CONCORD, Mass. –The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District is proposing to reissue the statewide Vermont General Permit (GP), pursuant to 33 CFR Part 325.5(c)(l), with a series of multiple GPs covering activity-specific categories. The revised GPs will continue to authorize activities in waters of the U.S. within the state of Vermont with minimal individual and cumulative adverse environmental impacts.
The existing GP will expire on Dec. 6, 2017. The Corps 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 and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899.
General Permits are used as a way to streamline state and federal regulatory programs. The New England District has already had success with streamlining these programs with the use of GPs in New England. This notice is being issued in accordance with 33 CFR 325.3(b) to coordinate reissuance of the GPs with federal resource agencies, state agencies and the general public.
The revised GP organizes eligible work into 21 activity-specific categories. This was intended to satisfy the requirements of Section 404(e) of the Clean Water Act, which allows the Corps to issue general permits for activities that are similar in nature and will cause only minimal individual and cumulative adverse environmental effects. Identifying specific activities allows the Corps to adequately assess cumulative impacts of permitted activities, as well as fully assess impacts on threatened and endangered species. The proposed GPs retain the function and utility of the existing Vermont GP and are not expected to result in significant substantive changes to how activities in waters of the U.S. are regulated in the state of Vermont.
All GP authorizations would be subject to the applicability requirements, procedures, and conditions contained in the GP documentation. Project eligibility under these GPs will fall into two Categories, Self Verification (SV) and Pre-Construction Notification (PCN), and are more fully described in Appendix A - General Permits. Individual GP authorizations are not valid until all other required federal, state and local permits and/or certifications are obtained.
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 Park Service) will continue to review those activities requiring a PCN to the Corps as outlined within 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 the Army Permits. Reissuance of the GPs will not alter the Individual Permit review procedures, or federal exemptions, which are not necessarily the same as the state of Vermont's exemptions
The public notice, with more specifics on the proposed reissuance of the Vermont GP and a copy of the draft Vermont GP, can be viewed on the Corps website at www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/PublicNotices.aspx.
Public comments on the proposed reissuance of the Vermont GP should be forwarded no later than July 15, 2017 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Vermont Project Office (ATTN: Michael Adams), 11 Lincoln Street, Room 210, Essex Junction, Vermont 05452. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Michael Adams at 802-872-2893 or 978-318-8485 or by email to email@example.com.