CONCORD, Mass. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District plans to issue the statewide Vermont General Permits (GPs), pursuant to 33 CFR Part 325.5(c)(l), for projects with minimal impact to aquatic resources on Dec. 6, 2017.
The Vermont GPs will replace the prior statewide Vermont GP, which expires on Dec. 6, 2017, with a series of multiple GPs covering activityspecific categories. These GPs become effective on Dec. 6, 2017 and will continue the expedited review process for activities subject to Corps jurisdiction under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, in waters of the U.S., including navigable waters, within boundaries of the state of Vermont.
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 throughout New England. These GPs are designed to authorize activities covered under the Nationwide Permit (NWP) program and the prior VT GP.
Some major changes from the previous GP include: 1) The new VT GPs are organized into 21 activity-specific General Permits (Appendix A). 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. Appendix A also combines work within Lake Champlain, Lake Memphremagog, Wallace Pond and adjacent wetlands and other navigable and non-navigable waters and wetlands in one table instead of the previous two tables; 2) Updated general conditions according to current state and Federal law and policies; and 3) The new Vermont GPs' category names have changed from Category 1 to Self-verification (SV) and from Category 2 to Pre-Construction Notification (PCN) to be consistent with the NWP program.
The 2017 Vermont GPs will supersede the previous VT GP which will expire on Dec. 6, 2017. Activities that were authorized by the previous VT GP but had not commenced or were not under contract to commence by Dec. 6, 2017 will need to apply for a new authorization under the new VT GPs. Conversely, activities authorized by the previous VT GP that have either commenced or are under contract to commence will have an additional year from the expiration date of Dec. 6, 2017 to complete the work.
The public notice, with more specifics and a copy of the Vermont GPs, can be viewed on the Corps website at www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/PublicNotices.aspx.
Any questions should be directed 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. Permit Project Manager Michael Adams can be reached at 802-872-2893 or 978-318-8485 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.