NWP Deadline Nears with No Proposal in Sight

NAHB is growing more concerned that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has yet to propose new Clean Water Act Section 404 Nationwide Permits, even though the ones now in effect are set to expire in 10 months.

Nationwide permits (NWPs) authorize a wide variety of activities in wetlands and other areas near what the federal government has determined to be “waters of the United States.” Work in these jurisdictional wetlands can include as residential developments, utility lines and road crossings, for example.

The Corps routinely authorizes about 65,000 projects a year under the NWPs with limited review but without unnecessary cost or delay to the permit applicant.

By contrast, less than 4,000 projects are authorized annually under the much more complex and time-consuming individual permit process, which can take many months and tens of thousands of dollars to finalize.

The NWPs are set to expire March 18, 2017. They cannot be extended, and the new permits for the next five years have not yet been proposed.

NAHB’s worry: Failure to provide adequate time for mandatory public review and state coordination required as part of reissuance of the NWPs would have serious economic consequences for the spring building and construction season of 2017.

The only permit available to builders and developers if the NWP authorization lapses will be much more expensive and lengthy individual permits, with an accompanying workload likely to swamp state and federal administrators.

For additional information, contact Environmental Policy Program Manager Owen McDonough at 800 368 5242 x8662.

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