U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issues report on nationwide permits

Published Oct. 25, 2017
Updated: March 22, 2019

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) released a report today to meet the requirements of Executive Order 13783, “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth.”

The Executive Order, issued on March 28, 2017, requires federal agencies to review their existing regulations that potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources, with particular attention to oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear resources. USACE subsequently identified the agency’s Nationwide Permits as a regulation meeting the review requirements of the EO.

There are 52 nationwide permits that authorize various categories of activities under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. Today’s report identifies 12 of the 52 nationwide permits that authorize activities related to domestic energy production and use, including oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy sources, as well as renewable energy sources such as flowing water, wind, and solar energy. USACE recommends changes to nine of those 12 nationwide permits to reduce burdens on domestic energy producers.

The nine nationwide permits recommended for changes include: NWP 3, Maintenance; NWP 12, Utility Line Activities; NWP 17, Hydropower Projects; NWP 21, Surface Coal Mining Activities; NWP 39, Commercial and Institutional Developments; NWP 49, Coal Remining Activities; NWP 50, Underground Coal Mining Activities; NWP 51, Land-Based Renewable Energy Generation Projects; and NWP 52, Water-Based Renewable Energy Generation Pilot Projects.

USACE will coordinate with the administration to determine if the recommended changes in the report will be pursued. Any modifications to the nine identified nationwide permits would require rulemaking. This will involve publishing a proposed rule in the Federal Register to solicit comments on the proposed changes and evaluating the comments received to write a final rule.

Today’s report is available by clicking here.

Section 404(e) of the Clean Water Act authorized USACE to issue general permits on a state, regional, or nationwide basis for any category of activities involving discharges of dredged or fill material, if the Secretary, acting through the Chief of Engineers, determines that the activities in such category are similar in nature, will cause only minimal adverse environmental effects when performed separately, and will have only minimal cumulative adverse effects on the environment.

The most recent nationwide permits were published in the Federal Register on January 6, 2017, and went into effect on March 19, 2017.

Additional information about the USACE Regulatory Program can be found at


Doug Garman
202-761-1807 (cell)
Gene Pawlik
202-761-7690 (cell)

Release no. 17-110