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Comment deadline is Jan. 17, 2012: Corps of Engineers seeks public comments nationwide on improving its permitting, regulatory review program

Published Nov. 17, 2011

CONCORD, Mass. – On Nov. 16, 2011, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published in the Federal Register its request for public comments nationwide regarding its proposal under Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,” issued on Jan. 18, 2011.


The Corps of Engineers is seeking public input nationwide on its plan to retrospectively review its regulations under the Corps Regulatory Program (33 CFR 320-332 and 334). Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,” issued on Jan. 18, 2011, directs federal agencies to review existing significant regulations and identify those that can be made more effective or less burdensome in achieving regulatory objectives.


The Executive Order directs each agency to periodically review its existing significant regulations to determine whether any regulations should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed so as to make the agency's regulatory program more effective or less burdensome in achieving the regulatory objectives.


Section 404(e) of the Clean Water Act authorizes the Corps to develop general permits, including nationwide permits (NWPs), for minor activities in waters of the U.S. for a period of five years. Accordingly, every five years, the Corps undergoes a reauthorization process for the NWP program and includes public notices and provides an opportunity for public hearings. Comments for the NWP program are submitted during the reauthorization process. Therefore, the Corps is currently complying with the Executive Order 13563 direction to periodically review its existing significant regulations. Other regulations will be reviewed on an as-needed basis in accordance with new laws, court cases, etc.


The Federal Register notice is the public's opportunity to comment on the proposed retrospective review of the regulations and the continued periodic review of the NWP program for compliance with Executive Order 13563. Information submitted will help the Corps's determine whether adjustments to the regulations are necessary and appropriate, and whether additional guidance, education, or outreach would better assist the regulation users, agencies, and the public to address critical issues.


Comments on the proposed reviews are due by Jan. 17, 2012. Comments on national issues relating to these reviews should be submitted to docket number COE-2011-0028 at http://www.regulations.gov or by email to regulatory.review@usace.army.mil or by mail to Headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Directorate of Civil Works, ATTN: CECW-CO-R, 441 G Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20314-1000.

Instructions for submitting comments are provided in the Nov. 16, 2011 Federal Register notice (http://www.federalregister.gov/). The URL for the website that includes the regulations, as well as all of the Corps’ Regulatory Program's current regulations and supporting program data and information is http://www.usace.army.mil/CECW/Pages/reg_materials.aspx.


The Corps will evaluate all comments received to develop its list of review priorities, and will publish a notice in the Federal Register that summarizes the comments received and list the review priorities. The website will be updated as proposed revisions and final revisions of its regulations occur.


The Corps nationwide public notice with more information can be viewed on the Corps’ New England District website at http://www.nae.usace.army.mil. Select Regulatory/Permitting and then weekly public notices.

Tim Dugan

Release no. 2011-104