What the USACE 2021 Nationwide Permit Revisions Mean for your Project

March 17, 2021

Nationwide Permits (NWPs) authorize certain activities under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. They are designed to help protect the aquatic environment and navigable waterways and provide incentives to reduce impacts on federal jurisdictional waters of the U.S. (WOTUS). On January 13, 2021, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) published the Reissuance and Modification of Nationwide Permits rule (Rule) under the CWA. The Rule reissues and modifies 12 nationwide permits (NWPs) and issues four new NWPs. Of the 16 new and modified NWPs, the most impactful changes are to NWP 12. The new final Rule goes into effect March 15, 2021.

The previous utility line NWP 12 has now been divided into three separate permits: one for oil or natural gas pipeline activities (NWP 12), one for electric utility line and telecommunications activities (NWP 57), and one for utility lines carrying water and other substances (NWP 58).

This separation of permits will help better define the permitting process for your project and may streamline the permit application process. 

The final Rule also eliminates many previous conditions that required the need to submit a pre-construction notification (PCN) before proceeding with any construction activity. NWP 12’s 2017 version required PCNs in nine circumstances, and the modified NWP requires PCNs in three circumstances though it’s worth noting that PCNs can also be triggered by regional conditions that are issued by regional USACE districts.  

A thorough understanding of these changes and the NWP that your project need will ensure your project meets all regulatory requirements. For a summary of the 2021 NWPs and 2017 NWPs including PCN triggers, permit revisions, and other information, please click HERE. For the Rule Fact Sheet, please click HERE

Fisher Associates continually monitors changes in the regulatory permitting requirements to facilitate permit issuance for our clients. If you need help on your project with nationwide permitting or would like to know how these changes affect your project, please contact Sean Milne at smilne@fisherassoc.com 


Brook Bertig Coll

Brook Bertig-Coll
Director of Environmental
724.916.4250 ext. 387

Contact Brook

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