This week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE or Corps) provided AGC and other stakeholders with an update on its efforts to “revolutionize USACE civil works,” highlighting three main objectives: (1) accelerate project delivery, (2) transform financing and budgeting, and (3) improve permitting and regulation reform. The Nov. 29 webinar meeting (click here for the slides) was a follow-up to a roundtable discussion held this spring at Corps’ headquarters and a request for public input on existing USACE regulations that may be appropriate for repeal, replacement, or modification. During each and every opportunity, AGC has provided the Corps with comprehensive comments, both in writing and during face-to-face meetings. Below is a listing of the Corps’ recent accomplishments to speed up Clean Water Act Section 404 permitting – as well as several key actions in progress – demonstrating that AGC’s input in being heard and acted upon.
The Corps’ work is being guided by President Trump’s Executive Order 13807 (One Federal Decision – click here and here) as well as the President’s Legislative Outline for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America (click here for environmental streamlining highlights); both of these documents reflect many of AGC’s top reform principles. Corps staff report that they are using all existing administrative authorities (e.g., regulation, guidance letters, policy memos) to improve efficiencies, eliminate duplication and lower costs without reducing environmental protections. To that end, here are recent actions that the Corps has completed to expedite delivery of projects:
- Streamlined Section 408 Permission Requests
- Alignment of Section 404/10/103 and 408 Programs
- Designation of Lead District (for projects that cross boundaries) – Director’s Policy Memo
- Single Point of Contact
- Single Decision Document and Transmittal Letter
- Improved Public Access to Tracking Systems (Jurisdictional Determinations and Permits)
- Mitigation-Regulatory Guidance Letter on removal of obsolete structures (click here for Corps’ news)
- One Federal Decision Implementation Guidance
- Guidance for State Assumption under Section 404(g) (click here for Corps’ news)
Looking ahead, the Corps aims to publish additional guidance on credit release schedules for mitigation banks and equivalency in service areas and streamline processes and pre-construction notification requirements under Nationwide Permits.
The Corps continues to seek input and plans to hold additional webinars later this month on a new Public-Private Partnership (P3) policy – additional information will be available online here: https://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Infrastructure/. Please contact the USACE Infrastructure Team at CW.Infrastructure.Team@usace.army.mil with questions, comments, and opportunities for further engagement on the Corps’ infrastructure initiatives.
For additional information on environmental streamlining and AGC’s efforts, please contact AGC’s Leah Pilconis at firstname.lastname@example.org.