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General Permits

General permits are issued on a nationwide or regional basis for a category of activities that are substantially similar in nature and cause only minimal individual and cumulative impacts. General permits reduce the burden on the public and ensure timely issuance of permits, while effectively administering the laws and regulations which establish and govern the program.

General permits are reviewed every five years. An assessment of the cumulative impacts of work authorized under the permit is performed at that time to determine if it is in the public interest to do so. In most instances, anyone complying with the conditions of the general permit can receive project specific authorization. Anyone not complying with the conditions of a general permit may still receive authorization via a "standard permit", but the application must be individually evaluated and coordinated with third parties, including the federal and state resource agencies. Review of an application for a "standard permit" takes additional time to complete as conflict resolution may be required.

Current Mobile District General Permits:

 

Standard Permit

A Standard Permit is required when a proposed project does not meet the criteria to qualify for a General Permit, Nationwide Permit, or Letter of Permission. A Standard Permit usually has a 21-day comment period under public noticing, though it can be as short as 15 days or up to 30 days. A copy of the permit drawings and a description of the project are mailed out to the adjacent property owners, the applicant and their consultant. All other interested parties have to access pending public notices on the web. Processing time for these types of permits is usually 60-120 days from the receipt of a complete application. Controversial or larger projects may take longer.


Letter of Permission

If work is minor or routine with minimum impacts and objections are unlikely, then it may qualify for a Letter of Permission. A Letter of Permission can be issued more quickly than a standard permit since public notice is not required.

A Letter of Permission must be issued in accordance with the abbreviated procedures under 33 CFR 325.2(e).

Minimum Abbreviated Requirements:

  • Coordination with Federal and state fish and wildlife agencies, as required by the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, and
  • Public interest evaluation, but without the publishing of an individual public notice.

Letters of Permission will not be used to authorize the transportation of dredged material for the purpose of dumping it in ocean waters. However, Letters of permission may be used in those cases subject to:

  • Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 when, in the opinion of the District Engineer, the proposed work would be minor, would not have significant individual or cumulative impacts on environmental values, and should encounter no appreciable opposition.
  • Section 404 of the Clean Water Act after the District Engineer, through consultation with Federal and state fish and wildlife agencies, the Regional Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency, the state water quality certifying agency, and, if appropriate, the state Coastal Zone Management Agency, develops a list of categories of activities proposed for authorization under Letter of Permission procedures; and the District Engineer issues a public notice advertising the proposed list and the Letter of Permission procedures, requesting comments and offering an opportunity for public hearing; and a 401 certification has been issued or waived and, if appropriate, CZM consistency concurrence obtained or presumed either on a generic or individual basis.

Also See: General Conditions