The American Public Power Association generally supports the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed rule to reissue and modify nationwide permits in comments it filed in response to the proposed rule. At the same time, APPA offered several recommendations to improve and streamline nationwide permit submittals under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.
APPA believes an efficient and effective nationwide permit program furthers the strong national interest in a reliable, resilient, and cost-effective electric grid and in the ability to continue to develop diverse, clean, and secure energy sources.
APPA said it supports a Corps proposal that would simplify preconstruction notification requirements and maintain the longstanding definition of “single and complete” project, among other things.
APPA also recommended that the Corps make additional changes to further simplify the preconstruction notification process.
APPA said it also supports the Corps’ proposal to eliminate the 300 linear foot threshold for several nationwide permits and revise the nationwide permit related to maintenance so that it once again authorizes discharges that were covered in prior versions of that permit.
APPA asked that the Corps clarify statements in the proposal concerning the status of existing authorizations under 2017 nationwide permits and the jurisdictional status of ditches – specifically, whether certain ditch-related activities are exempt under Clean Water Act section 404(f).
In related news, APPA joined with several other trade associations in a letter sent to the Corps in which the groups expressed support for the proposal to create a wholly distinct nationwide permit to authorize electric utility line and telecommunications activities.
The techniques used to construct new power lines “are significantly different from the techniques used in constructing at least some types of oil and gas pipelines and generally result in less ground disturbance and fewer overall impacts to waters of the United States,” the groups noted in their Nov. 16 letter.
APPA and the other groups also said that the Corps rightly notes that as the scale of electrical energy generation from renewable energy sources and other zero-emitting sources increases, there will also be a need for additional electric transmission facilities to convey the electricity from the generation facilities to the end-users as part of the power sector’s overall clean energy transition and transformation.
The members of the trade groups “are on the forefront of this transformation in deploying zero-emitting generation resources and building the power lines” that would utilize the wholly distinct nationwide permit to authorize electric utility line and telecommunications activities, APPA and the other groups said.