WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) recently co-sponsored a bill introduced by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) to allow critical infrastructure project proponents to continue relying on the nationwide permit (NWP) program in light of recent court decisions.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic bringing our economy to a grinding halt, we should be cutting red-tape and supporting job-creating energy infrastructure projects,” said Senator Tillis. “This legislation clarifies the permitting process used by the Army Corps of Engineers, ensuring projects can continue construction and protecting thousands of American jobs.”
Specifically, this bill would clarify that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) current NWP process and procedures satisfy the Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 7 consultation requirements. It amends Section 404(e) of the Clean Water Act (CWA) to authorize use of the NWP’s through December 2026. The USACE and project proponents would be required to comply with all other existing requirements, and the USACE would be required to document a determination that each authorized activity would have no impact on listed species or designated habitat during this period. The bill does not add any new or alter existing NWP requirements. The bill would apply to all NWPs and industries.