On November 16, 2020, comments were due to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) regarding their Proposal to Reissue and Modify Nationwide Permits (NWPs). Western states commented both individually and through the Association of Clean Water Administrators (ACWA). States that individually commented included Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.
States highlighted that removal of the Pre-Construction Notice (PCN) requirement would mean full reliance on the environmental staff of the federal agencies to accurately assess impacts to the streams because states would no longer be notified when a project is submitted or being permitted. While states acknowledge the expertise of the agencies, they are concerned with the depth and breadth of their knowledge of state-specific water quality standards and cumulative impact assessments that are a central part of project certification. The 300-LF threshold also is of concern, especially to states with headwaters that have smaller, more narrow streams and that are critically important to the health of the watershed and waters downstream. Many states requested that the appropriate deadlines be changed to allow states to consider and make certification decisions based on the final nationwide permits, not the proposed versions as they are currently required to do. Comments are available at www.regulations.gov, Docket COE-2020-0002. Select letters are included below.