U.S. Department of Army Corps of Engineers Seeks Public Comment on Wetlands Permitting Regulations

November 29, 2011
by JONATHAN E. RINDE
MGKF Special Alert

In the November 16, 2011 issue of the Federal Register, the U.S. Department of Army – Corps of Engineers ("Corps") published a notice seeking public input on its wetlands permitting regulations, more commonly known as the Section 404 permitting program. The Corps did so to comply with Executive Order 13563, which directs all federal agencies to review existing significant regulations and identify those that can be more effective or less burdensome in achieving regulatory objectives.

In its Federal Register notice, the Corps noted that it evaluates the effectiveness of its Section 404 nationwide permitting program every five years, and during that evaluation already solicits public comments on any proposed revisions to the nationwide permitting program. In its recent notice, the Corps stated that it was seeking public comments on its plan to retrospectively review its Section 404 permitting program, and in requesting public comments, posed eight separate questions regarding its permitting program and encouraged respondents to answer those questions or raise additional issues or make suggestions unrelated to those questions. These questions included one asking how the Corps’ Section 404 permitting regulations could better achieve simplified and efficient outcomes, while another question asked how else might the Corps modify, clarify, or improve its Section 404 regulations to reduce burdens, promote predictability, and increase efficiency?

The Corps seeks public comment for a period of 60 days ending January 17, 2012.

If you would like assistance in providing comments to the Corps regarding its Section 404 wetlands permitting program, please feel free to contact Jonathan E. Rinde at (jrinde@mgkflaw.com; 484-430-2325) or any other member of the Firm.