Front Porch Blog

Commenting on New Nationwide Permit Policy

As many of you know, yesterday the Army Corps announced that they would be moving forward with suspending the Nationwide Permit 21(NWP 21) process for mountaintop removal and valleyfill operations for Appalachian states. Instead, the Army Corps will be using a slightly more in-depth “individual permitting process” in their review of Section 404 Clean Water Act permits. Notably, the individual permits will include a period of public comment for individual projects. This is a step in the right direction for Appalachian communities and something that many coalfield groups – including members of the Alliance for Appalachia – have been fighting for for many years.

However, one of the main concerns (discussed in Ken Ward’s article below) is that the Corps will continue to allow the use of the NWP 21 permits until a final decision is reached, even though they acknowledge that NWP 21 permits are not sufficient for assessing impacts from large-scale mining operations like mountaintop removal.

The official notice is here, and Ken Ward has a handy summary over at Coal Tattoo.

There is also a 30 day public comment period on the change, and we encourage everyone to please take a moment to comment on this important step.





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