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Interagency Working Group on Alaska Energy

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Department of Defense (ACE)




Other Members

Overview of agency mission and activities

The mission of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Regulatory Program is to protect the Nation's aquatic resources while allowing reasonable development through fair and balanced permit decisions. The Corps regulates many types of activities in waters of the U.S., such as utility lines, roadways, stream crossings, dredging, shoreline protection, drill pads, survey activities, and scientific measuring devices to name a few. Project applications are reviewed to ensure they are not contrary to the public interest, requiring the agency to balance the reasonably foreseeable benefits and detriments of proposed projects after considering twenty public interest review factors, such as impacts to wetlands, fish and wildlife values, economics, aesthetics, land use, energy and mineral needs, and conservation. In addition, the Corps must also ensure that impacts to aquatic resources are avoided and minimized to the extent practicable. Unavoidable impacts may require compensatory mitigation which may include restoring, enhancing, creating and preserving aquatic functions and values. The Corps also works closely with other federal and state agencies to ensure any permitted activities comply with all other applicable federal laws and regulations.  

Primary relevant mandates

Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. § 403) requires authorization for the construction of any structure or work in, over, or under any navigable waters of the United States or that may affect the course, location, or condition of such waters.  

Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. § 1344) requires authorization for the discharge of dredge or fill material into all waters of the United States, including wetlands. Projects must comply with the 404(b)(1) Guidelines which states that no discharge of dredge or fill material shall be permitted if there is a practicable alternative to the proposed discharge which would have less adverse impact on the aquatic ecosystem, so long as the alternative does not have other significant adverse environmental consequences.  

Section 103 of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 (33 U.S.C. § 1413), as amended, requires authorization for the transportation of dredged material for the purpose of dumping it in ocean waters.  

Section 4(f) of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (43 U.S.C. § 1333(e)) requires authorization for the construction of artificial islands, installations, and other devices located on the seabed, to the seaward limit of the outer continental shelf.