The Army Corps of Engineers sent out this update via email:
Definition of Waters of the US: We anticipate the USEPA and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works to publish a final rule by the end of December/early January, which would take effect 60 later. The rule should be similar to, but not the same as, the pre-2015 (Rapanos) regime. We are also expecting a decision from the USSC in the Sackett case in early 2023.
Section 401 of the Clean Water Act: USEPA will likely issue a new 401 rule in Spring 2023. Until then, we continue to operate under the 2020 rule.
Workload: We are experiencing a small surge in jurisdictional determination requests and permit applications, particularly in relationship to traditional infrastructure (like roads and utilities). We expect this surge to continue and increase over the coming years as money from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, signed last Fall, gets put to use.
Staffing: We were able to increase staff size from 45 to 55 this past year, due in part to special funding in the BIL for the Corps’ Regulatory Program. As we have been extremely challenged to find experienced individuals, most of the staffing increase is at the entry-level. We are doing our best to get these new folks up-to-speed ASAP. It normally takes about 3 years for a regulator to become proficient in the job.
Finally, we always appreciate hearing from you about your experience with the Regulatory Program and our team – good, bad or otherwise. The best way to do that is by completing a customer survey. You can find that at https://www.spk.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/. Scroll to the middle of the page.
Thanks for your time. On behalf of the entire Sacramento District Regulatory team, I wish you and your family happy holidays and a safe and healthy new year!