INGAA’s Comments Regarding the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Proposal to Reissue and Modify Nationwide Permits

           The Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) is a trade association of the interstate natural gas pipeline industry. INGAA member companies transport the vast majority of the natural gas consumed in the United States through over 185,000 miles of interstate natural gas pipelines.

            INGAA hereby submits comments regarding the Proposal to Reissue and Modify Nationwide Permits (NWPs), dated February 16, 2011 (Proposed Rules). Under the Proposed Rules, the Corps would reissue most NWPs, General Conditions and Definitions with some modifications. The United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), however, would not reissue NWP 47, which applies to Pipeline Safety Program Designated Time Sensitive Inspections and Repairs. The Proposed Rules would also add two new NWPs and two new general conditions for onshore and offshore renewable energy facilities.  

            The operation and maintenance of natural gas pipelines sometimes requires obtaining NWPs, hence the Corps’ proposal to reissue and modify such permits is of great importance to INGAA and its member companies. Over the years, INGAA has offered a number of comments concerning the nationwide permit program and appreciates the opportunity to submit the following comments as well.

            Overall, INGAA has no objection to the Proposal to Reissue and Modify Nationwide Permits, including the elimination of NWP 47. INGAA members primarily use NWPs 3 and 12, often in conjunction with NWP 13, and our comments focus on those, including applicable General Conditions and Definitions. Our comments will detail the following suggestions:

  1. No Objection to Allowing NWP 47 to Expire, but the Concept that Emergency Activities Warrant Special Consideration Should Be Retained.
  2. Clarity Is Needed to the Definition Of Mechanized Land Clearing and Loss of Waters to the United States.
  3. Responses Regarding Information Deficiencies in Pre-construction Notifications Should be Specific and Timely.
  4. Only Require Bottomless Culverts Where Demonstrated that Aquatic Life Movements Would Otherwise Be Adversely Affected .
  5. The Corps Should Consider a NEW General Permit Fashioned after the FERC Blanket Certificate Program.