On September 15, 2020, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published a proposal to reissue the 52 existing nationwide permits (NWPs) and issue 5 new NWPs. The re-issuance clarifies text in the permits and general conditions. Under E.O. 13783, the objectives of the proposed changes are to reduce regulatory burdens on the production, distribution, and use of energy while maintaining environmental incentives and protections provided by NWPs. A summary chart of the proposed 2020 NWPs can be found here.
Proposed changes to NWP-12 include issuing separate NWPs for general categories of utility line sectors:
- Modify NWP-12 – Oil or natural gas pipeline activities
- New NWP C – Electric utility line and telecommunication activities
- New NWP D – Utility line activities for water and other substances
(New proposed NWPs are given letter designations until they are officially adopted, then they will be given a number.)
These proposed changes to the NWP-12 area result from concerns about recurring litigation on the use of NWP-12 for oil and natural gas pipeline activities and the effects on other utility line sectors.
Division engineers have the authority to add regional conditions to NWPs to ensure no more than minimal adverse environmental effects are a result of activities authorized by the NWP. The Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia Corps Districts have published proposed regional conditions and are seeking comments by November 14, 2020 (SPN-20-62).