33 U.S. Code § 1344 - Permits for dredged or fill material
(a) Discharge into navigable waters at specified disposal sites
The Secretary may issue permits, after notice and opportunity for public hearings for the discharge of dredged or fill material into the navigable waters at specified disposal sites. Not later than the fifteenth day after the date an applicant submits all the information required to complete an application for a permit under this subsection, the Secretary shall publish the notice required by this subsection.
(b) Specification for disposal sites
Subject to subsection (c) of this section, each such disposal site shall be specified for each such permit by the Secretary
(1) through the application of guidelines developed by the Administrator, in conjunction with the Secretary, which guidelines shall be based upon criteria comparable to the criteria applicable to the territorial seas, the contiguous zone, and the ocean under section 1343 (c) of this title, and
(2) in any case where such guidelines under clause (1) alone would prohibit the specification of a site, through the application additionally of the economic impact of the site on navigation and anchorage.
(c) Denial or restriction of use of defined areas as disposal sites
The Administrator is authorized to prohibit the specification (including the withdrawal of specification) of any defined area as a disposal site, and he is authorized to deny or restrict the use of any defined area for specification (including the withdrawal of specification) as a disposal site, whenever he determines, after notice and opportunity for public hearings, that the discharge of such materials into such area will have an unacceptable adverse effect on municipal water supplies, shellfish beds and fishery areas (including spawning and breeding areas), wildlife, or recreational areas. Before making such determination, the Administrator shall consult with the Secretary. The Administrator shall set forth in writing and make public his findings and his reasons for making any determination under this subsection.
(d) “Secretary” defined
The term “Secretary” as used in this section means the Secretary of the Army, acting through the Chief of Engineers.
(e) General permits on State, regional, or nationwide basis
(1) In carrying out his functions relating to the discharge of dredged or fill material under this section, the Secretary may, after notice and opportunity for public hearing, issue general permits on a State, regional, or nationwide basis for any category of activities involving discharges of dredged or fill material if the Secretary determines that the activities in such category are similar in nature, will cause only minimal adverse environmental effects when performed separately, and will have only minimal cumulative adverse effect on the environment. Any general permit issued under this subsection shall
(B) set forth the requirements and standards which shall apply to any activity authorized by such general permit.
(2) No general permit issued under this subsection shall be for a period of more than five years after the date of its issuance and such general permit may be revoked or modified by the Secretary if, after opportunity for public hearing, the Secretary determines that the activities authorized by such general permit have an adverse impact on the environment or such activities are more appropriately authorized by individual permits.
(f) Non-prohibited discharge of dredged or fill material
(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, the discharge of dredged or fill material—
(A) from normal farming, silviculture, and ranching activities such as plowing, seeding, cultivating, minor drainage, harvesting for the production of food, fiber, and forest products, or upland soil and water conservation practices;
(B) for the purpose of maintenance, including emergency reconstruction of recently damaged parts, of currently serviceable structures such as dikes, dams, levees, groins, riprap, breakwaters, causeways, and bridge abutments or approaches, and transportation structures;
(C) for the purpose of construction or maintenance of farm or stock ponds or irrigation ditches, or the maintenance of drainage ditches;
(D) for the purpose of construction of temporary sedimentation basins on a construction site which does not include placement of fill material into the navigable waters;
(E) for the purpose of construction or maintenance of farm roads or forest roads, or temporary roads for moving mining equipment, where such roads are constructed and maintained, in accordance with best management practices, to assure that flow and circulation patterns and chemical and biological characteristics of the navigable waters are not impaired, that the reach of the navigable waters is not reduced, and that any adverse effect on the aquatic environment will be otherwise minimized;
(F) resulting from any activity with respect to which a State has an approved program under section 1288 (b)(4) of this title which meets the requirements of subparagraphs (B) and (C) of such section,
(2) Any discharge of dredged or fill material into the navigable waters incidental to any activity having as its purpose bringing an area of the navigable waters into a use to which it was not previously subject, where the flow or circulation of navigable waters may be impaired or the reach of such waters be reduced, shall be required to have a permit under this section.
(g) State administration
(1) The Governor of any State desiring to administer its own individual and general permit program for the discharge of dredged or fill material into the navigable waters (other than those waters which are presently used, or are susceptible to use in their natural condition or by reasonable improvement as a means to transport interstate or foreign commerce shoreward to their ordinary high water mark, including all waters which are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide shoreward to their mean high water mark, or mean higher high water mark on the west coast, including wetlands adjacent thereto) within its jurisdiction may submit to the Administrator a full and complete description of the program it proposes to establish and administer under State law or under an interstate compact. In addition, such State shall submit a statement from the attorney general (or the attorney for those State agencies which have independent legal counsel), or from the chief legal officer in the case of an interstate agency, that the laws of such State, or the interstate compact, as the case may be, provide adequate authority to carry out the described program.
(2) Not later than the tenth day after the date of the receipt of the program and statement submitted by any State under paragraph (1) of this subsection, the Administrator shall provide copies of such program and statement to the Secretary and the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
(3) Not later than the ninetieth day after the date of the receipt by the Administrator of the program and statement submitted by any State, under paragraph (1) of this subsection, the Secretary and the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, shall submit any comments with respect to such program and statement to the Administrator in writing.
(h) Determination of State’s authority to issue permits under State program; approval; notification; transfers to State program
(1) Not later than the one-hundred-twentieth day after the date of the receipt by the Administrator of a program and statement submitted by any State under paragraph (1) of this subsection, the Administrator shall determine, taking into account any comments submitted by the Secretary and the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, pursuant to subsection (g) of this section, whether such State has the following authority with respect to the issuance of permits pursuant to such program:
(A) To issue permits which—
(i) apply, and assure compliance with, any applicable requirements of this section, including, but not limited to, the guidelines established under subsection (b)(1) of this section, and sections 1317 and 1343 of this title;
(iii) can be terminated or modified for cause including, but not limited to, the following:
(B) To issue permits which apply, and assure compliance with, all applicable requirements of section 1318 of this title, or to inspect, monitor, enter, and require reports to at least the same extent as required in section 1318 of this title.
(C) To assure that the public, and any other State the waters of which may be affected, receive notice of each application for a permit and to provide an opportunity for public hearing before a ruling on each such application.
(D) To assure that the Administrator receives notice of each application (including a copy thereof) for a permit.
(E) To assure that any State (other than the permitting State), whose waters may be affected by the issuance of a permit may submit written recommendations to the permitting State (and the Administrator) with respect to any permit application and, if any part of such written recommendations are not accepted by the permitting State, that the permitting State will notify such affected State (and the Administrator) in writing of its failure to so accept such recommendations together with its reasons for so doing.
(F) To assure that no permit will be issued if, in the judgment of the Secretary, after consultation with the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating, anchorage and navigation of any of the navigable waters would be substantially impaired thereby.
(G) To abate violations of the permit or the permit program, including civil and criminal penalties and other ways and means of enforcement.
(2) If, with respect to a State program submitted under subsection (g)(1) of this section, the Administrator determines that such State—
(A) has the authority set forth in paragraph (1) of this subsection, the Administrator shall approve the program and so notify
(ii) the Secretary, who upon subsequent notification from such State that it is administering such program, shall suspend the issuance of permits under subsections (a) and (e) of this section for activities with respect to which a permit may be issued pursuant to such State program; or
(B) does not have the authority set forth in paragraph (1) of this subsection, the Administrator shall so notify such State, which notification shall also describe the revisions or modifications necessary so that such State may resubmit such program for a determination by the Administrator under this subsection.
(3) If the Administrator fails to make a determination with respect to any program submitted by a State under subsection (g)(1) of this section within one-hundred-twenty days after the date of the receipt of such program, such program shall be deemed approved pursuant to paragraph (2)(A) of this subsection and the Administrator shall so notify such State and the Secretary who, upon subsequent notification from such State that it is administering such program, shall suspend the issuance of permits under subsection (a) and (e) of this section for activities with respect to which a permit may be issued by such State.
(4) After the Secretary receives notification from the Administrator under paragraph (2) or (3) of this subsection that a State permit program has been approved, the Secretary shall transfer any applications for permits pending before the Secretary for activities with respect to which a permit may be issued pursuant to such State program to such State for appropriate action.
(5) Upon notification from a State with a permit program approved under this subsection that such State intends to administer and enforce the terms and conditions of a general permit issued by the Secretary under subsection (e) of this section with respect to activities in such State to which such general permit applies, the Secretary shall suspend the administration and enforcement of such general permit with respect to such activities.
(i) Withdrawal of approval
Whenever the Administrator determines after public hearing that a State is not administering a program approved under subsection (h)(2)(A) of this section, in accordance with this section, including, but not limited to, the guidelines established under subsection (b)(1) of this section, the Administrator shall so notify the State, and, if appropriate corrective action is not taken within a reasonable time, not to exceed ninety days after the date of the receipt of such notification, the Administrator shall
(1) withdraw approval of such program until the Administrator determines such corrective action has been taken, and
(2) notify the Secretary that the Secretary shall resume the program for the issuance of permits under subsections (a) and (e) of this section for activities with respect to which the State was issuing permits and that such authority of the Secretary shall continue in effect until such time as the Administrator makes the determination described in clause (1) of this subsection and such State again has an approved program.
(j) Copies of applications for State permits and proposed general permits to be transmitted to Administrator
Each State which is administering a permit program pursuant to this section shall transmit to the Administrator
(1) a copy of each permit application received by such State and provide notice to the Administrator of every action related to the consideration of such permit application, including each permit proposed to be issued by such State, and
(2) a copy of each proposed general permit which such State intends to issue. Not later than the tenth day after the date of the receipt of such permit application or such proposed general permit, the Administrator shall provide copies of such permit application or such proposed general permit to the Secretary and the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. If the Administrator intends to provide written comments to such State with respect to such permit application or such proposed general permit, he shall so notify such State not later than the thirtieth day after the date of the receipt of such application or such proposed general permit and provide such written comments to such State, after consideration of any comments made in writing with respect to such application or such proposed general permit by the Secretary and the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, not later than the ninetieth day after the date of such receipt. If such State is so notified by the Administrator, it shall not issue the proposed permit until after the receipt of such comments from the Administrator, or after such ninetieth day, whichever first occurs. Such State shall not issue such proposed permit after such ninetieth day if it has received such written comments in which the Administrator objects
(A) to the issuance of such proposed permit and such proposed permit is one that has been submitted to the Administrator pursuant to subsection (h)(1)(E) of this section, or
(B) to the issuance of such proposed permit as being outside the requirements of this section, including, but not limited to, the guidelines developed under subsection (b)(1) of this section unless it modifies such proposed permit in accordance with such comments. Whenever the Administrator objects to the issuance of a permit under the preceding sentence such written objection shall contain a statement of the reasons for such objection and the conditions which such permit would include if it were issued by the Administrator. In any case where the Administrator objects to the issuance of a permit, on request of the State, a public hearing shall be held by the Administrator on such objection. If the State does not resubmit such permit revised to meet such objection within 30 days after completion of the hearing or, if no hearing is requested within 90 days after the date of such objection, the Secretary may issue the permit pursuant to subsection (a) or (e) of this section, as the case may be, for such source in accordance with the guidelines and requirements of this chapter.
In accordance with guidelines promulgated pursuant to subsection (i)(2) ofsection 1314 of this title, the Administrator is authorized to waive the requirements of subsection (j) of this section at the time of the approval of a program pursuant to subsection (h)(2)(A) of this section for any category (including any class, type, or size within such category) of discharge within the State submitting such program.
(l) Categories of discharges not subject to requirements
The Administrator shall promulgate regulations establishing categories of discharges which he determines shall not be subject to the requirements of subsection (j) of this section in any State with a program approved pursuant to subsection (h)(2)(A) of this section. The Administrator may distinguish among classes, types, and sizes within any category of discharges.
(m) Comments on permit applications or proposed general permits by Secretary of the Interior acting through Director of United States Fish and Wildlife Service
Not later than the ninetieth day after the date on which the Secretary notifies the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service that
(1) an application for a permit under subsection (a) of this section has been received by the Secretary, or
(2) the Secretary proposes to issue a general permit under subsection (e) of this section, the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, shall submit any comments with respect to such application or such proposed general permit in writing to the Secretary.
(n) Enforcement authority not limited
Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the authority of the Administrator to take action pursuant to section 1319 of this title.
(o) Public availability of permits and permit applications
A copy of each permit application and each permit issued under this section shall be available to the public. Such permit application or portion thereof, shall further be available on request for the purpose of reproduction.
(q) Minimization of duplication, needless paperwork, and delays in issuance; agreements
Not later than the one-hundred-eightieth day after December 27, 1977, the Secretary shall enter into agreements with the Administrator, the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Interior, and Transportation, and the heads of other appropriate Federal agencies to minimize, to the maximum extent practicable, duplication, needless paperwork, and delays in the issuance of permits under this section. Such agreements shall be developed to assure that, to the maximum extent practicable, a decision with respect to an application for a permit under subsection (a) of this section will be made not later than the ninetieth day after the date the notice for such application is published under subsection (a) of this section.
(r) Federal projects specifically authorized by Congress
The discharge of dredged or fill material as part of the construction of a Federal project specifically authorized by Congress, whether prior to or on or after December 27, 1977, is not prohibited by or otherwise subject to regulation under this section, or a State program approved under this section, or section 1311 (a) or 1342 of this title (except for effluent standards or prohibitions under section 1317 of this title), if information on the effects of such discharge, including consideration of the guidelines developed under subsection (b)(1) of this section, is included in an environmental impact statement for such project pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 [42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.] and such environmental impact statement has been submitted to Congress before the actual discharge of dredged or fill material in connection with the construction of such project and prior to either authorization of such project or an appropriation of funds for such construction.
(s) Violation of permits
(1) Whenever on the basis of any information available to him the Secretary finds that any person is in violation of any condition or limitation set forth in a permit issued by the Secretary under this section, the Secretary shall issue an order requiring such person to comply with such condition or limitation, or the Secretary shall bring a civil action in accordance with paragraph (3) of this subsection.
(2) A copy of any order issued under this subsection shall be sent immediately by the Secretary to the State in which the violation occurs and other affected States. Any order issued under this subsection shall be by personal service and shall state with reasonable specificity the nature of the violation, specify a time for compliance, not to exceed thirty days, which the Secretary determines is reasonable, taking into account the seriousness of the violation and any good faith efforts to comply with applicable requirements. In any case in which an order under this subsection is issued to a corporation, a copy of such order shall be served on any appropriate corporate officers.
(3) The Secretary is authorized to commence a civil action for appropriate relief, including a permanent or temporary injunction for any violation for which he is authorized to issue a compliance order under paragraph (1) of this subsection. Any action under this paragraph may be brought in the district court of the United States for the district in which the defendant is located or resides or is doing business, and such court shall have jurisdiction to restrain such violation and to require compliance. Notice of the commencement of such acton  shall be given immediately to the appropriate State.
(4) Any person who violates any condition or limitation in a permit issued by the Secretary under this section, and any person who violates any order issued by the Secretary under paragraph (1) of this subsection, shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $25,000 per day for each violation. In determining the amount of a civil penalty the court shall consider the seriousness of the violation or violations, the economic benefit (if any) resulting from the violation, any history of such violations, any good-faith efforts to comply with the applicable requirements, the economic impact of the penalty on the violator, and such other matters as justice may require.
(t) Navigable waters within State jurisdiction
Nothing in this section shall preclude or deny the right of any State or interstate agency to control the discharge of dredged or fill material in any portion of the navigable waters within the jurisdiction of such State, including any activity of any Federal agency, and each such agency shall comply with such State or interstate requirements both substantive and procedural to control the discharge of dredged or fill material to the same extent that any person is subject to such requirements. This section shall not be construed as affecting or impairing the authority of the Secretary to maintain navigation.
 So in original. Probably should be “action”.
Source(June 30, 1948, ch. 758, title IV, § 404, as added Pub. L. 92–500, § 2,Oct. 18, 1972, 86 Stat. 884; amended Pub. L. 95–217, § 67(a), (b),Dec. 27, 1977, 91 Stat. 1600; Pub. L. 100–4, title III, § 313(d),Feb. 4, 1987, 101 Stat. 45.)
References in Text
The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, referred to in subsec. (r), is Pub. L. 91–190, Jan. 1, 1970, 83 Stat. 852, as amended, which is classified generally to chapter 55 (§ 4321 et seq.) of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 4321 of Title 42 and Tables.
1987—Subsec. (s). Pub. L. 100–4redesignated par. (5) as (4), substituted “$25,000 per day for each violation” for “$10,000 per day of such violation”, inserted provision specifying factors to consider in determining the penalty amount, and struck out former par. (4) which read as follows:
“(A) Any person who willfully or negligently violates any condition or limitation in a permit issued by the Secretary under this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than $2,500 nor more than $25,000 per day of violation, or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by both. If the conviction is for a violation committed after a first conviction of such person under this paragraph, punishment shall be by a fine of not more than $50,000 per day of violation, or by imprisonment for not more than two years, or by both.
“(B) For the purposes of this paragraph, the term ‘person’ shall mean, in addition to the definition contained in section 1362 (5) of this title, any responsible corporate officer.”
1977—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 95–217, § 67(a)(1), substituted “The Secretary” for “The Secretary of the Army, acting through the Chief of Engineers,” and inserted provision that, not later than the fifteenth day after the date an applicant submits all the information required to complete an application for a permit under this subsection, the Secretary publish the notice required by this subsection.
Subsecs. (b), (c). Pub. L. 95–217, § 67(a)(2), substituted “the Secretary” for “the Secretary of the Army”.
Subsecs. (d) to (t). Pub. L. 95–217, § 67(b), added subsecs. (d) to (t).
Transfer of Functions
For transfer of authorities, functions, personnel, and assets of the Coast Guard, including the authorities and functions of the Secretary of Transportation relating thereto, to the Department of Homeland Security, and for treatment of related references, see sections 468 (b), 551 (d), 552 (d), and 557 of Title 6, Domestic Security, and the Department of Homeland Security Reorganization Plan of November 25, 2002, as modified, set out as a note under section 542 of Title 6.
Enforcement functions of Administrator or other official of the Environmental Protection Agency and of Secretary or other official in Department of the Interior relating to review of the Corps of Engineers’ dredged and fill material permits and such functions of Secretary of the Army, Chief of Engineers, or other official in Corps of Engineers of the United States Army relating to compliance with dredged and fill material permits issued under this section with respect to pre-construction, construction, and initial operation of transportation system for Canadian and Alaskan natural gas were transferred to the Federal Inspector, Office of Federal Inspector for the Alaska Natural Gas Transportation System, until the first anniversary of the date of initial operation of the Alaska Natural Gas Transportation System, see Reorg. Plan No. 1 of 1979, §§ 102(a), (b), (e), 203 (a),44 F.R. 33663, 33666, 93 Stat. 1373, 1376, effective July 1, 1979, set out in the Appendix to Title 5, Government Organization and Employees. Office of Federal Inspector for the Alaska Natural Gas Transportation System abolished and functions and authority vested in Inspector transferred to Secretary of Energy by section 3012(b) ofPub. L. 102–486, set out as an Abolition of Office of Federal Inspector note under section 719e of Title 15, Commerce and Trade. Functions and authority vested in Secretary of Energy subsequently transferred to Federal Coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects by section 720d (f) of Title 15.
Mitigation and Mitigation Banking Regulations
“(1) To ensure opportunities for Federal agency participation in mitigation banking, the Secretary of the Army, acting through the Chief of Engineers, shall issue regulations establishing performance standards and criteria for the use, consistent with section 404 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1344), of on-site, off-site, and in-lieu fee mitigation and mitigation banking as compensation for lost wetlands functions in permits issued by the Secretary of the Army under such section. To the maximum extent practicable, the regulatory standards and criteria shall maximize available credits and opportunities for mitigation, provide flexibility for regional variations in wetland conditions, functions and values, and apply equivalent standards and criteria to each type of compensatory mitigation.
“(2) Final regulations shall be issued not later than two years after the date of the enactment of this Act [Nov. 24, 2003].”
Pub. L. 106–377, § 1(a)(2) [title I], Oct. 27, 2000, 114 Stat. 1441, 1441A–63, provided in part that: “For expenses necessary for administration of laws pertaining to regulation of navigable waters and wetlands, $125,000,000, to remain available until expended: Provided, That the Secretary of the Army, acting through the Chief of Engineers, is directed to use funds appropriated herein to: (1) by March 1, 2001, supplement the report, Cost Analysis For the 1999 Proposal to Issue and Modify Nationwide Permits, to reflect the Nationwide Permits actually issued on March 9, 2000, including changes in the acreage limits, preconstruction notification requirements and general conditions between the rule proposed on July 21, 1999, and the rule promulgated and published in the Federal Register; (2) after consideration of the cost analysis for the 1999 proposal to issue and modify nationwide permits and the supplement prepared pursuant to this Act [H.R. 5483, as enacted by section 1(a)(2) ofPub. L. 106–377, see Tables for classification] and by September 30, 2001, prepare, submit to Congress and publish in the Federal Register a Permit Processing Management Plan by which the Corps of Engineers will handle the additional work associated with all projected increases in the number of individual permit applications and preconstruction notifications related to the new and replacement permits and general conditions. The Permit Processing Management Plan shall include specific objective goals and criteria by which the Corps of Engineers’ progress towards reducing any permit backlog can be measured; (3) beginning on December 31, 2001, and on a biannual basis thereafter, report to Congress and publish in the Federal Register, an analysis of the performance of its program as measured against the criteria set out in the Permit Processing Management Plan; (4) implement a 1-year pilot program to publish quarterly on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s Regulatory Program website all Regulatory Analysis and Management Systems (RAMS) data for the South Pacific Division and North Atlantic Division beginning within 30 days of the enactment of this Act [Oct. 27, 2000]; and (5) publish in Division Office websites all findings, rulings, and decisions rendered under the administrative appeals process for the Corps of Engineers Regulatory Program as established in Public Law 106–60 [113 Stat. 486]: Provided further, That, through the period ending on September 30, 2003, the Corps of Engineers shall allow any appellant to keep a verbatim record of the proceedings of the appeals conference under the aforementioned administrative appeals process: Provided further, That within 30 days of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Army, acting through the Chief of Engineers, shall require all U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Divisions and Districts to record the date on which a section 404 individual permit application or nationwide permit notification is filed with the Corps of Engineers: Provided further, That the Corps of Engineers, when reporting permit processing times, shall track both the date a permit application is first received and the date the application is considered complete, as well as the reason that the application is not considered complete upon first submission.”
Authority To Delegate to State of Washington Functions of the Secretary Relating to Lake Chelan, Washington
Pub. L. 95–217, § 76,Dec. 27, 1977, 91 Stat. 1610, provided that: “The Secretary of the Army, acting through the Chief of Engineers, is authorized to delegate to the State of Washington upon its request all or any part of those functions vested in such Secretary by section 404 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act [this section] and by sections 9, 10, and 13 of the Act of March 3, 1899 [sections 401, 403, and 407 of this title], relating to Lake Chelan, Washington, if the Secretary determines (1) that such State has the authority, responsibility, and capability to carry out such functions, and (2) that such delegation is in the public interest. Such delegation shall be subject to such terms and conditions as the Secretary deems necessary, including, but not limited to, suspension and revocation for cause of such delegation.”
Contiguous Zone of United States