On September 29, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) issued a Special Public Notice (# SPN 15-60) to request comments on whether to issue a five (5) year Pennsylvania State Programmatic General Permit. The notice was published jointly by the Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh Districts of USACE.
General Permits (GP) are issued on a statewide basis and operate in conjunction with a State regulatory program that protects the aquatic environment in a manner equivalent to the federal program. In Pennsylvania, the GP would operate in conjunction with the PA Department of Environmental Protection’s Dam Safety and Waterway Management Rules and Regulations. The Special Public Notice proposes changes from the previous GP, which was issued in 2011 and is set to expire in 2016.
Proposed changes include eliminating certain projects from eligibility under the GP, redefining Non-Reporting and Reporting Activities, and monitoring for temporary impacts to wetlands that exceed 0.10 acre, among other changes.
USACE has indicated that their decision on whether to issue the proposed GP with or without modifications will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts on the public interest, and will reflect the national concern for the protection and utilization of important resources.
Comments are due by October 29, 2015. If you have questions about submitting comments for consideration by USACE, please contact our Environmental Law Group.