipeline construction work and routine activities on existing projects.

NOTE: the order only relates to NEW oil and gas pipelines. "NWP 12 is vacated as it relates to the construction of new oil and gas pipelines pending completion of the consultation process and compliance with all environmental statutes and regulations. NWP 12 remains in place during remand insofar as it authorizes non-pipeline construction activities and routine maintenance, inspection, and repair activities on existing NWP 12 projects."

If you have any questions about this amendment and how it could impact your projects, please contact Brian Breissinger at brian.breissinger@timmons.com.

Norfolk District Adds New Permit Application Component

Another regulatory change that could affect your project was also announced on May 11th by USACE’s Norfolk District Regulatory Office. A Public Notice was issued for the new Norfolk District Wetland Attribute Form. The form “provides a detailed, rapid, and qualitative description of the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of wetlands being evaluated under the Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 404 permitting process.” This form will assist USACE in “making more informed permit decisions” and will give them information consistent to what the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and other regulatory agencies typically require.

Timmons Group can assist our clients in completing the form, which should be submitted for projects with impacts to 1-acre or more of wetlands. Since the new form is in the testing phase, USACE will be accepting comments on the form through November 8, 2020. Further changes to the form will be evaluated by USACE at that time.

Please contact Brian Breissinger with any questions regarding this form at brian.breissinger@timmons.com.

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