The United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has just released its final re-issued Nationwide Permits (NWPs) for 2012 which will include a new NWP applicable for oil and gas pads NWP 39. While these new NWPs have not yet been published in the Federal Register, they are now available on the Corps' website. Click here to see the new NWPs.
The Corps is reissuing 48 existing NWPs, issuing two new NWPs, reissuing 28 existing general conditions, and issuing three new general conditions. It is also reissuing all of the NWP definitions, and adding three new definitions. The Corps is also clarifying the definition of single and complete projects which should clarify jurisdictional issues regarding stream crossings for oil and gas pipeline companies.
- The NWPs authorize activities that have minimal individual and cumulative adverse effects on the aquatic environment.
- The NWPs authorize a variety of activities including the construction of utility lines for the oil and gas industry and certain mining activities which impact waters of the United States.
- Some NWP activities may proceed without notifying the Corps, as long as those activities satisfy the terms and conditions of the NWPs. Other NWP activities cannot proceed until the project proponent has submitted a preconstruction notification to the Corps, and for most NWPs the Corps has 45 days to notify the project proponent whether the activity is authorized by NWP.
Activities authorized by the current NWPs issued on March 12, 2007 that have commenced, or are under contract to commence, by March 18, 2012, will have until March 18, 2013, to complete the activity under the terms and conditions of the current NWPs.
Nationwide permit 21 activities that were authorized by the 2007 NWP 21 may be reauthorized without applying the new limits imposed on NWP 21, provided the permittee submits a written request for reauthorization to the district engineer by February 1, 2013, and the district engineer determines that the on-going surface coal mining activity will result in minimal adverse effects on the aquatic environment and notifies the permittee in writing that the activity is authorized under the 2012 NWP 21.