Corps of Engineers Issues New Indiana Regional General Permit
By Andy Bowman, Attorney, Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP
On Dec. 15, 2014, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) reissued Indiana Regional General Permit No. 001 (RGP) for a period of five years. The RGP authorizes construction projects and other activities involving the discharge of fill or dredged materials into waters of the United States under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act if the activities meet certain maximum impact criteria and other conditions and fall within the following eleven categories:
- Bank stabilization;
- Linear transportation projects;
- Minor discharges;
- Residential developments;
- Boat ramps;
- Commercial and institutional developments;
- Agricultural activities;
- Reshaping existing drainage ditches;
- Recreational facilities;
- Stormwater management facilities; and
- Mining activities.
Projects qualifying for the RGP do not need to seek coverage under a Corps’ Nationwide Permit (NWP) to comply with the Clean Water Act.
The Corps has removed from previous RGP coverage the following five categories of activities:
- Outfall structures and associated intake structures;
- Temporary recreational structures;
- U.S. Coast Guard approved bridges;
- Minor dredging; and
- Structural discharges.
These five activities are now subject to NWP requirements.
In its October 2014 notice, the Corps had indicated it would add maintenance of existing authorized structures or fill to the RGP; however, in response to comments the Corps decided not to include these maintenance activities under the RGP.
The reissued RGP has new, helpful features including definitions and descriptions of the activities covered by the RGP. Several changes and clarifications have been made to the general conditions and notification and application requirements are now more clearly stated.
Concurrently with the reissued RGP, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) issued a letter on Dec. 12, 2014, which reauthorizes Section 401 Water Quality Certifications (WQC) for the RGP activities, subject to the applicant properly seeking coverage under the Section 401 WQC. The letter also sets forth the responsibilities of the permittee and the general terms and specific conditions of the Section 401 WQC.
IDEM’s WQC now allows minor stream relocations associated with the installation of a stream crossing or replacement of an existing crossing. Previously no stream relocations were authorized by the WQC. Other new features of the WQC include additional requirements for stream encapsulations associated with stream crossings and authorization to install temporary work causeways.
A copy of the Corps’ RGP is available at http://www.bgdlegal.com/clientuploads/Publications/Environmental%20Letter/Indiana%20RGP%20No.%201%2012-15-2014.pdf. A copy of the IDEM’s Section 401 WQC authorization is available at http://www.bgdlegal.com/clientuploads/Publications/Environmental%20Letter/IDEM%20WQC%20for%20RGP%20No.%201%2012-12-2014.pdf.