33 CFR § 320.2 - Authorities to issue permits.

§ 320.2 Authorities to issue permits.

(a) Section 9 of the Rivers and Harbors Act, approved March 3, 1899 (33 U.S.C. 401) (hereinafter referred to as section 9), prohibits the construction of any dam or dike across any navigable water of the United States in the absence of Congressional consent and approval of the plans by the Chief of Engineers and the Secretary of the Army. Where the navigable portions of the waterbody lie wholly within the limits of a single state, the structure may be built under authority of the legislature of that state if the location and plans or any modification thereof are approved by the Chief of Engineers and by the Secretary of the Army. The instrument of authorization is designated a permit (See 33 CFR part 321.) Section 9 also pertains to bridges and causeways but the authority of the Secretary of the Army and Chief of Engineers with respect to bridges and causeways was transferred to the Secretary of Transportation under the Department of Transportation Act of October 15, 1966 (49 U.S.C. 1155g(6)(A)). A DA permit pursuant to section 404 of the Clean Water Act is required for the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States associated with bridges and causeways. (See 33 CFR part 323.)

(b) Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act approved March 3, 1899, (33 U.S.C. 403) (hereinafter referred to as section 10), prohibits the unauthorized obstruction or alteration of any navigable water of the United States. The construction of any structure in or over any navigable water of the United States, the excavating from or depositing of material in such waters, or the accomplishment of any other work affecting the course, location, condition, or capacity of such waters is unlawful unless the work has been recommended by the Chief of Engineers and authorized by the Secretary of the Army. The instrument of authorization is designated a permit. The authority of the Secretary of the Army to prevent obstructions to navigation in navigable waters of the United States was extended to artificial islands, installations, and other devices located on the seabed, to the seaward limit of the outer continental shelf, by section 4(f) of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act of 1953 as amended (43 U.S.C. 1333(e)). (See 33 CFR part 322.)

(c) Section 11 of the Rivers and Harbors Act approved March 3, 1899, (33 U.S.C. 404), authorizes the Secretary of the Army to establish harbor lines channelward of which no piers, wharves, bulkheads, or other works may be extended or deposits made without approval of the Secretary of the Army. Effective May 27, 1970, permits for work shoreward of those lines must be obtained in accordance with section 10 and, if applicable, section 404 of the Clean Water Act (see § 320.4(o) of this part).

(d) Section 13 of the Rivers and Harbors Act approved March 3, 1899, (33 U.S.C. 407), provides that the Secretary of the Army, whenever the Chief of Engineers determines that anchorage and navigation will not be injured thereby, may permit the discharge of refuse into navigable waters. In the absence of a permit, such discharge of refuse is prohibited. While the prohibition of this section, known as the Refuse Act, is still in effect, the permit authority of the Secretary of the Army has been superseded by the permit authority provided the Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the states under sections 402 and 405 of the Clean Water Act, (33 U.S.C. 1342 and 1345). (See 40 CFR parts 124 and 125.)

(e) Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act approved March 3, 1899, (33 U.S.C. 408), provides that the Secretary of the Army, on the recommendation of the Chief of Engineers, may grant permission for the temporary occupation or use of any sea wall, bulkhead, jetty, dike, levee, wharf, pier, or other work built by the United States. This permission will be granted by an appropriate real estate instrument in accordance with existing real estate regulations.

(f) Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344) (hereinafter referred to as section 404) authorizes the Secretary of the Army, acting through the Chief of Engineers, to issue permits, after notice and opportunity for public hearing, for the discharge of dredged or fill material into the waters of the United States at specified disposal sites. (See 33 CFR part 323.) The selection and use of disposal sites will be in accordance with guidelines developed by the Administrator of EPA in conjunction with the Secretary of the Army and published in 40 CFR part 230. If these guidelines prohibit the selection or use of a disposal site, the Chief of Engineers shall consider the economic impact on navigation and anchorage of such a prohibition in reaching his decision. Furthermore, the Administrator can deny, prohibit, restrict or withdraw the use of any defined area as a disposal site whenever he determines, after notice and opportunity for public hearing and after consultation with the Secretary of the Army, that the discharge of such materials into such areas will have an unacceptable adverse effect on municipal water supplies, shellfish beds and fishery areas, wildlife, or recreational areas. (See 40 CFR part 230).

(g) Section 103 of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972, as amended (33 U.S.C. 1413) (hereinafter referred to as section 103), authorizes the Secretary of the Army, acting through the Chief of Engineers, to issue permits, after notice and opportunity for public hearing, for the transportation of dredged material for the purpose of disposal in the ocean where it is determined that the disposal will not unreasonably degrade or endanger human health, welfare, or amenities, or the marine environment, ecological systems, or economic potentialities. The selection of disposal sites will be in accordance with criteria developed by the Administrator of the EPA in consultation with the Secretary of the Army and published in 40 CFR parts 220 through 229. However, similar to the EPA Administrator's limiting authority cited in paragraph (f) of this section, the Administrator can prevent the issuance of a permit under this authority if he finds that the disposal of the material will result in an unacceptable adverse impact on municipal water supplies, shellfish beds, wildlife, fisheries, or recreational areas. (See 33 CFR part 324).

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