By Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory affairs & assistant general counsel, ARTBA

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Jan. 6 reissued 50 nationwide permits (NWP) for work in wetlands, streams and other waterways and added two new ones for “low-head dams and construction and maintenance of living shorelines.” They take affect March 19.

Nationwide permits save time by freeing regulated industries from having to obtain individual permits for projects that “cause only minimal adverse environmental effects.” NWPs are usually obtained in an average of 10 months, while individual permits can take more than two years.

ARTBA, as part of the Waters Advocacy Coalition, supported the regulatory reduction program in Aug. 1 comments, which also urged the Corps to consider the impacts of its “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule on NWPs. The WOTUS rule expands the jurisdiction of the Corps and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to virtually any wet area. If implemented, it would decrease the amount of activities that qualify for nationwide permits and increase the instances where individual permits are required.

Enforcement of the WOTUS rule is currently stayed by a federal appeals court ruling as part of ongoing litigation initiated by ARTBA and a number of other trade associations and states.