33 CFR 330.1 - Purpose and policy.
(a) Purpose. This part describes the policy and procedures used in the Department of the Army's nationwide permit program to issue, modify, suspend, or revoke nationwide permits; to identify conditions, limitations, and restrictions on the nationwide permits; and, to identify any procedures, whether required or optional, for authorization by nationwide permits.
(b) Nationwide permits. Nationwide permits (NWPs) are a type of general permit issued by the Chief of Engineers and are designed to regulate with little, if any, delay or paperwork certain activities having minimal impacts. The NWPs are proposed, issued, modified, reissued (extended), and revoked from time to time after an opportunity for public notice and comment. Proposed NWPs or modifications to or reissuance of existing NWPs will be adopted only after the Corps gives notice and allows the public an opportunity to comment on and request a public hearing regarding the proposals. The Corps will give full consideration to all comments received prior to reaching a final decision.
(c) Terms and conditions. An activity is authorized under an NWP only if that activity and the permittee satisfy all of the NWP's terms and conditions. Activities that do not qualify for authorization under an NWP still may be authorized by an individual or regional general permit. The Corps will consider unauthorized any activity requiring Corps authorization if that activity is under construction or completed and does not comply with all of the terms and conditions of an NWP, regional general permit, or an individual permit. The Corps will evaluate unauthorized activities for enforcement action under 33 CFR part 326. The district engineer (DE) may elect to suspend enforcement proceedings if the permittee modifies his project to comply with an NWP or a regional general permit. After considering whether a violation was knowing or intentional, and other indications of the need for a penalty, the DE can elect to terminate an enforcement proceeding with an after-the-fact authorization under an NWP, if all terms and conditions of the NWP have been satisfied, either before or after the activity has been accomplished.
(d) Discretionary authority. District and division engineers have been delegated a discretionary authority to suspend, modify, or revoke authorizations under an NWP. This discretionary authority may be used by district and division engineers only to further condition or restrict the applicability of an NWP for cases where they have concerns for the aquatic environment under the Clean Water Act section 404(b)(1) Guidelines or for any factor of the public interest. Because of the nature of most activities authorized by NWP, district and division engineers will not have to review every such activity to decide whether to exercise discretionary authority. The terms and conditions of certain NWPs require the DE to review the proposed activity before the NWP authorizes its construction. However, the DE has the discretionary authority to review any activity authorized by NWP to determine whether the activity complies with the NWP. If the DE finds that the proposed activity would have more than minimal individual or cumulative net adverse effects on the environment or otherwise may be contrary to the public interest, he shall modify the NWP authorization to reduce or eliminate those adverse effects, or he shall instruct the prospective permittee to apply for a regional general permit or an individual permit. Discretionary authority is also discussed at 33 CFR 330.4(e) and 330.5.
(1) In most cases, permittees may proceed with activities authorized by NWPs without notifying the DE. However, the prospective permittee should carefully review the language of the NWP to ascertain whether he must notify the DE prior to commencing the authorized activity. For NWPs requiring advance notification, such notification must be made in writing as early as possible prior to commencing the proposed activity. The permittee may presume that his project qualifies for the NWP unless he is otherwise notified by the DE within a 45-day period. The 45-day period starts on the date of receipt of the notification in the Corps district office and ends 45 calendar days later regardless of weekends or holidays. If the DE notifies the prospective permittee that the notification is incomplete, a new 45-day period will commence upon receipt of the revised notification. The prospective permittee may not proceed with the proposed activity before expiration of the 45-day period unless otherwise notified by the DE. If the DE fails to act within the 45-day period, he must use the procedures of 33 CFR 330.5 in order to modify, suspend, or revoke the NWP authorization.
(2) The DE will review the notification and may add activity-specific conditions to ensure that the activity complies with the terms and conditions of the NWP and that the adverse impacts on the aquatic environment and other aspects of the public interest are individually and cumulatively minimal.
(3) For some NWPs involving discharges into wetlands, the notification must include a wetland delineation. The DE will review the notification and determine if the individual and cumulative adverse environmental effects are more than minimal. If the adverse effects are more than minimal the DE will notify the prospective permittee that an individual permit is required or that the prospective permittee may propose measures to mitigate the loss of special aquatic sites, including wetlands, to reduce the adverse impacts to minimal. The prospective permittee may elect to propose mitigation with the original notification. The DE will consider that proposed mitigation when deciding if the impacts are minimal. The DE shall add activity-specific conditions to ensure that the mitigation will be accomplished. If sufficient mitigation cannot be developed to reduce the adverse environmental effects to the minimal level, the DE will not allow authorization under the NWP and will instruct the prospective permittee on procedures to seek authorization under an individual permit.
(f) Individual Applications. DEs should review all incoming applications for individual permits for possible eligibility under regional general permits or NWPs. If the activity complies with the terms and conditions of one or more NWP, he should verify the authorization and so notify the applicant. If the DE determines that the activity could comply after reasonable project modifications and/or activity-specific conditions, he should notify the applicant of such modifications and conditions. If such modifications and conditions are accepted by the applicant, verbally or in writing, the DE will verify the authorization with the modifications and conditions in accordance with 33 CFR 330.6(a). However, the DE will proceed with processing the application as an individual permit and take the appropriate action within 15 calendar days of receipt, in accordance with 33 CFR 325.2(a)(2), unless the applicant indicates that he will accept the modifications or conditions.
(g) Authority. NWPs can be issued to satisfy the permit requirements of section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, section 404 of the Clean Water Act, section 103 of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, or some combination thereof. The applicable authority will be indicated at the end of each NWP. NWPs and their conditions previously published at 33 CFR 330.5 and 330.6 will remain in effect until they expire or are modified or revoked in accordance with the procedures of this part.