WASHINGTON (Aug. 8, 2019) -- The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works announced yesterday the signing of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Regulatory Guidance Letter (RGL) 19-02, Timeframes for Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certifications and Clarification of Waiver Responsibility.

RGL 19-02 provides guidance to USACE district engineers to clarify timeframes and improve efficiency regarding Section 401 Water Quality Certifications (401 WQC) pursuant to USACE's regulatory authorities. This guidance also clarifies the USACE 401 WQC waiver determination process and responsibilities when USACE is not the lead federal agency and multiple federal licenses or permits are needed for a proposed project.

"RGL 19-02 will enhance communication between USACE, the permit applicant, and the certifying agency," said R.D. James, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. "This guidance will also provide increased consistency and predictability in the USACE permit evaluation process."

Section 404 of the Clean Water Act requires that applications for permits involving activities that result in the discharge of dredged or fill material into jurisdictional waters of the U.S. provide USACE with a 401 water quality certification or notification the requirement to obtain a 401 water quality certification has been waived. Further, if the entity responsible for evaluating requests for 401 WQC (i.e. states, tribes or in some cases the US EPA) fails or refuses to act on a request for 401 WQC within a reasonable period of time, USACE may waive the requirement for a 401 WQC. The RGL clarifies the circumstances within which USACE districts should consider supporting or not supporting requests to extend the certifying agency's review timeframes. Reasonable timeframes are generally 60 days and do not exceed one year.

Please visit the USACE Regulatory webpage at https://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Regulatory-Program-and-Permits/Guidance-Letters/ to obtain a copy of this RGL.