Energy & Environment

September 1, 2020

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is proposing to reissue and modify its Nationwide Permits that provide a streamlined process for the Corps to authorize discharges of “dredged or fill material” under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the River and Harbors Act.  Nationwide (general) Permits (NWP) cover construction (and other activities) that, after adherence to identified conditions and mitigation measures, have been determined to result in minimal adverse environmental impacts to federally jurisdictional waters and wetlands (i.e., waters of the United States). The Corps is proposing modifications across the program in addition to creating new NWPs and dividing the current NWP 12 into three separate NWPs.  This article highlights the potential top impacts of these developments on the construction industry and invites member feedback to better inform the association’s response to the proposed changes.

August 31, 2020

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service are proposing to add a definition of “habitat” to the regulations that implement section 4 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The proposed definition – which would be used in the context of making critical habitat designations – comes following a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that concluded “critical habitat” must first be habitat (Weyerhaeuser Co. v. U.S. FWS, 139 S. Ct. 361 (2018)) (see AGC article).  The Act prohibits adverse modification to “critical habitat” of listed species but it currently does not define “habitat.”   A definition of habitat may help developers and contractors identify and avoid those areas, which would better inform ESA consultations during the planning and permitting process for projects.

 

August 30, 2020

On Aug. 11, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) invalidated the 2017 Department of the Interior legal opinion (M-37050) that had reversed prior policy by stating that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) does not prohibit incidental take.  The SDNY judge disagreed and concluded the MBTA prohibits take “by any means or in any manner.”  The court’s decision adds a new twist to ongoing efforts at the agency to finalize an AGC-supported rule intended to codify the now vacated legal opinion. 

August 24, 2020

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have released new implementation tools for the Navigable Waters Protection Rule that went into effect earlier this summer.  These tools are available online for the public to view and include educational resources, new forms, and “implementation memos” to provide greater clarity and consistency implementing the rule across the country.

July 16, 2020

AGC Supports Streamlined Environmental Review Procedures, Analyses and Transparency Measures

July 15, 2020

Administration’s Final Reforms to the Federal Environmental Review Process Fix Problems with Prior Process, Maintain Environmental Rigor, and Accelerate Needed Infrastructure Improvements

The chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America, Stephen E. Sandherr, issued the following statement in reaction to the release today of the Administration’s final rule reforming the National Environmental Policy Act Permitting Process:

July 8, 2020

Twice a year the Administration updates its Unified Agenda with projected timelines for rulemakings and other actions.  The spring agenda, released June 30, 2020, shows some delay in movement on key water programs that AGC has been tracking due to their relevance to the construction industry.  AGC summarizes these developments below.

June 25, 2020

The Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR) is in effect as of June 22, 2020. AGC has advocated every step of the way in this multi-year effort and supports the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ new rule. The rule appropriately distinguishes between federal and state waters and should bring greater clarity in the field. AGC provided a summary of the rule when the agencies finalized it in January of this year.

June 10, 2020

Space is limited; Reserve your spot today

June 10, 2020

The Trump Administration recently issued two executive orders (EO) that focus on supporting economic recovery during the pandemic and recovery that could bring opportunity for environmental regulatory relief as well as risk. 

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