By Jay Shannon
The Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works announced a series of priority policy initiatives to modernize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works program. An outreach campaign, with public and tribal virtual meetings, will be conducted in June and July to gather input to inform future potential policy decision-making related to a number of related initiatives, and written comments will be gathered in a public docket in the Federal Register over a 60-day comment period.
The policy initiatives to modernize the Corps’ Civil Works program include 1) an update to the Tribal Consultation Policy, 2) development of comprehensive guidance on the Tribal Partnership Program, 3) potential rulemaking on the Regulatory Program’s implementation procedures for Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act found at 33 CFR Appendix C, 4) potential rulemaking to develop implementing procedures for the principles, requirements and guidelines, and 5) finalization of an environmental justice policy, including a definition for purposes of Section 160 of the Water Resources Development Act of 2020 for the “economically disadvantaged community.”
“A primary focus of the modernization effort for the Corps’ Civil Works program is to identify ways to better serve the needs of tribal nations and other underserved communities. That is a common thread to be woven throughout the entire Civil Works program,” said Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Michael Connor. “The administration’s commitment to focus on tribal nations and environmental justice is clear. Combining this with the administration’s focus on climate resilience and improved environmental and community outcomes requires us to push Civil Works to the forefront in these areas, to be a leader across the government, and to use our statutory authorities to the maximum extent in working with all communities on comprehensive and innovative solutions to their water resource needs. Public and tribal input will be key to our efforts.”
As specified in the Federal Register notice, the Army seeks input on the priority policy initiatives and will also engage in tribal consultation as we work to develop policies that have tribal implications. The Federal Register notice will publish on June 3, 2022. See how you can register your input here.
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