PROPOSED REGIONAL GENERAL PERMIT FOR THE STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: In accordance with Title 33 CFR 325.5(c)(1) as published on November 13, 1986, in the Federal Register, Volume 51, Number 219, the District Engineer of the Huntington District United States (U.S.) Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is proposing to issue a Regional General Permit (RGP) to the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT). The RGP would authorize the discharge of dredged and/or fill material into waters of the U.S. and/or work with navigable waters of the U.S. for linear transportation projects proposed by the WVDOT pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA).
AUTHORITY: RGPs are general permits issued by a District or Division Engineer on a regional basis to streamline the authorization of activities that result in no more than minimal individual and cumulative adverse environmental effects.
PROPOSED RGP: The purpose of the RGP is to expedite the Corps’ review of requests for authorization(s) from the WVDOT to perform projects in waters under the jurisdiction of the Corps. The proposed RGP would authorize certain activities in waters of the U.S. including work, structures, and filling (both temporary and permanent) associated with linear transportation projects and the maintenance of existing transportation infrastructure conducted by the WVDOT in the State of West Virginia. Categories of activities authorized under the RGP would include (A) certain linear transportation projects, (B) certain maintenance projects, and (C) certain bank stabilization activities.
This RGP would apply to all aquatic resources under the jurisdiction of the Corps within the State of West Virginia, except those excluded under conditions of the RGP or conditions imposed by any state-issued water quality certification. If the RGP is authorized, activities authorized under the RGP would be subject to the attached conditions. If approved, the RGP would be effective for 5 years.
To ensure the activities authorized by the RGP cause no more than minimal individual and cumulative adverse environmental effects, certain categories of activities that would be authorized under the proposed RGP would require notification to the District Engineer before commencing the activity. If the RGP is approved, other categories of activities could be completed without the need for the submission of site-specific notification to the Corps (aka non-notifying) in advance, provided the work was performed in accordance with the terms and conditions of the RGP.
SOLICITATION OF COMMENT: The Huntington District is seeking comments on the proposed RGP and seeking comments on the need for additional conditions to ensure the adverse effects of activities authorized by the proposed RGP are no more than minimal, individually and cumulatively.
The Huntington District is seeking comments from the public, Federal, state and local agencies and officials, Indian Tribes and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of this proposed RGP issuance. For accuracy and completeness of the administrative record, all data in support of or in opposition to the proposed RGP should be submitted in writing and must set forth sufficient detail to furnish a clear understanding of the reasons for support or opposition to the proposed RGP.
Any person may request, in writing, within the comment period specified in the notice, that a public hearing be held to consider the application. Requests for public hearings shall clearly state, with particularity, reasons for holding a public hearing. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps to determine whether to issue, modify, condition or deny the RGP. To make this decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above. Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity. Written statements received in this office on or before the expiration date of this Public Notice will become a part of the record and will be considered in the final determination. The RGP will be authorized unless its issuance is found to be contrary to the public interest.
WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION: This Public Notice shall serve as a request to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) to act on the Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the proposed RGP.
PUBLIC INTEREST REVIEW: This proposed RGP will be reviewed and evaluated in accordance with 33 CFR 320-332, the implementing regulations for the Corps’ Regulatory Program as well as other pertinent laws, regulations, and executive orders. The Corps’ evaluation will also follow the guidelines published by the United States Environmental Protection Agency pursuant to Section 404(b) (1) of the CWA (40 CFR part 230). The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts associated with the discharge of dredged and/or fill material into waters of the U.S. and/or work within navigable waters of the U.S., including cumulative impacts of the proposed activities, on the public interest. That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefit which may be reasonably expected to accrue from the proposal must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All factors that may be relevant to the proposal will be considered including the cumulative effects thereof; among those factors are conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, historic properties, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, floodplain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, considerations of property ownership and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people.
CLOSE OF COMMENT PERIOD: All comments pertaining to this Public Notice must reach this office on or before the close of the comment period listed on page one of this Public Notice. If no comments are received by that date, it will be considered that there are no objections to the proposed RGP. Comments and requests for additional information should be submitted to:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntington District
ATTN: CELRH-RD-S Public Notice No. LRH-2019-158
502 8th Street
Huntington, WV 25701
Please note the names and addresses of those who submit comments in response to this Public Notice become part of our administrative record and, as such, may be available to the public under provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. Thank you for your interest in our nation's water resources. If you have any questions concerning this Public Notice, please contact Ms. Sarah M. Workman at (304) 399-5710, by mail at the above address, or by email at Sarah.M.Workman@usace.army.mil.