Message #263:
From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG
To:   "'Matthias Giessler'" 
Subject: Nationwide Permits
Date: Tue, 20 Aug 96 09:52:00 MST
Encoding: 118 TEXT


From: Loretta Neumann loretta_neumann@hap.cais.com

Below is a  I got back from Grady McCalle, with his memo below it, which 
explains another problem with the Corps' proposed changes in the 
permitsystem relating to comments of SHPO's .  Also, one thing I  didn't put 
on either message was where to send comments. The announcement of the Corps 
of Engineers nationwide permit program was in the Federal Register of June 
17, 1996  page 30780 et. seq.  Comments on the nationwide permits should go 
to:

Office of the Chief of Engineers
Attn.: CECW-OR
20 Massachusetts Ave NW.
Washington DC 20314-1000

For further information, contact:
Tim Zimmerman or Sam Collinson,
Regulatory Branch OCE
202-761-0199.

Regional comments are supposed to go to the appropriate District Offices, 
which are listed in the Federal Register notice.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Dear Loretta -

Thank you for the cc of your alert.  It has seemed to me that the Corps 
nationwide reissuance proposal includes a kink (not specifically mentioned 
in your alert) that is likely to cause special problems for historic review: 
the Corps is proposing a change in how it processes applications that is 
likely to put state historic preservation offices at direct odds with the 
Corps' overwhelming focus on keeping in permit processing times down, with 
bad results for both.

I sent a version of the attached memo to the National Trust for Historic 
Preservation last month, but haven't heard from them, so I don't know 
whether they used it or not, or whether you are associated with that 
organization.  Also, it doesn't deal at all with the potential for 
substantial loss of archeological treasures to activities that are not 
required to provide notice to the Corps; I'm very glad you sent the alert on 
that.

Please feel free to distribute the attached file as you think appropriate. 
If I can provides other information or asitiance, please let me
know.
Thank you,
Grady

 ------------------- HISTRST.DOS follows --------------------
To: Historic/Archeologic Preservation Advocates
From: Grady McCallie, NWF
Date: August 19, 1996

Re: Proposed rule change for Corps notification of State Historic 
Preservation Offices

I am writing to alert you to a proposed change in a wetlands permitting 
process that may create problems for State Historic Preservation Offices.

Section 404 of the Clean Water Act requires people to obtain authorization 
from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) before dredging or filling in 
U.S. "waters", including wetlands.  "Section 106" review of proposed 
projects by the State Historic Preservation Officer is a standard part of 
this process.

The Corps provides individual review to between 5,00 and 10,000 individual 
project applications each year; SHPOs participate fully in this process. 
 However, the vast majority of Corps authorizations are handled through 
blanket authorizations of whole categories of projects.  These blanket 
authorizations cover 80% to 90% of the Corps' workload; a subset of 37 of 
these general permits apply across the country and are known as 
"nationwides".

These nationwides expire every five years and must be reissued together; the 
comment period on the Corps' proposal to reissue the nationwides is 
currently running, and will close Sept. 3.  The Crops is also holding six 
field hearings around the Nation (locations and times TBA) and one here in 
DC on Aug. 5.

The specific concern for the SHPOs arises out of a proposed change in 
processing of applications to use nationwide permits.  Typically now, an 
applicant will go to the Corps and find that a project can be done under a 
Nationwide.  The applicant then goes to the SHPO, who has up to 30 days to 
review the project, and then returns to the Corps with a complete 
notification that they intend to use this nationwide.  The Corps grants 
authorizations under the nationwides in an average of 16 days.

The proposed change is to have all applicants go directly to the Corps, who 
would then send out the notification to the SHPO.  It may make sense to have 
the Corps as the point agency for applicants to deal with (although some of 
the SHPO's we've spoken with would rather deal with applicants directly). 
 However, folding the SHPO review into the Corps review could cause a silly 
but serious problem.  Right now, the Corps prides itself on approving 
nationwide permit applications in an average of 16 days, counting from when 
a complete application is received (i.e., not counting the SHPO review 
process).  The SHPOs have uniformly told us they take 30 days for their 
review.  Since the Corps is unlikely to let its 16 figure slide up to 46 
days, there is a real danger the SHPOs will get short shrift in the NWP 
process.

The SHPOs we've spoken with haven't been tracking the reissuance of the 
nationwides, and haven't been planning to submit comments.  The danger could 
probably be fairly easily resolved by having the Corps announce that even 
though applications will come in to the Corps first, the clock will start 
running only after the SHPO gets back to the Corps, thus protecting the 
Corps' politically important figure of 16 days.  Although we've talked to 
several SHPOs, we are not likely to pursue this point with most of them, 
although we may raise in along with the rest of our comments.

On the broader scale, if you know of nationwides that have led to the 
destruction of historical resources, we'd be delighted to get specifics from 
you to include in our comments.  I'll also be happy to answer questions 
about the reissuance and about this note.  I can be reached at (202) 
797-6932; email mccallie@nwf.org