CONCORD, Mass. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District is proposing to revise and reissue the statewide New Hampshire General Permit (GP) with a series of multiple GPs covering activity- specific categories. Public comments on the proposal are due by Dec. 16, 2016.
The revised GPs will continue to authorize activities in waters of the U.S. within the state of New Hampshire and its coastal waters with minimal individual and cumulative adverse environmental impacts.
General Permits are encouraged as a way to streamline state and Federal regulatory programs. New England District already has had success with streamlining these programs with use of GPs in New England. Continued use of the successful GP process in place of nationwide permits (NWPs) will provide benefits to the public, including simplifying the process and expediting decisions while maintaining environmental protection. These GPs would authorize activities covered under the NWP program as well as those activities currently covered under the existing GP.
The existing GP will expire on Aug. 3, 2017, and the Corps of Engineers proposes to issue the GPs for another five years prior to that date. The revised GPs will continue the expedited review process for activities in Corps jurisdiction under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, and Section 103 of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act. A public notice, on the Corps website, was issued on Nov. 1, 2016 to coordinate reissuance of the GPs with Federal resource agencies, state agencies and the public.
Projects with minimal individual and cumulative effects on the aquatic environment will be approved administratively under these GPs. Representatives of the Corps, state agencies and the Federal resource agencies (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and National Marine
Fisheries Service) will continue to review those activities requiring a Pre-Discharge Notification (minor and major impact projects) to the Corps, as outlined in the GPs.
Projects that do not meet the terms and conditions of the GPs, including those that have the potential for more than minimal effects, will require an Individual Permit. The Individual Permit review process is detailed at 33 CFR 325, Processing of Department of Army Permits. The issuance of these GPs does not alter the Individual Permit review procedures, or Federal exemptions, which are not necessarily the same as the state of New Hampshire’s exemptions.
All GP authorizations would be subject to the applicable requirements, procedures and conditions contained in the GPs documentation. Project eligibility under these GPs will fall into three categories (minimum, minor and major). Individual authorizations under the GPs are not valid until all other required Federal, state and local permits and/or certifications are obtained.
The public notice, with more specifics on the proposal to revise and reissue the New Hampshire GP, can be viewed on the Corps website at www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/PublicNotices.aspx.
Public comments on the proposal to revise and reissue the New Hampshire GP should be forwarded no later than Dec. 16, 2016 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: David Keddell), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager David Keddell at 978-318-8692 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.